Raymond "Ray" Parlour (born March 7, 1973) is a former England
international footballer born in Romford, England. Nicknamed "The
Romford Pelé", he currently plays for Middlesbrough in the
English FA Premier League.
Ray is most famous for his years at Arsenal, where he played for
15 years. Parlour joined Arsenal as a trainee in 1989, and made
his debut for the Gunners against Liverpool on January 29, 1992,
where he unfortunately conceded a penalty in a 2-0 defeat.
Parlour continued to be a bit-part player for the next few years,
and was more noted for several disciplinary problems (such as a
run-in with a Hong Kong taxi driver while on tour). He properly
broke through in the 1994-95 season, and played in Arsenal's Cup
Winners' Cup final loss to Real Zaragoza that season. However,
Parlour only fully developed as a player after the arrival of
Arsène Wenger as manager in 1996; he became a regular fixture
playing on the right wing or in central midfield for Arsenal,
and was man-of-the-match in the Gunners' 1998 FA Cup final win.
However, he didn't get an England call-up until 1999; he won 17
caps for his country but did not play in any tournament finals.
He remained an unsung hero for many years until he claimed his
deserved place in the spotlight with a brilliant 30-yard strike
to open the scoring in the 2002 FA Cup Final against Chelsea
(Arsenal won 2-0, with the second goal from Fredrik Ljungberg).
While at Arsenal, Parlour won three League titles and two FA
Cups, and played a total of 467 matches, scoring 32 goals. He
moved to Middlesbrough in the summer of 2004, although still
remains a fan's favourite at Arsenal.