Jonathan Parker RIP
By BasilRobbie
Monday 23 Sep 2019 16:39:00
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It was a great shock, and very sad, to hear that Jonathan Parker (JP) passed away at Accrington on Saturday. He was one of at least three generations of die-hard Seasiders in his family that I am aware of, and will be sadly missed. Having spoken to him as recently as Coventry away, it is hard to believe that he has really gone.


I first met JP in around 1975 or 76, on the Supporters Club Coach. He was one of the Back Seat Crew (with Ossie and Shep) and I was granted what I later understood to be the signal honour of sitting in front of him.  He didn’t know me from Adam, and gently ribbed me all the way to the game (Fulham, I think). But when we got there, he quietly took me under his wing and made sure I was alright. He was that kind of man. 


He is also one of the people who taught me how to drink,  and has been roundly cursed by BASIL card schools down the years for doing a far too thorough job on me. I always remember his loping, yet purposeful stride as he sensed that the pub was within range, and his knack for finding a crease at a crowded bar. I owe much of my Pub Presence to his tutelage.


Perhaps less known is that JP was in his time an avid programme collector, and was the proud owner of what must be one of the most definitive Blackpool club collections there is, or was. He was forever enthusing about some programme he had picked up from between the wars, and on match days could be seen treating his programme (and the spare) with great reverence. 


I managed to build up a collection of around 600 programmes at one point, until my Mum rebelled and insisted she wanted her bedroom closet back. JP was on hand to take some of my stuff for spares, advise me on who might take the rest, and pay me a fair (actually, very generous) price for the handful of genuinely rare programmes that I had acquired over the years. I had no idea about market values, and he could have had some bargains. But that was not his way.


I’ll miss his devotion to the cause, and the quietly whimsical way he talked about the game. I’ll miss his enthusiasm for whatever cask beer he was holding at the time, and the implausible list of pubs he intended to get in before kick-off time on awaydays. I’ll miss the lop-sided smile, and the gentle teasing I got every time we met. I lost a bit of my youth on Saturday, and never even got the chance to say goodbye, or tell him how much I liked him. But I think he knew  ; whatever else you said about JP, he knew his onions. Goodbye old friend, you will be much missed.

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