Phil Parkes catches tenth in #50GreatestHammers

West Ham United fans have voted, and now we bring you the top ten in our #50GreatestHammers, brought to in with Official Investment Partner, Basset & Gold, starting with legendary goalkeeper Phil Parkes...

Phil Parkes

Years with West Ham: 1979-1990
Appearances: 444

Phil Parkes

When Phil Parkes signed for West Ham United in 1979 from Queens Park Rangers, for a then world-record fee for a goalkeeper, nobody knew what impact the shot-stopper would have. 

Reportedly courted by Manchester United as well, it took the record transfer to convince QPR to part with a 29-year-old Parkes. In hindsight, it proved to be a shrewd investment by the Irons. 

Over the next ten years, Parkes would remain West Ham’s first choice between the sticks, making 444 appearances in the Claret and Blue, and forged a legacy that would see him take the stance of arguably the Club’s greatest ever goalkeeper. 

A year after putting pen to paper with the Irons, Parkes in goal at Wembley as West Ham won the FA Cup, beating Arsenal 1-0. It was the last time a team from outside the English top flight won the competition, courtesy of a Trevor Brooking goal. That day, Parkes and his defence held firm, keeping at bay the likes of Liam Brady, David Price and Frank Stapleton. 

Phil Parkes


A place in the 1981 Football League Cup final followed, as the Hammers were beaten by Liverpool. That season ended however with West Ham returning to the First Division, as the side won the Second Division title. 

That campaign, the Irons lost just one league game at home, and conceded only 29 league goals, the joint-best in the division. It was that season that Parkes was named the Hammer of the Year, having kept 22 clean-sheets.

Parkes’ stint in goal coincided with West Ham United’s finest league run, with the Irons in the title race in the 1983/84 and the 1985/86 campaigns. The latter of those saw West Ham claim third spot – the club’s highest ever finish in the Football League. 

Once again, the defence impressed, and Parkes was at the front of that success. Only 49 league goals were conceded, the third best in the division – behind only league winners Liverpool and Manchester United. Parkes – then 36-years-old – played every single match.

The 1988/89 season unfortunately saw West Ham United relegated once again to the Second Division. It was a campaign that Parkes was mainly utilised as a squad player; perhaps an endorsement of the goalkeeper’s ability, before he was reinstated as first choice. 

Phil Parkes


After 11 years of service, Parkes departed West Ham in 1990, linking up with former Irons boss John Lyall at Ipswich Town. It was a brief playing career in East Anglia, before the shot-stopper made the move into coaching. 

Time and time again throughout his 11 years, Parkes would be the shining star for West Ham. His cat-like ability would contradict his stature.

With 344 league appearances for the Hammers, and 444 showings in all competitions, Parkes sits 14th in the all-time appearance record rankings for West Ham, and has played the most times for the Hammers as a goalkeeper. 

In 2003, a poll saw supporters vote Parkes into the greatest West Ham United XI. It was a fitting tribute to a man who had given so much, and helped bring so much joy and success, for the West Ham supporters.