Former player programme article - Frankie Parkes
Posted : 7th June 2020
During this period of enforced football inactivity Linfieldfc.com has provided weekly programme articles on our former players.
The series commenced ten weeks ago with an article on Jim Lemon and has continued over the past nine weeks with features on Tommy MacDonald, Stephen McKee, Eric Bowyer, Tony Gorman, Lindsay Curry, Damien Curran, Colin McCurdy, Martin McGaughey and Roy Walsh.
In this week's article Linfieldfc.com reproduces an article from the beginning of the season in which the spotlight was focused on former defender Frankie Parkes.
CULT HEROES – FRANKIE PARKES
by James Kennedy
Born, raised and married on the Shore Road – but Frankie Parkes signed for Linfield and wore the Royal Blue with pride from the age of 15.
Frankie says, “I went to Dunlambert Secondary and played for the school and in The Churches League. A friend called Trevor Reid took me along to training one night, a trial of sorts. The Rangers manager was Sammy Hatton and he must have liked what he saw, as he signed me”.
Hatton and trainer Billy Rodgers were big influences on the young Frankie, overseeing his progress from the Rangers through Linfield Swifts and into the 1st team.
“Billy Bingham was the manager of the 1st team when I first went to Windsor Park. He didn’t stay for long and the manager changed regularly, with Sammy Hatton also taking over the hot seat for a while”.
It was only when Roy Coyle became manager that Frankie made his 1st team debut.
“Others like Stephen McKee, John Garrett and Terry Hayes came through around the same time. Guess who I made my debut against? Crusaders of course! I just nipped across the Shore Road to play my first senior game”.
Those first couple of seasons of the Coyle era didn’t go too well, including the infamous Irish Cup final loss to Carrick Rangers. But Frankie had other matters on his mind that day in 1976.
“The final clashed with my wedding! When we set the date, I didn’t think I would be in the team, but as the final drew closer, I had arranged that I could get married and play the match. But Roy Coyle said that there would be too much pressure on me, so I had to concentrate on my other big day”.
Frankie was surprised to hear how that cup final turned out, and 12 months later there was more disappointment for the defender as The Blues lost another final, this time to Coleraine.
“I think Coleraine had four shots on target and every one of them ended up in the net. But I didn’t have to wait long for my first Irish Cup winners medal when we beat Ballymena Utd 3-1 the following year, and I also picked up a League medal in 1978”.
European action, including the Dundalk tie in 1979, and more medals followed, but in 1982 Frankie was on the move.
“Roy Coyle wanted to sign George Gibson from Ards. I was part of the deal, moving in the other direction. A couple of the Linfield lads told me I should stay, and I thought I could do the job that George was wanted for. But I was no longer wanted and went to Castlereagh Park under Billy Humphries”.
It was a move Frankie regretted, and after a couple of fruitless seasons he went to Portadown, where he was a regular until Ronnie McFall took over and quickly moved him on to Cliftonville.
“My knees were playing me up, and Billy Sinclair asked me if I would take over as manager of the Olympic side, and I did that job for two years. Eventually, Billy moved on and I was appointed 1st team Manager. I had a great 18 months in that job before I left and ended up back at Ards, as assistant to my old teammate Trevor Anderson.
That was Frankie’s last involvement with the local game.
“Being a manager or assistant is supposedly a part time job, but it takes up a lot of your time. I’m a self-employed electrician, and for most of the last 20 years, I have been concentrating on my day job”.
For Frankie, the joy of his time at Linfield will never fade.
“I don’t have any medals left, I gave them away to family members. I prefer the memories of my days with a great bunch of lads, legends like The Raff, Davy Nixon, Geordie Dunlop, and I really enjoy it when we get together”.