TODAY marks 60 years since John Parry Gordon made his Warrington Wolves debut.

His place in the club’s history is highlighted in that only Brian Bevan has made more appearances for The Wire than the loyal scrum-half, whose playing days in the first team ran for 19 seasons.

Warrington Guardian: Parry Gordon scores for The Wire at Wilderspool StadiumParry Gordon scores for The Wire at Wilderspool Stadium (Image: Parry Gordon collection)

At 5ft 8ins and 12 stones, Parry, as he was known rather than John, was a brave performer who dazzled with the ball in his hands thanks to his speed, vision and ability to be in the right place at the right time as a support player.

Thus, he scored 167 tries in 543 appearances and chipped in with one drop goal too!

He skippered the side for spells and won many player-of-the-season awards.

His hometown club Wigan turned him down, so their loss was Wire’s gain when Gordon signed on his 16th birthday.

By 1965 he was Warrington’s first-choice number seven and remained so until 1980.

And in the era with Alex Murphy as coach, Parry appeared in eight major cup finals in as many years including two Challenge Cup Finals at Wembley as well as skippering The Wire to John Player Trophy success against Widnes at Knowsley Road, St Helens, in 1978.

Warrington Guardian: Parry Gordon, left, and Mike Nicholas after winning the John Player Trophy in 1978Parry Gordon, left, and Mike Nicholas after winning the John Player Trophy in 1978 (Image: Newsquest)

He made seven appearances for Lancashire and went on England’s World Cup tour of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in 1975.

After hanging up his boots, Parry served as assistant coach to Billy Benyon and then Kevin Ashcroft.

He remained an active member of Warrington Players’ Association until he died on November 3, 2009, aged 64.

As a youngster, Parry was an all-round sporting high achiever, being captain of his school rugby league, football and cricket teams, Wigan Schoolboys rugby league side and Lancashire Schoolboys football team.

Warrington Guardian: Parry Gordon, second from left on front row, with his Highfield School (Wigan) cricket teamParry Gordon, second from left on front row, with his Highfield School (Wigan) cricket team (Image: Parry Gordon collection)

And through his speed and agility as well, he also led the way on school sports day.

He kept notes of all his schoolboys sporting achievements, listing his place in the teams and scorers.

Warrington Guardian:

Former Warrington Guardian sports editor John Dickens revealed at the end of Parry's playing career how it came about that he signed for The Wire.

He wrote in the Guardian in 1984: "Thanks for starting him on the road which eventually led to Warrington must go to a fanatical Wigan supporter who now teaches at a Warrington school.

"Bill Seddon is deputy headmaster at Bewsey High, but it was as a science master that he went to Wigan’s Highfield School, when pupil Parry Gordon was 13. Mr Seddon discovered that it was a soccer playing school – but he was soon to alter that.

"Jackie Melling, later to become a very good centre with The Wire, was also at the same school and it was their good fortune when Mr Seddon introduced rugby league.

Warrington Guardian: Parry Gordon celebrating school sporting successParry Gordon celebrating school sporting success (Image: Parry Gordon collection)

"They did well at the game and when Parry left he had an appetite for more. Unfortunately, there were no junior teams in the Wigan area in those days so Parry turned to soccer.

"He retained his determination to play rugby - "I did not want to play union” - but had his first disappointment when his home town club of Wigan showed no interest in taking him on."

Parry told Dickens: "Wigan were enjoying a successful period, so naturally I was hoping to join them at Central Park, but after John Barton (a player with Wigan and former Highfield pupil) had taken me to a few training sessions they still showed no interest in signing me."

Dickens continued: "Warrington was a different story. The Wire had a colts team which included players he knew and had played with in the Lancashire Schoolboys side. Parry was also an admirer of another outstanding Wiganer, the then Warrington scrum-half Jackie Edwards.

"So when yet another Wiganer, Ron Mather, brought him to Wilderspool, he did not need much persuading when manager Ces Mountford signed him just after midnight on his 16th birthday in February, 1961."

Warrington Guardian: Parry Gordon with Cec Mountford, signing for The WireParry Gordon with Cec Mountford, signing for The Wire (Image: Newsquest)

After honing his skills in the colts and reserves over a two-year period he was handed his senior debut, aged 18, at Wilderspool against Barrow on October 26, 1963 - the start of a magnificent Wire career.

Dickens reflected on Parry's career.

He wrote: "If there was one label Parry Gordon did not wish to have pinned on him during his outstanding service as a player with Warrington it was ‘The best uncapped player in the game. Parry hated it."

Parry had told him at the time: “It made me feel like a failure. I felt as though I had never made it after all those years of playing.

“I have to thank Reg Bowden of Widnes and Fulham for taking the title off me. It passed to him five or six years ago.”

Warrington Guardian: Reg Bowdon moves in to tackle Parry Gordon during a Warrington versus Widnes 'derby'Reg Bowdon moves in to tackle Parry Gordon during a Warrington versus Widnes 'derby' (Image: Parry Gordon collection)

Dickens added in his 1984 write-up: "The rejection by Wigan made him more determined than ever to prove them wrong. Like Leeds, who turned Brian Bevan away, the Central Park club were to rue the day they ignored Parry Gordon – for they have not had a scrum half to match him in the last 21 years.

"Their loss was Warrington’s gain, however, and Parry has not once regretted signing for the primrose and blue.

"He has also given more than you normally get out of a player.

"There have been bad times, of course. The worst, perhaps, was when he returned after injury to play in the ‘A’ team at Salford one Friday night and they were walloped by 40 points. A couple of days later, Parry was in the first team against Salford, at Wilderspool, and Warrington lost 50-0."

Parry said: “Those defeats had their consolation, though. They led to Mr Oswald Davies joining the board as chairman and that signalled the good times.”

Dickens continued: "In his early days at Wilderspool, Parry continued to show the good form which had attracted many clubs (apart from Wigan) during his schooldays and he soon settled into the A team where he collected Lancashire Combination Championships and Shield medals.

"The next 20 years were to bring him – and Warrington supporters – much pleasure.

"There were eight appearances for Lancashire and three county championship medals, then a Great Britain under 24s international against France in 1968. There was also a Lancashire Cup winners’ medal although he missed the 1965 final victory against Rochdale Hornets through injury.

Warrington Guardian: Parry Gordon, left, and his Warrington teammates in Alex Murphy's Lancashire squadParry Gordon, left, and his Warrington teammates in Alex Murphy's Lancashire squad (Image: Parry Gordon collection)

"After a spell with the team in the doldrums (Parry continued to shine, however) there came the exciting years in the 1970s when Alex Murphy revitalised the club, and the never-to-be-forgotten 1973-74 season when The Wire seemed to win everything.

"They took the Captain Morgan Trophy (the only team to win it), the John Player Trophy, the Challenge Cup at Wembley followed by the Merit Championship.

"Although there was the disappointment of a Wembley defeat in 1975, that same year brought a richly deserved, but hard earned, place in the England World Cup party which went to Australia, New Zealand and, for the first time, Papua New Guinea."