Howay The Lad!
Hero Worship A Black And White Issue For Squeak
Who do you think Derek Parkin’s hero was as a youngster growing up on Tyneside?
Jackie Milburn? No, too early. Malcolm MacDonald? No, too late. Wyn Davies or Pop Robson? No again. Try Len White.
The full-back who has played more games for Wolverhampton Wanderers than anyone else in the club’s history well remembers the aura surrounding his boyhood favourite at St James’ Park.
“He was a legend as far as I was concerned,” said Parkin. “He was quite small for a centre-forward but had this tremendous balance and scored a lot of goals.
“He was very popular with the people of the north-east when I was a kid and I was quite in awe of him.
“So you can imagine I was absolutely speechless when I went to sign for Huddersfield as a groundstaff lad a few years later. Who was the first person I saw when I was told to go into the snooker club to wait? Len White.
“I had no idea he was at Huddersfield. He had joined them in the early 1960s and played there for a couple of years, although it was after his time that I got into the first team.”
That second crossing of paths with the man who trails only Milburn and Alan Shearer in Newcastle’s all-time scoring list isn’t the only Geordie-related coincidence surrounding Parkin’s Molineux career.
The first of his 609 League and cup appearances for Wolves was in a 2-0 defeat for Ronnie Allen’s side at St James’ in February, 1968.
And his comeback in 1972-73 following six months out amid a heart scare was against none other than Newcastle at Molineux in the February.
“It’s amazing what a part they played in my career,” he added. “I supported them as a young boy, although my Dad died when I was about seven and my mother couldn’t afford to send me to many games.
“The ground was only a bus ride away, though, and I remember young kids being allowed to sit on the edge of the pitch and Bobby Charlton once having to ask me to move while he took a corner!
“I also recall being in the city centre once and Jackie Milburn, in his Newcastle United blazer, stopping to talk to us. What a God he was!”