This is a new series that chronicles former Tottenham Hotspur players who have moved on from the club. Where are they playing now? How has their career gone since leaving White Hart Lane? Find out below.
Scott Parker signed with Tottenham Hotspur from West Ham United on August 31, 2011, transfer deadline day of that year, for 5 million pounds. Parker's age and the club he was sold from made the transfer intriguing. Could the veteran midfielder, whose club was relegated that previous season, make it in a talented Spurs side? Further, could his legs hold up? Finally, would West Ham cooperate with their hated rivals? In a window which saw Brad Friedel and Emmanuel Adebayor join on a free transfer and a subsidized loan respectively, Parker's signing fit in well with Tottenham's peculiar, yet prudent, business that summer.
Coming off of a year where he was a finalist for the prestigious PFA Player of the Year award and the winner of the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year Award, the promise of Scott Parker was that he was already a finished product. A consummate professional whose career was forged in the fires of hard-work and perseverance, he would be the proven shield to Tottenham's defense, allowing the wildly brilliant Spurs attack, which included the likes of Luka Modriç, Gareth Bale, Rafael Van der Vaart, Aaron Lennon, and Emmanuel Adebayor, to push forward and create. While central midfielder Sandro was a promising talent, he was young and injury-prone. Parker was predicted to be a starter, but at worst he would be backup to the hugely talented Brazilian destroyer. He was also the quintessential, yet predictable, Harry Redknapp and Daniel Levy signing. Trustworthy and cheap, he wouldn't be a talisman for the next decade, but he could get the job done in the near-term for a very good team.
While Parker's transfer wasn't controversial, it also wasn't fully embraced by the fanbase either. Parker was seen as a "Redknapp special," one who did nice things at West Ham, but probably wasn't at the level needed to contribute greatly for Spurs. Anyone who held this sentiment was, frankly, dead wrong. Parker brought much-needed sanity to an otherwise insane tactical approach. Redknapp's "f****ng run around a bit" philosophy might be a harsh oversimplification of Spurs' former manager's tactics, but it is a telling insight into how Spurs played. With Modriç pulling the strings in the center of the park, Rafa and Ade combining up top, and Lennon and Bale zipping down the wings, Parker was paramount to Spurs not conceding 5 goals a game. He appeared in 34 matches that year, including 29 in the Premier League. By October, just six weeks into his time with the side, he was named captain for their away win at Blackburn. By the end of the season, he was named Tottenham's Player of the Year.
Parker's committed play with Spurs was a revelation in his first season, but his second – well, things didn't work out quite as well. The crucial moment of his 2012-13 campaign occurred before the term even started, when he opted to have surgery on his Achilles tendon. He missed a stretch of games at the end of the 2011-12 campaign from this nagging injury too, but this absence from the side would be much longer indeed. Parker would not see the pitch until December and, in his wake, the pairing of new signing Mousa Dembélé and Sandro were preferred by newly appointed manager André Villas-Boas. In general, AVB never really bought into Parker's allure. When Sandro injured himself that winter and Parker took his place, his play was far from effective. In a system that was more defensive by nature, Parker was asked to do things that he didn't excel in – mainly contribute offensively. In Redknapp's system he could sit back and nip ankles, in AVB's he had to jumpstart counterattacks.
By the summer of 2013 Scott Parker was surplus to requirements at Spurs. He never really fit into AVB's system (see his awkward Europa League performances against Inter & Basel) and the team was completely overhauled after the transfer of Gareth Bale to Madrid. On August 19th, 2013 he joined Fulham on a permanent transfer and three year deal.
Life After Spurs:
Just shy of his 33rd birthday, the move to Fulham seemed to be a fitting one. Fulham had been a respectable mid-table club and looked to use his qualities, both on and off the pitch, to continue their Premier League success. Sadly for Scott, this didn't happen. While appearing 32 times for the Cottagers, Parker and Fulham, like the season with West Ham before he joined Spurs, were relegated. The 2014-15 campaign saw Fulham stay in the Championship, but also saw Parker claim the captaincy of the Southwest London side. To this day, the 35-year-old is still playing! In Fulham's last six fixtures, he has started in 5 of them.
What was remarkable about his play was not only his engine, but the palpable willingness to sacrifice everything for a win. Beyond the Redknapp soundbites, it was evident that he was a leader; both in the tenacity in which he played the game, but also the selflessness that he portrayed. Parker was the guy who players respected and the footballer who managers bestowed responsibility upon. The 2011-12 Tottenham team was, pound for pound, the most talented starting eleven for a Spurs outfit in decades. Scott Parker won the Player of the Year award for that team. While his stay with Spurs was short, his performances in that squad were memorable. And let's not forget that RAF hair â that sweet, sweet RAF hair. Wishing him the best in the remainder of his football career and beyond.