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2012-10-01T07:00:00 Updated 2015-02-19T01:51:28

Parkes primed for QPR return

Monday's Barclays Premier League fixture between Queens Park Rangers and West Ham United will bring a lot of memories flooding back for Phil Parkes.

The great Hammers goalkeeper spent nine seasons at Loftus Road before moving to east London for a world-record £765,000 fee in 1979, helping the Super Hoops to gain promotion from Division Two and finish as runners-up in Division One in 1976 under the management of former West Ham forward Dave Sexton.

Parkes played in arguably Rangers' greatest-ever side, lining up alongside England captain Gerry Francis, mercurial midfielder Stan Bowles and Republic of Ireland striker Don Givens, among others.

After moving across London, Parkes was voted Hammer of the Year and lifted the FA Cup in 1980 before helping the Hammers to finish third in Division One in 1986.

The stopper told West Ham TV he has hugely fond memories of his long spells with both clubs.


"At QPR, we came second in Division Two in 1974 and got promoted and then we really got it together and Dave Sexton started building a side that was absolutely incredible to watch. We finished second in the league but were by far the best team that year and should have won it.

"We lost out by one point to Liverpool who pipped us about 12 days after our season had finished. It probably wouldn't happen now because everyone has to play on the same final day.

"That was probably the highlight of my time there and then I came across to West Ham. I was very happy at QPR and the transfer came out of the blue but Mr Lyall came along and the rest is history.

"In 1976 we had Gerry Francis who was then the England captain. He was a fantastic player, a really strong midfield player with incredible vision and who could score goals as well. He was also a brilliant penalty taker.

"We had Stan Bowles as well who really was kind of the Lionel Messi of his day because we couldn't quite believe what he could do. They always said, if he could pass a betting shop like he could pass a ball he'd have been a very wealthy man!"

Parkes came across his old club often following his record-breaking switch to the Boleyn Ground, most notably when he flew in on Concorde for one victory and another when he saved a penalty from old pal Francis.

"We played them on the old artificial pitch at Loftus Road and Frank McAvennie had been away to play for Scotland in a 1986 World Cup qualifying play-off and, unbeknown to the rest of the team because John Lyall told me not to tell anybody, I had been away in Spain playing golf at a charity event with [legendary golf commentator and former professional] Peter Alliss!

"I flew in on the Friday night on Concorde and Frank flew in from Australia and the next day we went to QPR and won one-nil with Frank scoring the goal, so everything was OK when it could have all backfired!

"Also, when I got Hammer of the Year in 1981 we beat QPR 3-0 near the end of the season and I saved a penalty from Gerry Francis, so that another memorable moment."

Concentrating on Monday's fixture, Parkes has done some filming for Sky Sports that will be broadcast in the run-up to the showdown between his two former clubs.

When pressed about who he would like to prevail, the 62-year-old is not willing to nail his colours to either club's mast. However, he does feel the Hammers can take advantage of the fact that Mark Hughes has so many newly-signed players in his squad.

"Sky Sports came to the Sunderland game to film me working in the lounges, signing autographs and having photographs with people and to see what we do here. I did some filming at QPR on Wednesday which was nice because I hadn't been back there in quite a while.

"I am looking forward to the game but it's always a difficult one for me because I had nine very good and happy years at QPR and then eleven years here. It's always a fixture that is in my heart because these are two teams which are very, very close to me and I have fond memories of both.

"I always wish for a draw and for it to be a really good game! It won't upset anybody then and I can feel OK about it.

"I think QPR have got a very strong squad but the good thing about playing them now is that it is going to take time for them to blend in because they have basically got a new team there. It does take time to get to know one another's games.

"You only have to take the goalkeeping situation. They started off with Robert Green and now they have Julio Cesar in there so it's quite a different team.

"I watched them against Tottenham on the TV and they were brilliant in the first half but, as soon as Spurs got a goal, there was only one side that was ever going to win it. They're going to take some time to gel together, so we're playing them at a good time, I think.

"I think it will be a very tough game. I think we will do well, though, and if we can come away with a point that will do us fine."

West Ham TV

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