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50 years ago in Eccles: Death of Manchester United player Thomas Albert Parker

Continuing with our series of stories that were making the papers 50 years ago this week, we take a look at an Eccles man Thomas Albert Parker who achieved fame by playing professional football for Manchester United.

Thomas was born in November 1906 and lived at Oxford Street, he attended the nearby St Andrew’s C of E School where he soon gained a reputation as a bustling centre-forward.

After leaving school he was apprenticed to be a joiner at William Thorpe and Sons in Trafford Park.

On a Saturday afternoon he would play football for Eccles Borough Lads, a team which recruited players from the Oxford Street and Barton Lane areas of Eccles.

His position was centre-half, no doubt because of his 5ft 10in, 11st frame.

His style of play soon attracted scouts from such clubs as Stoke City and Manchester United who wanted him to sign professional forms, however Thomas wanted to finish of his apprenticeship as a joiner.

It’s not as bad an idea as it sounds, as footballers in those days were not paid the astronomical fees that that they are paid today.

He signed amateur forms with Stoke City in 1928 and played for them for two seasons.

He gained his release when an old friend from Eccles, Joe Niven, asked Stoke to cancel his registration so that he could sign amateur forms for Manchester United, which was a lot closer to his home in Eccles.

I found it interesting that Thomas signed for Manchester United as an amateur in September 1930 and was working on a building site in Manchester on a Friday afternoon when officials from the club picked him up and took with the first team by train to London.

Sadly Manchester United were thrashed by West Ham United at Upton Park 5-1.

He must have put in a good performance despite the score because he was signed up after the October 1930 game on a three-year contract at Old Trafford.

Altogether he played 17 first team games for Manchester United, sadly not getting on the score sheet.

In 1932 he left Manchester United and signed for Bristol City were he met his bride to be, Kathleen Weymouth who he married in 1938.

He then returned North and signed for Carlisle United in 1934 were he stayed for one season, before joining Cheshire League Club, Winsford United.

At the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the Royal Artillery where he served in France, Holland and Belgium being demobbed in 1945.

Back in civilian life, he returned to his old trade as a joiner opening his own small business on Cannon Street, Eccles.

In 1953 he joined the local company of W. Brittain and Sons.

Sadly he was taken ill in October 1964 and passed away on 11 November his cause of death being cerebal thrombosis and broncho – pneumonia.

Thomas Parker was buried in Peel Green cemetery and left behind a widow and one son.

So if you are a Manchester United fan and are in Peel Green cemetery try and find his final resting place and spare a thought for a man who achieved the dream to pull on that famous red jersey and play for Manchester United.

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SalfordOnline.com's Local History Editor and Senior Reporter.