Cheers, Lofty!

Squad’s Many Happy Returns

Pictured from left to right are the Wolves FPA’s Richard Green and Messrs Eves, O’Hara, Nicholls (back), Carr, Parkes, Wharton, Richards, Taylor, Parkin and Daley.

Phil Parkes has kicked off his landmark birthday celebrations with a surprise get-together organised by his former Wolves team-mates.

Nine Molineux colleagues turned up at what can safely be described as a Wolves watering hole to raise a glass to the keeper who turned 75 yesterday.

We were sworn to secrecy about the get-together but there will not be the same element of surprise around the major gathering at which Lofty will be the centre of attraction a few goal-kicks outside the city tomorrow night.

A cast of hundreds is expected – a stark contrast to the lunch with friends arranged without his knowing yesterday.

Present to toast him, in positional order, were Gerry Taylor, Derek Parkin, Phil Nicholls, Willie Carr, Gerry O’Hara, Steve Daley, Terry Wharton, John Richards and Mel Eves.

Also in attendance at The Fox at Shipley – run by Wolves fan Neil Taylor – was Richard Green from the Wolves Former Players Association.

“Lofty rarely needs any encouraging to join in with a bit of socialising and we were glad to be able to see him in a quieter setting than he is likely to experience at the weekend,” Richards said.

“He enjoys these get-togethers and he’s obviously having a busy two or three days when any number of friends will be catching up with him.

Phil Parkes early in his long Molineux career.

“I suppose we would have been away on pre-season tours quite a lot when his birthday came round in our playing days but I don’t recall a special fuss ever being made, unless it was a 21st. There weren’t the same thoughts about celebrating them then.”

Canada-based Les Wilson was a big pal of Parkes’s both at Molineux and with Vancouver Whitecaps a decade or so later and has asked us to pass on his best wishes.

“Hearing of events like this make me wish I could spend a lot more time in Wolverhampton,” he said. “Lofty was a terrific keeper and is a super guy who I would love to have seen at this special time.”

Thomas Publications