Back in the day when Parker was named Player of the Year, I called the decision absurd. It was an award for huff and puff, a tribute to commitment, an acknowledgement that all we really value on the football field is endeavour and the wearing of one's heart on one's sleeve. Skill? Who needs it when a player can run through brick walls? Passing range? Why does it matter when a player works so hard to get the ball back after he has given it away? Goal scoring? That's for forwards! Assists? Blame the forwards for not scoring after Scotty's super human efforts!
Who did I say should have been player of the season that year? One Kevin Nolan. And why? Because his eleven goals and seven assists (against Parker's three and four) had kept Newcastle in the division whilst we had finished bottom.
And how did West Ham fans react? I was an idiot, a moron, a cnut, a numpty, a know nothing etcetera, etcetera. Scotty was a West Ham god, one of the best players ever to pull on Claret & Blue, a West Ham legend, the only reason why West Ham had ever secured a point under Avram and Zola. Without Scotty, West Ham would have done even worse than finishing bottom of the table! And his devotion to the club? Unquestionable!
Well, I wonder if a few people might now like to revise opinions? Nolan has already bagged 4 precious goals this season and, according to Allardyce, is the "most important signing he has ever made" because of what Nolan offers on and off the pitch in terms of ability and leadership.
True, Nolan doesn't run all over the pitch chasing the ball ignoring positional discipline in the process. True Nolan doesn't run around in circles when he has it. True Nolan doesn't look as if he is dying for the cause, a look of mangled desperation on his face for 90 minutes of a game. True Nolan looks more likely to become a wall rather than run through a wall. And true, Nolan has a nasty, cynical, winner's edge that honest Scotty never possessed...but tell me, what wins games, goals or huff and puff?
Whilst Parker sits on his arse at Spurs injured, Nolan has led by intelligent example, reading the game, making space for himself and others, eking out precious points for the team rather than chasing lost causes. And whilst Nolan has lead, Noble has blossomed in a way he never could alongside Parker, because Noble can play make, a role incorrectly assigned to Parker because of his status as Captain By Default Fantastic.
Allardyce calls Nolan his best ever signing. I wonder, would he also now accept that Parker was one of his best ever sales - in the sense that the legend of Scotty Parker was a ball and chain around the legs of the team. For the club to move on, Scotty had to go. And boy have we moved on since Captain Kev replaced Captain Elect Scotty!