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Tributes paid to Black Country football coach Bill Parkes

Tributes have been paid to a former football coach who enjoyed a trophy-laden spell with a Black Country club.

The 1977 end of season photo with trophies - Bill parkes (left)
The 1977 end of season photo with trophies - Bill parkes (left)

William Parkes, known as Bill, helped coach Rocket Pool Colts in Bilston for around 12 years – starting in 1969 when the team formed.

Alongside manager Bill Holyhead and physio Peter Haynes, the trio won dozens of trophies with the club, including the Walsall Junior League, the Walsall Cup and the Wolverhampton Chronicle Cup.

Bill passed away in March aged 91 and his funeral was held earlier this month.

Bill's son Barry Parkes said: "Rocket Pool Colts became one of the best youth sides of that era and it started with kids from the estate in Bilston.

"As the years went on and the club improved, players joined from all over the Black Country. It was not just about a football club though, this was about bringing a community together and integrating people from different ethnic backgrounds into that community. People still talk about the club today and all three men gained so much respect over the years.

"We have received close to 500 messages of condolences and support all saying what a special man my father was and from team members saying how he had so much influence on their lives growing up.

"Some attended the funeral saying it was an honour to be there – he was so respected. As a family we are so proud of our father and the respect he had in the community. If you turn out half as good as him you will be a decent man."

Bill, who worked until he was 73 supporting the elderly and disabled children, also took the football club overseas to play in America.

After building a reputation on these shores, a team from Delaware visited to play Rocket Pool during a tour of youth teams across the UK.

Rocket Pool then travelled to the States in 1979 and took three teams with 50 players to play 18 games – of which they won all 18.

Barry added: "It was a great achievement for the club and the community at this time to go to the States and came at a similar time to when the under-15s won the South Staffs Cup."

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