‘The least that he deserves’ – Skuse urges applause for much-loved stalwart Parker

Dick Parker, who worked at Ipswich Town for 20 years, died at the weekend. Picture: ARCHANT

Dick Parker, who worked at Ipswich Town for 20 years, died at the weekend. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Town midfielder Cole Skuse is the latest person to pay a glowing tribute to much-loved club stalwart Dick Parker.

Parker, 67, died last weekend after working for the club for 20 years, most recently as academy kitman and caretaker at Playford Road.

His death prompted a huge outpouring of heartfelt messages from players and staff, both past and present, led by boss Mick McCarthy, as well as fans.

“Even now I am lost for words because, having known him for the best part of five years, he is someone I called a friend,” said Skuse.

“It’s just surreal, seeing him on the Friday before we left for Middlesbrough, saying ‘see you Sunday’ and then hearing the sad news.

“You can’t replace a person like Dick. I used to call him ‘Dick Van Dyke’. This is Dick’s training ground, this is his manor, so to lose him is a huge loss for everyone.

• ‘RIP my friend’ - tributes for Parker

“You’d think he’s the sort of guy that would strangle you when you saw all the tattoos, but he was the nicest, softest guy you could ever meet. He was an absolute pleasure to work alongside and my thoughts are with his family and friends at such a sad time.”

He continued: “Dick was always the first in and the last out. He would look after the pros exactly the same as he would look after an Under-8 or Under-9. He would go out of his way to help the younger players and their parents.

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“We could sit and talk all day about Dick Parker. You would never run out of compliments. Anyone you speak to would say the same thing.

“He was such a nice, lovely guy and gentleman and I can fill myself welling up now talking about him.”

Town kitman James Pullen has called upon Town fans to pay tribute to Parker with a minute’s applause in the 67th minute of Saturday’s home game against Reading.

“So there should be – that’s the least that he deserves,” said Skuse. “He deserves any sort of tribute there can be.

“We’ll be doing our utmost to put on a performance and get a result for him.”

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