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The name of Parkin on the Swindon Town team sheet will no doubt revive many memories of Sam’s goalscoring feats.

But while a young Sam was getting ready for infant school back in the summer of 1986, centre-half TIM PARKIN was on his way from Bristol Rovers to join Lou Macari at the County Ground.

Tim made his debut in a 3-0 Littlewoods Cup victory over Torquay although he had to wait a while before his League debut for Town.

Swindon had won the Fourth Division championship at a canter earlier in the year, but a 6-2 home defeat by Blackpool on September 16 prompted changes by the manager. In came Tim to partner Colin Calderwood in defence, while a young keeper named Fraser Digby was also brought in on loan from Manchester United.

Tim went on to make 49 appearances that season as Town climbed another division by way of the newly introduced play-offs.

The Rovers connection had begun almost ten years earlier, when Tim made his League debut at Eastville. It was not for Bristol, however, but for Blackburn - where he began as an apprentice.

But first team opportunities were limited at Ewood Park and after just a dozen League games Tim flew out to Sweden to sign for Malmo in January 1980. “They were managed by an Englishman, Bob Houghton”, said Tim. “I loved the country and the way of life there”.

And the experience gained in playing for a side that reached the European Cup Final was invaluable.

Tim returned to England in August 1981 when Terry Cooper signed him - after a ‘transfer window ‘hitch. “The Swedish FA only allowed transfers to other professional clubs in December and June”, explained Tim. “We got round it by me signing for Almondsbury Greenway, then signing for Rovers the following day !”

Tim stayed at Eastville five years making over 200 League appearances, but his career at the County Ground was a little shorter. In his second season, 1987/88, he made 54 appearances out of a possible 57 and then helped Town to reach the play-offs again a year later.

But new man at the helm Ossie Ardiles left Tim out after just two games of 1989/90 and he was soon on his way to the Potteries to join Port Vale, where he stayed for a further three years, apart from a brief loan spell with Shrewsbury.

In 1992 Tim joined Darlington, where he became player-coach and then assistant manager, but in November 1993 he moved to Barrow where a broken leg finally brought his playing career to a close at 36.

After a brief spell as Football in the Community Officer at Middlesbrough, Tim joined Cumbria Police in September 1994 and has since been promoted to sergeant, based in his native Penrith.

Tim and his wife Jane celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in 2004 .

(First Published by Wiltshire Newspapers/Swindon Advertiser October 2005)