How Ray Parlour injury made Arsenal teammate very happy and possibly rich too

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Arsenal won back-to-back FA Cups between 2002 and 2003, with Ray Parlour featuring in both finals.

Parlour scored a brilliant solo goal to break the deadlock in the 2002 final, to help Arsenal on their way to a 2-0 win over Chelsea.

It is widely regarded as the finest moment of his career and it helped establish him as one of the club’s most popular players ever.

However, it was another FA Cup final incident which increased Parlour’s popularity with Gunners teammate Francis Jeffers and his friends.

According to former Arsenal goalkeeper Graham Stack, Jeffers (or at least many of his day-tripping pals from Liverpool) placed a bet on Parlour to receive injury treatment during the Cup final.

Stack told the Magic Sponge: “I was at the game with my missus. Ray was partial to a bet, and so was Franny at the time.

“Franny was with a load of his mates behind me. There was a bet before the Cup final called ‘Massage Parlour’.

“I weren’t aware of this at the time, but it was for Ray Parlour to receive treatment within 90 minutes.

“Ray don’t get injured for nothing – you’d have to shoot Ray for the physio to come on!

“With about five minutes to go, Ray hadn’t been down, but next minute there was a bit of an innocuous one and Ray’s fallen over.

“I just remembered [physio] Gary Lewin come running on and these 20 Scousers behind me were f***ing jumping up and down like someone’s scored!

“I’m not saying Ray was on it by any means. Maybe he was injured, who knows?”

Parlour mentions the incident in his autobiography and he was indeed aware of the 7/2 odds on him receiving treatment.

He swears that he didn’t fake the injury, but admits that quite a few family members made money off it.

Stack and Jeffers were on Arsenal’s books when they won the 2002 and 2003 FA Cups, but neither played in either final.

Jeffers was given winner’s medals for both campaigns, however, having played in the earlier rounds.

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