It’s Ray Parlour’s birthday on March 7th, so let’s look back at his time with Arsenal!
First of all, happy birthday, Ray! Second, welcome to our new feature on the site – weekly Arsenal infographics! We hope to bring you interesting facts, information and stats from the current season as well as from club history. Since our current form is oh-so-good, I decided to go with an Arsenal legend, or “unsung hero” as many call Ray Parlour.
Ray Parlour, born in Romford, had a long career at Arsenal, playing during 1990s and early 2000s, mostly on the right side of our midfield. He came to the club at the age of 16 and found his way in Arsenal’s first team through youth ranks. His first team debut was, as it still often is for many youth players, in the FA Cup back in 1992, at 19 years old. Arsenal were playing Liverpool at Anfield on that January 29th, and ended up losing the match 2-0, with Ray giving away a penalty. Funny story, Ray didn’t think he was in the squad for that tie and was having a pint at Anfield, when one Arsenal player got injured during warm up and Ray was called in! Ah, good old times!
Despite the not so perfect debut, Ray ended up having a nice career with Arsenal, winning 12 trophies with the club (including UEFA’s Cup Winners’ Cup). His performances became better when Arsene Wenger became the manager. He was some kind of a bad boy before that (you know, casual drinking, getting arrested in Hong Kong) but, just like with many other Arsenal players, Arsene convinced him to change which helped him become a much better player. That’s when he started scoring more goals – in total he grabbed 32 in his 466 Arsenal appearances. Those goals include two hat-tricks, which is not very usual for a midfielder. He loved scoring with his right foot, but also added some goals with left, and headers.
Ray’s favorite goal, in his own words, was the opening goal in the 2002 FA Cup final against Chelsea, which Arsenal won 2-0.
“It was a weird season, because the FA Cup final was on a Saturday and then we went to Manchester United on the Wednesday to win the Premier League for the Double. On the day of the final itself, it was about the 70th minute, it was 0-0 and it was whoever scored the first goal would win the game.”
That’s the match with a famous piece of commentary from the title of this post – “It’s Only Ray Parlour” said by Tim Lovejoy, seconds before Ray scored the goal. Skip to 1:10 to relive it.
So, enough talking, here’s the infographic! Hope you guys like it and all the future infographics. I’ll do my best to find interesting stuff for you every week!