Published: 16:36 15/05/2014
Arsenal legend Ray Parlour made 339 appearances for the Gunners between 1992-2004 and ahead of the World Cup in Brazil has teamed up with Titan Bet to promote the ‘best job in the world’. Known as The Romford Pele, the former midfielder sat down with Harry Madley to talk through his FA Cup final and World Cup tips.
Arsene Wenger’s side spent 128 days at the top of the Premier League table – more than any other side – yet they finished seven points off the pace. This weekend’s FA Cup final provides a perfect opportunity to overcome that disappointment and break their trophyless streak – a drought that has lasted since they beat Manchester United in the 2005 FA Cup final.
Ray Parlour, who also had a brief stint at the Gunners’ opponents Hull, highlights the importance of the fixture: “It’s a huge occasion for the club, everyone knows that but it’s important that the players prepare for it like any other game.”
Wenger’s men will have had six days to prepare for the Cup final and four-time Cup winner Parlour recalls his preparations for the big games.
“Back in 1993, we spent three days in the hotel prior to the match and so the pressure starts to build on you. The routine for my first Cup final in ’98 under Arsene Wenger was totally different, like any league encounter, we travelled up the night before. It was important not to let the pressure get to us. I guess it worked!”
Arsenal beat Newcastle 2-0 with Parlour scooping the Man of the Match award.
While the FA Cup has lost some of its lustre in recent years, Parlour is in no doubt what the occasion will mean to both sets of players. “That ride into Wembley on the team coach is pretty special. The players see the thousands of fans who have travelled. Each player handles the matchday buzz differently. Whether you’re completely focused, mucking about or noisy, the manager and skipper should let them crack on,” he recalls.
It’s Hull’s first FA Cup final and they understandably, because of the gulf in quality between the teams, go in as underdogs, priced at 11/2 with Titan Bet. However, the Tigers will take confidence from Arsenal’s mediocre performance against Wigan in a tense semi-final. The Gunners progressed to the final by squeezing past the Latics 4-2 on penalties.
Parlour expects the Hull manager to give his side a licence to play: “I imagine Steve Bruce will tell his players to go out enjoy themselves, try to get in their clubs history books.”
Titan Bet, who are the only bookie to offer FA Cup and World Cup scorer doubles have priced Arsenal at 9/20 to lift the trophy, so the pressure is firmly off the Tigers. Parlour adds, “If Arsenal are slightly off the boil, Hull will be able to take advantage of them.”
With less than a month to go, and with Roy Hodgson announcing his provisional England squad earlier this week, the country has also started to turn their attention to the World Cup in Brazil.
England are priced at 28/1 with Titan Bet to lift the trophy and with the likes of Brazil, Argentina and Spain fancied to put up strong showings, the expectation on the Three Lions to repeat the heroics of 1966 is rather subdued.
“As we know there’s not much expectation on the England team but that could work in our favour. With the pressure off the players the first thing we have to do is get out of the group. We have Italy first up on the 14th June, (the England/Italy straight Group forecast is 5/1) which indicates it will be tough. But it’s vital that we don’t lose it.”
Parlour suggests that if Hodgson’s men get off to a solid start then the team could shock a few people.
“Suddenly you are in a quarter-final and you can start to dream about playing in a World Cup final. With a little bit of luck on your side, you just never know.”
From a wider point of view, Brazil are the hot favourites at 11/4, Argentina are well backed at 9/2 and Germany are at 11/2.
Parlour points towards to quality of players that teams such as Brazil possess. “They have some truly gifted players, with the likes of Neymar, Hulk, Oscar, David Luiz, and of course, their skipper Thiago Silva presenting a real threat.”
But when it comes to sports tournaments on a global scale there’s usually a dark horse and when asked who that might be Parlour points in the direction of Belgium.
“They have star quality across the pitch. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has had a great season with Atletico Madrid and is proving to be the real deal. Vincent Kompany has just led Manchester City to a second league title in three years and Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku have the potential to cause havoc. At 16/1, Belgium may well upset the odds.”
The Romford Pele was capped 10 times for England but he never represented at England at a World Cup finals.
“My real chance was France 1998. I’d had a great season, won the double and won player of the season at Arsenal, so that was my opportunity to go. But I missed out – Glenn Hoddle didn’t select me. Naturally I was gutted to miss out because just to have been involved in the squad would have been special.”
Nevertheless Parlour will be flying out to Brazil this summer to watch the boys in action. And you could too with Titan Bet.
Titan Bet are offering one lucky football fan the chance to represent them during the world’s biggest sporting tournament. Go to Titan Bet to apply and upload a video of one minute or less telling us why you deserve to go. Also, don’t forget to follow me @RealRomfordPele and @TitanBet on Twitter before and during the World Cup.
All applicants need to do is create an entertaining video of one minute or less duration explaining why they should be given the dream job.
After signing up to Titan Bet and liking the bookie’s Facebook page applicants then submit their video and cross their fingers that they get the call. Here is Ray encouraging all of you out there to apply: http://bit.ly/1gR5enE
Videos should be original, entertaining, and show off the candidate’s presentation skills. Applications will be accepted until May 28th when the new employee will be decided upon by a Titan Bet panel.
Terms and conditions apply.
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