Cardiff City kitman Harry Parsons was a legendary figure at the club from the time Jimmy Scoular asked him to look after the juniors when he arrived in 1964.
Many former players turned up to his 1991 Testimonial and he continued to be involved right up until his death a few years ago.
Harry had many stories, including this one about one of his first European trips, a Cup Winners Cup Game game against Sporting Lisbon in 1964. Cardiff City’s 2-1 victory in Portugal that evening remains one of the teams greatest ever results. And it was all achieved in frilly knickers. Harry Parsons explains:
We were preparing to play a European match in Lisbon when the kit came back from the laundry and I found that all the jock straps were damp. In order to have them ready I left them overnight on a steam boiler. Well the next day we loaded up and set off and it wasn’t until the coach met us at Lisbon Airport to take us to the hotel that I remembered the jockstraps.
I managed to attract Lew Clayton’s attention without Jimmy Scoular seeing me, but he shook his head when I asked him if they had been packed. We were staying at Fulham Chairman Eernie Clay’s hotel in the hills outside Lisbon, and I couldn’t wait to get off the coach and find him to see if he could help us out.
Ernie was a smashing bloke and he whipped me into town in his Jag. Replacement Jock-straps were out of the question so I bought 18 pairs of womens briefs at a department store and charged it to the hotel. I handed them to the players an hour before kickoff, and told them to get them on before Jimmy noticed, and to take them home for their wives and girlfriends afterwards.
Anyway, the lads played in them, we won 2-1, and I thought no more about it until months later when Jimmy suddenly said “Oh Harry, I know something you think I don’t knew regarding womens knickers”. I had to come clean – he probably knew all along.