End of the Pier show as boss Parke packs in after 19 seasons

Paddy Parke
Paddy Parke

Paddy Parke finished his 19th and final season in a managerial role at Sunday League side West Pier with the 12th trophy of his glittering spell in charge.

The top-flight club defeated Sunday League champions Trafalgar 3-2 in the Senior Cup final and then suffered defeat by the same scoreline to the champs a week later in the Kenward Cup, but Parke has plenty of happy memories from almost two decades at the club.
Parke, who will remain at Pier as secretary next season, will be replaced by Jamie Towse, who has been running the team for several seasons.
He said: “It was a hard decision to make, I always presumed I would be voted out rather than being able to leave from my own choice.
“I hope that the lads at Pier now will help it carry on being one of the most well-organised clubs in town, Pier has had that reputation for many years and I hope it continues.
“A lot of people have said some very kind things to me since I announced I was stepping down, in particular Pier founder Bobby Walker commented that he thought I had done a great job for the club and that means a great deal to me.
“I always say that the success is not down to me, as a manager I can only do so much, it is the players who bring the success and I have been lucky to have worked with some very good players over the years.”
Parke took over as the reserve team boss in 1997-98 when Jeff Smith stepped down.
He added: “He asked if myself and fellow player Shaun Robinson would take over, we said yes, and although Shaun stepped back to concentrate on his playing I carried on doing it as well as playing.
“We got to the Kenward Cup final at Hunmanby and were up against a very strong Strongwood side, which had the likes of George Johnson, Craig Salt and Micky Dennis on the bench. We competed very well with them and were only 1-0 down for a long time but in the end they were too powerful and won 6-0.”
The following year, with the first team in turmoil, and with no-one around to run the team, they looked set to fold so Parke took over as manager, stepping up from the reserves.
He said: “We had to start almost from scratch and I brought a lot of young lads into the team, such as Joe Connor, Mark Tucker and Adam Hutchinson.
“We got a few wallopings early on as we were in the top division, but we slowly picked up and got a few decent results.”
Parke’s troops then beat the dominant Strongwood side in the league the following season, the first time in almost two seasons they had lost a league match, and the two sides then met in the Kenward Cup final, once again at Sands Lane.
The Pier stalwart said: “We were obviously the underdogs and went 1-0 down after only three minutes, but we dug in and levelled with a thumping Joe Connor free-kick, Pete Kirby also missing a good chance to put us ahead by half-time.
“Kirbs said to me at the interval not to worry as he would get the winner, and he was right as he scored the second to help us lift the cup and it all snowballed from that day as the players all improved and we became a good team.”
Parke singles out the likes of left-back Tucker, centre-back Steve Sheader and sweeper Connor as key components of the Pier side that became a force, but added: “It is hard to really choose one as there were lots of other great players like Ricky Greening, Eamon Bazelya, Shaun McGrath, Kirby, Ray Thorpe, the list goes on.”
Parke’s finest hour was probably his side’s victory in the North Riding FA Sunday Challenge Cup final in 2001-02 at the Turnbull Ground, but he also says his first Division one title win the following season was also a top memory.
“It was a great achievement to become only the second manager in town to win that cup, after Pier won it back in 1992.
“But winning the league title the following season was also a great feeling, especially as we won the first 17 games and only lost to Strongwood in the final game.
“It was a sign of how far we had come that the lads were disappointed with the loss as they wanted the 100% record.”
Pier then had a few years which Parke described as difficult.
But Towse, who had been involved with Angel, joined Pier to help Parke, and this seemed to kick-start the club, with the likes of Sam Smart, brothers Neil and Gaz Thomas and Josh Clayton following him to Pier.
“With that team we went on to beat Trafalgar by a couple of points in 2011-12, winning a title decider against them.
“A lot of the success the club has had has been down the support of sponsors and the pubs we have been based at, so I would like to say a big thank you to Danny Smith during our time at the Scarborough Arms and John Bingham at Scholars.
“It is because of their support and the other sponsors that Pier can be such a strong club.”

Roll of Honour
Sunday League Division One: 2002-03, 2011-12.
North Riding County FA Sunday Challenge Cup: 2001-02.
Scarborough & District FA Sunday Cup: 2001-02, 2002-03, 2005-06, 2006-07.Runners-up: 2000-01, 2010-11.
Senior Cup: 2010-11, 2012-13, 2015-16. Runners-up: 2014-15.
Kenward Cup: 1999-2000.Runners-up: 2001-02, 2003-04, 2015-16.

Pier Reserves
Division Three: 1997-98.
Kenward Cup runners-up: 1997-98.