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Chelsea Daily – Fans favourite Parsons passes away

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By John Baines

Wednesday 09 February 2011

Eric Parsons, a member of the Drake Ducklings who brought Chelsea their first ever league title in 1955, has passed away aged 87.

After serving in the army during the Second World War, Eric began his professional football career with West Ham United when he was spotted playing for his local club, Worthing Boys. Following three years with the Hammers, he switched over to west London becoming Chelsea’s record transfer when he signed for £23,000 in 1950.

Nicknamed ‘the rabbit’ because of his slight frame and fantastic pace, Eric endured a difficult start to life at Stamford Bridge with injuries and poor form limiting his appearances and impact.

After Ted Drake took over, Eric found a role in the side and eventually won over the crowd with his energetic performances in the title winning ’55 side. He played in all 42 league games that season, scoring eleven goals and contributing many more with his pacy wide play down the wings.

Chelsea clinched the title with a 3-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday at the Bridge, with Eric scoring twice. In the post-match celebrations and speeches, the Chelsea faithful who Eric worked so hard to win over, succumbed, chanting ‘we want rabbit’ until Eric appeared to say his pleasantries.

In a six year-career with the Blues, Eric made 177 appearances, scoring 42 goals. His international chances were limited by a pair of wingers called Stanley Matthews and Tom Finney, restricting ‘the rabbit’ to just two England ‘B’ caps.

Eric left Chelsea in 1956 to spend six years with Brentford before retiring from the game and running a grocery store in his home town of Worthing, where he lived until his death on Monday night.

A Different League wishes to pass on its condolences to Eric’s family and friends.

After the disappointing defeat to Liverpool, the majority of the squad have jetted off to various parts to join up with their respective countries for international duty.

England are playing away to Denmark in a game which will see midfielder Frank Lampard handed the Three Lions armband for the first time. First and second choice skippers Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard have both pulled out of the trip to Copenhagen, so Fabio Capello has chosen Lampard to lead the side ahead of Wayne Rooney.

Also on England duty is full-back Ashley Cole, who was this week named as England supporters’ Player of the Year for 2010. Cole came top of the poll conducted by thefa.com, beating Steven Gerrard and Adam Johnson into second and third respectively.

The 30-year-old had a remarkable club season, winning the league and cup double with Chelsea, whilst his individual performances cemented his reputation as the best left-back in the world.

Cole was also one of the few players to come back from the World Cup debacle with any credit and remains an integral part of Capello’s team as they look to qualify for Euro 2012.

The former Arsenal star has won 85 caps since making his debut for England in 2001, but has previously endured a mixed relationship with the Three Lions fans who have targeted him for abuse for off-field misdemeanours.

Cole told FATV: "I never thought it would be me but I'm very privileged and proud and thankful to the fans. It's been hard at times but I think I've got their appreciation and I'm very grateful."

Blues team-mate Lampard also won the award in 2004 and 2005.

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