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Former Players Return | Phil Parkes

Appropriately still known as ‘Lofty’ due his 6ft 4in frame, Phil Parkes stands above most when it comes to the most influential Wolves goalkeepers of yesteryear.

The stopper, who made more than 300 appearances in a Wolves shirt, will make his return to Molineux as a half-time guest on Saturday and needs no invitation to roll back the years and reminisce on his time at the club.

Parkes created a reputation for vital penalty saves while between the Wolves sticks, none more important than the two against Ferencvaros to send the club to their one and only European final in 1972.

That UEFA Cup final ended in disappointment for Wolves, who succumbed to defeat across two legs with Tottenham, but it was an experience which would inspire Parkes’ future career venture.

“We played all over the place, in the likes of East Germany and Portugal,” he said. “It was a great experience because it was the first time we’d played foreign clubs, except for a couple of friendlies.

“To save a penalty in each leg of the semi-finals was amongst my finest moments, I was just disappointed that we went on to lose the final.

“It was a shame, after we’d played all the foreign teams in the build-up, that we played Tottenham in the final. To play them home and away, it felt like two league games,” he admitted.

Two major finals brought mixed emotions for Parkes, who followed up that disappointment with a League Cup victory two years on – but again it was tinged with regret for the goalkeeper.

“When we got to the League Cup final in 1974 I played in every game of the run. We won the semi-final on the Saturday and I broke my ankle on the Monday.

“The only good thing about the situation was as soon as it happened I knew I wasn’t going to be fit. Don’t get me wrong I was devastated about missing it, but I had time to come to terms with it.

“We won the League Cup final but lost the UEFA Cup - the opposite to when I played.”

However, four years on and Parkes’ time at Molineux was over, with pastures new coming in the MLS and a return to Canada.

“I’d gone to Vancouver on loan in 1976, so when Wolves signed Paul Bradshaw, and I was on a free transfer, they came back in for me, and I agreed to go.

“I played with George Best at San Jose and played against Pele, Johan Cruyff, Eusebio, Franz Beckenbauer, all the greats from my era.”

Impressive feats for Parkes, who was on the Wolves books from the second he left school, and after signing professional at 18, made it a debut to remember against Preston North End.

“I saved a penalty on my debut and it started years of fond memories. I played with some great players and nice people, in front of some very good fans.

“I still come to Wolves games when I get the chance. Molineux has changed a bit, we used to play in front of 50-odd thousand, but now it’s impressive and the pitch is like a billiard table,” he added.

‘Lofty’ will be on the pitch as the half-time guest on Saturday and supporters in the WV1 restaurant can meet him in the flesh, while those looking to book the facilities for the future can do so here.