The Pub Quiz Pirate
A few months ago we had the pleasure of welcoming a big group of former players to a match, with David Mehew, Phil Kite, our President Billy Clark, and Tim Parkin all joining our regular host Vaughan Jones.
The man we are focussing on today is the one who we see least of around the Mem, Tim Parkin. Tim has an excellent excuse though, as he lives in his native Cumbria.
Tim was born in Penrith and started his career with Blackburn Rovers in 1976 before a move to Sweden premier club, Malmo FF, in 1980. Malmo were managed by Bob Houghton, who later managed Bristol City, China and India amongst others, and had recently narrowly lost in the European Cup Final; in fact, to this day they are still the only Nordic club to ever reach the final.
That unconventional move saw a season to remember as his club finished runners up in the Allsvensken, won the Svenska Cupen, and most notably for pub quizzers, played in the Intercontinental Cup against Paraguay’s Olimpia. After less than 5,000 fans had attended the first leg in Sweden the Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo labelled the cup “a dog without an owner”; a view shaped by years of controversy, decline and non-attendance by many of the European Cup winners, including Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Club Brugge even sort of morally ‘won’ the 1978 edition by virtue of Boca Juniors declining to even turn up!
Tim played in the second leg, in the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion, in front of 47,000 fans, the only player on the pitch who wasn’t either Swedish, Paraguayan or Argentinean.
The other fact pub quizzers need to know is that when Rovers wanted to bring him to England in August 1981, they were informed that the Swedish FA only allowed players to move between professional clubs in December and June. So Tim ‘signed’ for local minnows Almondsbury Greenaway, and remained there for all of 30 minutes before becoming a Rovers defender in a £15,000 deal.
If that unorthodox entrance had concerned any Pirates,Tim soon banished any worries by instantly becoming a solid and regular performer on the pitch, racking up 206 league games in just five seasons before being sold to Swindon Town for £28,500, just as cash-strapped Rovers were about to up sticks to Twerton Park. Tim’s last Rovers game was that infamous final match at Eastville, a 1-1 draw against Chesterfield on 26th April 1986 in front of less than 4,000 supporters.
Tim enjoyed a successful time at the Robins, including an instant promotion in his first season via the first ever play-off finals, until a £60,000 move took him to fellow Second Tier club Port Vale. He later moved up to Darlington and Barrow, where a broken leg at the age of 36 finally ended his career.
Tim was briefly a Football in the Community officer at Middlesborough FC before becoming a completely different type of officer back ‘home’ in Cumbria; a Police Officer! How apt for a defender.
It was wonderful to see Tim again in Bristol and we are very grateful for him coming all that way.