A studious professional whose commitment to the game is unquestionable, like all top sportsmen and women Scott Parker holds a deep desire to succeed. His path to the top is an intriguing narrative, one laced with character and resolve.
At former club Tottenham Hotspur, Parker developed a keen interest in the players that were emerging from the North London side’s academy. Similar attention has been noted here at Fulham, where he has been spotted taking in the games of our young hopefuls - players that could learn a lot from his own experiences in the game.
“I’m coming to a stage of my career where I’ve started to enjoy that side of things,” explained Scott to the Club’s official magazine Fultime. “I’ve always tried to follow the young players of the club I’ve been playing for, as they’re the future if you like. If I can help in any way, then I will because I remember how difficult it can be at that age.
“When I made my breakthrough the game was very different, it was more old school and the senior pros tended to keep themselves in their own groups. It was hard, because you didn’t always feel part of things. You either buckled or stood up, and I had to fight my way through.
“My biggest advice for the boys that are emerging now would be to understand that to be a footballer isn’t solely about talent. Of course, you need that natural ability, but it can be a rocky road of emotions. You need to be strong physically and mentally.
“But when I look at the lads that are starting to break through here at Fulham, as unpredictable as their path may be, it’s also very exciting. Football is a game of fine lines and margins, and they’ll need a bit of luck, everyone does at times. But if they can work hard, listen to their coaches and make the most of their opportunity then they have a chance.”
Having first flirted with fame in 1994 as the floppy-haired 13-year-old star of a McDonald’s World Cup advert, it’s fair to say that Parker has enjoyed a significant career in the game.
After starting his career at Charlton Athletic, he joined Chelsea in a £10m move in January 2004. A switch to Newcastle United followed with Parker then signing for West Ham United in June 2007.
It was at Upton Park where the player was named Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year, while in the colours of Tottenham Hotspur he was handed the England captain’s armband for a game against the Netherlands at Wembley.
“It’s funny, because even now people still ask about that McDonald’s advert,” said Scott. “It was a bit of fun, and my kids laugh at it now. I didn’t get paid in burgers either, it was straight cash.
“When I look back it’s incredible to see how things have panned out. I’ve had a great career but, at the same time, I feel I have many years ahead of me. There’s still a chapter or two left, that’s for sure. I’m not really someone that looks back on what I could have achieved or what I could have done differently, I just appreciate the opportunity to have given it a go.”
To read the full version of Scott’s story, as well as an in-depth interview with Kieran Richardson, be sure to pick up your copy of the spring edition of Fultime. The latest issue also features Shahid Khan, Alan Mullery, Luis Boa Morte, Sean Davis and a profile on Felix Magath.
The traditional printed version of Fultime is sent to all our Season Ticket Holders for free, while the digital edition – with added video content – now goes to our Members.
For non-Season Ticket Holders and non-Members, Fultime is also available to buy instore or online for £3.50. It can also be downloaded as an App. Priced £2.49, the App is available via Apple’s Newsstand or Pocketmags.
*Photography by Joe Miles