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Ray Parlour, what has the Arsenal legend been up to?

Many Arsenal supporters remember Ray Parlour as a fans’ favourite, a player who gave it all for the shirt despite not being the most gifted of his generation.  In a day and age of celebrity footballers and social network stars, players like Parlour can be hard to come by.

Perhaps the greatest example of a player opposite of Parlour is Manchester United’s French superstar Paul Pogba.  His high-profile spat with manager José Mourinho culminated when the Portuguese manager was fired. A scheduled social media post with a picture of a cheeky look from Pogba went up on the player’s Instagram shortly after Mourinho’s sacking was announced.

While Parlour was not completely immune to controversy during his playing days, the social media heyday of some current players is a far cry from Parlour’s persona.  However, Parlour has admitted in the past that he would have been in much more trouble if iPhones were widely used when he played.

So perhaps the current transgressions of modern footballers should be given some slack after all Pogba likely was not in control of the marketing post that caused such a huge stir.  Due to their growing wages and celebrity status, many footballers face unfair and overblown criticism.

Parlour’s exploits likely pale in comparison to the controversy surrounding Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette and Guendozi at a pre-season party.  After this minor blip, the Arsenal players involved seem to have taken responsibility and focused on playing good football.  Aubameyang and Lacazette have been banging in goals for Arsenal, and Ozil is beginning to recapture his previous form.

Parlour has also calmed down in his post-playing years, and he is now a radio and television football pundit.  He often comments on Arsenal games and their current form.  Prior to the season, he targeted Aubameyang and new signing Lucas Torreira as two Arsenal players to watch.  His predictions were spot on as both players have enjoyed great form, and Torreira has been a revelation and an early contender for new signing of the season in the Premier League.

Outside of football, the former midfielder has also enjoyed a game of blackjack.  In a 2016 video, Parlour played blackjack with The Only Way is Essex star, Amy Childs.  Parlour is shocked multiple times in the video for his poor poker play, and he shows several bizarre emotions on his face.  Perhaps Parlour won’t become a professional player any time soon, but his fans can learn from his mistakes before they hit the table.

He also released a biography capitalizing on his nickname the Romford Pelé.  The autobiography is under the same name as his nickname, and the Romford Pelé would be a smart gift idea for any friend or family member who is an especially big fan of Parlour. The nickname stems from a joke considering his lack of technical skill compared to the likes of Pele.

Parlour also made a brief return to the field in his post-retirement years, appearing for Wembley Football Club in their FA Cup games.  Wembley FC was attempting to make it to Wembley for the FA Cup Final, and they brought multiple former pros including Graeme Le Saux and David Seaman.  Eventually, the club lost to Uxbridge in a replay, so Parlour was not able to bring the semi-professional club to glory.

Parlour has also kept many football fans entertained with his sometimes eccentric comments about Arsenal and his playing days.  On talkSPORT, Parlour has regaled fans with some funny anecdotes from his Arsenal days including Kolo Touré’s hard-tackling trial. According to Parlour, Touré two-footed Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and the manager Arsène Wenger.

Regardless of how true the ludicrous sounding story is, Parlour clearly has shown he has a penchant for story-telling in his punditry.  Many fans find him a refreshing alternative to dry pundits who offer analysis purely on the technical aspects of football.

Over the years, Romford Pelé exhibited both sides of the beautiful game, entertainment, and hard work.  In his post-career life, Parlour has kept up this trend with a long line of funny and entertaining work.

Perhaps he never reached the footballing heights of Pelé, but for many Arsenal fans, Parlour will be remembered as one of the most entertaining and hard-working players to ever don an Arsenal shirt.  Luckily for the fans, Parlour has kept up his form in his retirement years, and the Arsenal faithful can still enjoy the antics and work of Ray Parlour.


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