Super Scotty Parker finally hung up his boots on Wednesday afternoon, drawing an illustrious 20-year career to a close. Although Parker may be better known for his spells at Charlton, West Ham United, or Tottenham Hotspur, it was at Fulham where he finished his career and cemented his legacy as the quintessential all-action, ball-winning, and passionate centre-midfielder.
The England international signed for Fulham in August of 2013, joining from London rivals Tottenham for around four million pounds. Parker slotted immediately into Martin Jol’s starting XI, making his debut in the 3-1 home defeat to Arsenal just five days after he arrived in SW6. As the season progressed, Steve Sidwell and Parker formed a central-midfield partnership, providing the fragile Fulham backline with much-needed support.
However, the 2013/14 relegation campaign was a depressing time for all involved at the club. Three managers and 85 conceded goals later, come May the Whites were relegated to the Championship. Yet there were some, albeit exceedingly rare, moments of joy during that fateful season.
One such moment was inspired by Scott Parker, during Fulham’s Boxing Day battle with Norwich City. With the scores leveled 1-1 deep into the second half, our trusty captain received the ball at the edge of the box. He took a couple of touches to his right and unleashed an absolute thunderbolt that arrowed unerringly into the top right corner. Chants of “Super Scotty Parker” reverberated late into the frigid December night at Carrow Road, giving Fulham supporters a true glimpse of Parker’s desire and match-winning abilities. Super Scott indeed.
Even more impressive was Parker’s remarkable faithfulness to the Fulham cause. After relegation from the Premier League the vast majority of Fulham’s Premier League-calibre players jumped ship. Yet Parker chose to remain at SW6, becoming Fulham’s captain during their first year back in the second flight since 2001.
During the disastrous start to the 2014/15 season under madman Felix Magath, Parker was a solitary stanchion of stability. Parker also epitomized the revival that occurred under Kit Symons, turning in superb performances under the new manager. Most notable was his man-of-the-match display in the 2-0 win over league leaders Derby, in which Parker started the move that led to the second goal with his high-intensity pressing and vigorous work ethic.
Parker remained a stalwart in the 2015/16 Championship season, making 24 appearances and chipping in during the Whites’ nervy flirt with relegation. Parker again appeared in the big situations, scoring a lovely volley in Fulham’s crucial match against Cardiff City in April 2016.
In 2016/17, Parker’s starting role was somewhat diminished, but his wisdom and support to younger players in the team was invaluable. In a recent interview with The Boot Room, Parker’s influence on the emerging players at Craven Cottage was revealed. Parker advised young players to “enjoy every moment” and stressed the need to “possess mental strengths and the ability to come back stronger when faced with injuries or when things aren’t going well.”
His mentorship over Ryan Sessegnon seems to have paid off massively, as the 17-year-old phenom elected to remain at Fulham despite lucrative offers from the Premier League big boys. Not only can Parker be lauded for his super on-the-pitch contributions for Fulham, he can also be credited with instilling “mental strength” and good sense into the star of Fulham’s future.
In all, Scott Parker retires as a true Fulham legend. Despite the instability that reigned over much of Parker’s stint at SW6, the England midfielder was always a shining example of professionalism, passion, and desire.
Parker took matches by the scruff of the neck with his irresistible playing style: every tackle was there to be won, every 50/50 challenge an opportunity to break, every attack a chance to bomb forward with ambition. His non-stop energy and dedication were priceless during the darkest days of Fulham’s relegation and slog in the Championship. When it seemed like no one at the club cared, there was always Super Scotty Parker, barking out instructions at the team and sprinting around the pitch to win every loose ball.
Here’s to you Scott Parker, a true Fulham legend. The best of luck in your retirement, and hopefully we will see your fine footballing brain back at Craven Cottage soon. COYW!