Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Parker Signs

Scott Parker has become the first piece in the club's summer rebuilding plans when he finally completed his £7million transfer from Newcastle United. Talking on the official site, Alan Curbishley said: "I'm delighted Scott has agreed to sign for us. Our relationship goes back some time to when he first joined Charlton as a schoolboy. He's coming to the Club knowing full well that we're trying to push forward and he wants to be part of that. Firstly he wants to improve our team; then he wants to improve his chances of forcing his way back into the England scene. He has been captain of Newcastle over the last couple of seasons and he is exactly the type of player that I wanted to bring to the Club. He's very experienced but still young and I'm sure he's going to be a big asset to West Ham." It is interesting that Curbishley should mention the relationship between manager and player. It is something that deteriorated drastically during Parker's final fractious days at Charlton. In his book, Valley of Dreams, Curbishley wrote:
"He [Parker] said it over and over again. He told me that at Charlton we were never going to win the Premiership and probably never going to get into the Champions League. We may not even win a cup. He wanted the chance to be involved in all of those things and he wanted to be in the England team. As far as he was concerned I was denying him the chance to do all of that."
It is not something lost on the player. In a piece in the Independent it is insinuated Parker had some misgivings about rejoining Curbishley, given the bad blood that existed between the pair. Speaking in the Mirror, former team-mate Jason Euell admitted he is stunned over the reconciliation. "Their working relationship ground to a halt so I'm shocked Scott has gone from Newcastle to West Ham to work under Curbishley," said ex-Valley star Euell. "But they must have sorted out their problems for Scott to have signed." On the bright side, at least it shows that we have signed an ambitious player who's hunger to achieve far outstrips petty personal grievances.

Scott Parker was born and raised in Lambeth, South London and has represented England at every level from Under-15s to senior. His talents first came to the fore when, as a 13-year-old, he displayed his keepie-uppie skills in a TV advert for McDonalds, before graduating from the FA's national school of excellence at Lilleshalle. He signed for Alan Curbishley's Charlton Athletic as a trainee and made his senior debut against Bury in August 1997. Two months later he was offered a professional contract by Charlton. He enjoyed a brief loan spell with Norwich City in 2000 to gain more experience and returned to the Valley, immediately establishing himself as an assured first team player. He made 145 appearances for the Addicks, scoring ten times.

Parker's skills soon caught the eye of then-England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and he was given his international debut in January 2003 against Denmark, when he came on as a substitute. He joined Chelsea for £10m a year later, in January 2004, and was named PFA Young Player of the Year at the end of the 2003/4 season. In December 2004, Scott suffered a setback when he broke the metatarsal bone in his foot and was sidelined for the remainder of the season. He joined Newcastle United for £6.5 million at the start of the 2005/6 season and scored his first goal for them at Cheltenham in the FA Cup in January 2006 on his 200th career appearance. He was awarded the captaincy by Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder on the eve of the 2006/7 season.

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