Football pundit Ray Parlour is a favourite amongst many football fans. He first won acclaim as a midfielder for various teams, before moving into television and radio work following his retirement from the pitch. Let’s take a closer look at the life and career of this former Gunner now!

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 14: Former Arsenal Footballer Ray Parlour speaks during the Western Sydney Wanderers Gold Star Luncheon at The Westin on July 14, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Ray Parlour – The Romford Pelé

Parlour spent the majority of his time playing at Arsenal. He spent his years as a trainee here, entering their training program in 1989 and making his debut in a match against Liverpool in 1992. Though he was a regular fixture on the field and the substitute bench in his first few years, he was fairly unknown compared to some of the other stars of the club.

However, this changed when Arsène Wenger joined the club as manager in 1996. Wenger spent a lot of time developing different aspects of the team, and this included looking into the potential of players like Parlour. He quickly became a fixture either in the centre midfield or on the right wing, and he was a key player in several fantastic victories over the next few years.

In this time, he gained the nickname the Romford Pelé – a reference to both his hometown and the famous international footballer – thanks to his laidback and down-to-earth personality. In addition to his many appearances for the Gunners, over 450, he also acted as a stand-in captain for their game against Inter Milan in 2003, which resulted in a 5-1 victory for Arsenal.

Ray Parlour – Not Just a Footballer

Though his talents on the pitch are definitely what most remember about him, they are not the only skills that he has. One of his other great passions is for the game of poker. He has been known to try out the game at several different times, and has even taken part in a few tournaments.

Many former and current professional footballers enjoy poker. A notable recent example is the WSOP Online Series 2020 which was played on GGPoker, where the likes of Neymar and Andriy Shevchenko played, though they didn’t win.

The most notable of these for Ray Parlour was the FootyAccums Night League Game. This attracted 2265 participants to it, and Parlour came out on top! He has also been known to play online every now and then too.

Ray Parlour – Moving on to Punditry

Parlour moved on from Arsenal and played for a few other teams, notably Middlesbrough and Hull City, before retiring and moving on to other ventures. As with many other retired footballers, these paths led him to the world of punditry.

There is always room for a fresh voice in the world of punditry, whether they are offering insight into what Arsenal might do in the transfer window, or simply analysing the latest game played. Parlour can be found in a number of shows across TV and the radio, including on Radio 5 Live for the BBC and Talksport. His insight is always clear and interesting, and it is great to hear his opinions amongst some of the other voices in the world of punditry.

Though he might not have had a massively distinguished international career, there is no doubt that Parlour made a mark on Arsenal in his time there. He was an excellent and level-headed player who has since made a fantastic transition into the world of punditry, and it is great to see that he is still involved in the world of football. It will be fantastic to see what he, and some of the many other great retired players of Arsenal, continue to do in the future.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.