Pools ace in hall of fame

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A FORMER Hartlepool United legend is set to be given a top posthumous award this weekend.

Tony Parry will be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Show Racism the Red Card organisation alongside football stars including Sir Bobby Robson, Gary Lineker and John Barnes.

Former Middlesbrough defender Dean Gordon will present the award to Parry’s close friend Paul Gough, of Hartlepool-based Goffy Media, at Victoria Park on Saturday ahead of the final home game of the season against Bournemouth.

Parry was Brian Clough’s first signing as Pools boss in October 1965 and was also one of the first black players to play in league football.

The defender played almost 200 games and was the fans’ player of the year as the team gained promotion to Division Three in the 1967/68 season.

Parry was later signed by Brian Clough in 1972 at Derby County, a cash deal which effectively saved Pools from going out of existence.

The fans favourite sadly passed away at the age of 64, at his home in Burton, Derbyshire, in November 2009.

Goffy, who has been campaigning for a number of weeks to have Tony inducted in the Hall of Fame, said: “I am very proud to have Tony Parry’s name alongside the games best.

“He was a fantastic player for Pools, a great reliable friend and a giant of a human being.

“He will be so thrilled that his name will now live on in the game forever and very honoured his fantastic achievements will be spoken about around the UK on a daily basis.

“It is also a great honour for Hartlepool, it puts the town on the national stage - the fact that Tony loved Hartlepool and it’s people make it an even better result,” added Goffy who thanked the Mail for its support.

Craig Bankhead, education manager at Show Racism the Red Card, said: “Tony was a real pioneer for black footballers to follow, he was a real trailblazer for some of the future generations of black footballers.

“His work in clearing the path had to be recognised.

“Myself, Gary Bennett, Trevor Benjamin, Curtis Fleming and Dean Gordon recently held a meeting with Goffy and when we heard of the very early work Tony had done we had no hesitation in giving him our top honour.

“Being a black footballer during that period would have been hugely difficult. Racism was deemed ‘acceptable’ and Tony Parry showed tremendous character in achieving so much.

“Tony will also become a major focus in our campaigns across the UK in the years ahead as we continue to show people across the country of our fight to take racism out of the game.”