Derek Parkin admits he shed a tear at missing out on an FA Cup final with Wolves.
The club’s record appearance holder is hoping Nuno Espirito Santo’s side put the record straight at Wembley tomorrow against Watford after he missed out on the Wembley showpiece three times.
Parkin, now 71, was one of four players who played in three consecutive losing semi-finals in just eight years with John McAlle, Kenny Hibbitt and John Richards.
But, like his old team-mates, it was the 1-0 defeat to Leeds in 1973 that he still feels aggrieved about. Richards struck a shot that hit the inside of David Harvey’s post and rolled agonisingly along the goalline, but didn’t cross the line.
“It’s quite annoying because playing in three FA Cup semi-finals, you feel there’s a good chance of getting through to one of them, but we didn’t,” said Parkin.
“That’s the one cup you really want to get to the final in. It was so disappointing really, but that’s football.
“You do feel a bit down, especially after the Leeds one. Most of the lads were close to tears after that, and I must admit, I was pretty upset about it.”
Richards also recalls the despair of the Wolves dressing room at Maine Road after losing to Leeds. But he said the bigger upset was reserved for the older players who feared the chance of appearing in an FA Cup final had passed them by.
“After the Leeds one I wasn’t as disappointed as some of the other players because there was the feeling that ‘there will be more opportunities and we will get there eventually’,” he said.
“But looking around the dressing room that day you saw the real disappointment from the experienced, older players – people like Mike Bailey, who had been injured and came on as our substitute, and Dave Wagstaffe. Derek Dougan was the only one who had played in an FA Cup final.
“There was a feeling of despair in the dressing room because we had played well but it just didn’t go our way, and you could see it in their faces that they were never going to get the chance to play in one, and that was what happened.”
Parkin is excited by this Wolves team but believes they need to put some silverware in the trophy cabinet to confirm their place in the club’s history.
“They’re a really good side – the best Wolves team I have seen for a long time with a tremendous manager and some bloody good players,” he said. “I wish I was their age again! Most old footballers will tell you that there’s nothing that takes its place.
“But when you’re on a good run, you have to win something, so let’s hope it happens. The whole place has been buzzing and it would be great for the fans and the city.”