Many people think Tony Parry was Derby County’s first Black player. Tony, who sadly passed away in 2009 aged only 64, was a legend at Hartlepool United where he could have been their first Black player but for the fact that the very same Tewfik Abdallah played for them in 1924 long before Tony made his debut for them in a 1-0 home defeat to Colchester on 18 December 1965. The crowd at that game was 4,067 but it more than doubled for Tony’s next game, a 1-1 home draw with local rivals Darlington on 27 December 1965 in front of 9,290 people. As was commonplace in those days, the 2 clubs completed the return fixture the following day. The game once again finished level at 1-1. Tony kept his place for the New Year’s Day 1966 fixture at Tranmere but Hartlepool lost 6-1 and their manager, Brian Clough didn’t pick him again until March 1966. It was Clough who took Tony to Derby in 1972, the year Derby won the League Championship. Tony didn’t feature in any League games in 1971/72 and started only 4 games plus 2 substitute appearances the following season before leaving for Mansfield. The fact that Tony didn’t gain a first team place strengthens the commonly-held belief that Clough signed him for £2,500 as a favour to his old club Hartlepool who were in dire financial straits.
*The above extract is from Bill Hern's book, Football's Black Pioneers: The Stories of the First Black Players to Represent the 92 League Clubs.
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