“Mrs. Shankly was keen that I got an education, and kept giving me books. I wasn’t really interested, and one day she took me out into the garden for a game of headers. Any heading ability I had in football was gained by learning from Mrs Shankly.” – Alex Parker on his time at Falkirk under Bill Shankly (and his wife.)
Falkirk’s most capped player, Alex Parker, joined Everton in 1958 and spent seven seasons with Everton. The right back won a Championship medal in 1962-63 and left the club in September 1965 to join Southport. One of Everton’s best ever right backs, Parker was extremely lively, and made over 200 appearances for the club. Strong, fast, an expert tackler and a swashbuckling attacker, he was also noted for his modesty and self deprecating humour.
The Scotsman notes Parker’s humility in their obituary:
It is fitting that Falkirk fans voted him into their Millennium Team, even though many had never seen him play. Accepting his award, he displayed typical modesty, thanking all the grandfathers who had told their children about him. Modesty was one of his endearing characteristics, and he never failed to amaze with his genuine humility. He classed Tom Finney as his hardest opponent, and recalled meeting him in later life at Preston. “I didn’t recognise him from the front,” he said, “as I usually only saw his back and a number 11 disappearing towards goal, with me left floundering.”
The Independent also made a point of noting his modesty:
He proved a popular landlord of the Swinging Sporran in Runcorn, always ready to yarn about his playing days but invariably referring to his own achievements with characteristic modesty. Later Parker returned to his homeland to live in Gretna and in 2009 he suffered the amputation of his left leg. Still he relished a joke, though, chuckling delightedly when his compatriot and old Goodison chum Alex Young remarked: “At least it’s not the one you tackle with.”
Premier League: Saturday 11 March (15:00); West Bromwich Albion at Goodison
Saturday 18 March (15:00); Hull City at Goodison