1986 - 1993

265 Appearances

Gary started his career as a junior at Everton in 1985 before signing for Middlesbrough in 1986, the same year that the club fell into liquidation.


With the Ayresome Park gates locked, Gary's first team debut came on the 23rd August 1986 in a 2–2 home draw against Port Vale at Victoria Park, Hartlepool.


However, with Bruce Rioch as manager the 'Team of 86', made up of mainly local talent, went on to win back-to-back promotions, first as Third Division runners-up, and then winning a promotion/relegation play-off against Chelsea after finishing in third place in the Second Division. 


Gary also represented Boro in the Full Members Cup final (then known as the Zenith Data Systems Cup) as Middlesbrough lost 1–0 to Chelsea at Wembley, as well as being part of the Middlesbrough squad in the inaugural Premier League season.


In October 1992 he spent a short time on loan with Southend United who was then in the First Division.


He made a total of 265 appearances in all competitions and scored eight league goals while at Middlesbrough.


1993 - 1994

3 Appearances 

On March 2nd 1993, Gary followed former Middlesbrough manager Bruce Rioch to the North West, where Rioch signed him on a free transfer for Second Division Bolton Wanderers.


Despite being promoted in his first season, Parkinson just three league appearances for the Wanderers, after failing to displace the long-serving Phil Brown.


He was transfer listed by Rioch along with three other first-team players in September 1993.



1994 - 1997

135 Appearances 

After being transfer listed at Bolton Wanderers, Gary signed for Second Division Burnley on the 27th January 1994.


He quickly became a permanent fixture at Turf Moor and wrote his name into the club's history books by helping the Clarets to the First Division with the winner in the 1994 Second Division play-off final against Stockport County.



Gary still holds legendary status amongst Burnley supporters and remains the only Burnley player, not wearing the number 11 shirt, to score at Wembley. 


1997 - 2001

88 Appearances 

On the eve of the 1997-98 season, he signed for Burnley's Lancashire rivals Preston North End for £50,000. 


He quickly made himself the first choice right-back at Deepdale, and even captained the side on several occasions over the 97-98 and 98-99 seasons.


That was until he injured his cruciate ligament, which required surgery, and left him on the sidelines for 12 months from February 199.


He went on to make a full recovery but made just one league appearance in Preston's 1999-2000 promotion winning campaign. 


He returned to action the following season, making 12 appearances, as the club played their first season back in the second tier of English football for the first time in twenty years under manager David Moyes.

PIC: Blackpool Gazette 


2001 - 2002

24 Appearances 

On 22 March 2001, Gary made another move across Lancashire to Third Division Blackpool, for a fee of £20,000.


He went on to make 24 league appearances for the Seasiders, helping them to win promotion to the Second Division through the 2000-01 playoffs, the fifth promotion win of his career.


He was released at the end of the 2001–02 season and went on to play part-time with Northern Premier League (NPL) club Stalybridge Celtic and fellow NPL club Rossendale United.


In June 2003, Parky played for Middlesbrough in the annual Northern Masters football tournament at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, scoring two goals.


He later went on to help Middlesbrough win the 2004 Northern Masters, before being knocked out at the semi-final stage of the Grand Final.

Gary also represented Burnley and Bolton Wanderers at the North West Masters at the MEN Arena.


  • Centre of Excellence Coach at PNE

  • Head of Youth at Blackpool FC

After retiring from playing football Parkinson studied for his UEFA coaching badges, whilst working at Preston North End's Centre of Excellence.


He also worked for an organisation called SpeedMark, who employ ex-pro footballers to help schools raise money through football.


Parky left SpeedMark in June 2006 to become the Head of the Youth Department at Blackpool FC.


Gary was responsible for the whole youth structure at Blackpool, as well as managing the U18's youth team, who competed in the Football League Youth Alliance, North West Conference.


In the 2007–08 season Gary guided Blackpool to the Lancashire FA Youth Cup by beating Wigan Athletic 2-0 at Bloomfield Road on the 28th April 2008.


He then went on to achieve his UEFA A License coaching badge from the Welsh FA.





In September 2010, whilst Head of Youth at Blackpool FC, Gary sadly suffered a severe brain stem stroke.


After initially being admitted to Intensive Care at Royal Bolton Hospital and then Salford Royal, Gary was diagnosed with Locked-In Syndrome and given weeks to live.


The condition is one of almost paralysis apart from eye movements, and means the sufferer is fully aware but unable to communicate verbally.


Thankfully Gary has made great progress since 2010, and although he still remains paralysed, Parky returned back to his specially modified home in 2012.


Gary still requires 24-hour care and the use of a wheelchair, but thanks to your donations and support from the PFA, he is able to receive regular speech therapy and physiotherapy. 


Something which we all hope can help Gary to still enjoy a decent quality of life.


You can read more about Locked-In Syndrome here.  



Created in 2011, the Gary Parkinson Trust was set up to support Gary and his family as Parky continues to battle locked-in syndrome.

Every single penny raised throughout donations goes directly to towards Gary's rehabilation.

Our very first aim was to contribute towards modifying Gary's home so that he could enjoy living with his wife Deborah, and three children, Luke, Chloe and Sophie.


Your donations towards the Gary Parkinson Trust have since helped to purchase medical equipment, specially adapted vehicles, therapy sessions and even trips to the football.

As always, we can't thank you enough for your continued support.