ST MIRREN striker Sam Parkin spent his summer having old memories rekindled.
The 31-year-old was in the same Chelsea youth team as John Terry and looked on from the comfort of his home as his former team-mate hoisted the greatest prize in club football – the Champions League Trophy.
As a kid Parkin had been tipped for a stardom and used to clean Mark Hughes' boots at Stamford Bridge and rub shoulders with strike legends like Gianfranco Zola.
However, his career at Chelsea did not blossom as he had hoped. His departure came in 2002 while Luton slapped down a £340,000 signing fee for him in 2006 to prize Parkin away from Ipswich a series of ankle injuries cast a shadow over the target man's career.
Indeed, Parkin was released by St Johnstone after another setback early last season, but showed guts to drop down a league to star for Queen of the South where he impressed watching Saints boss Danny Lennon.
Parkin said: "I have no regrets over the way things have gone. I watched John lift the Champions League trophy for Chelsea earlier in the summer and good luck to him.
"When we played in the same youth team back in the day he stood out as a natural leader.
"He has proven himself to be Chelsea through and through and I am delighted for him and everyone at the club.
"The bottom line is there are relatively few players who progress from the Youth teams at clubs like Chelsea and then go through the rest of their careers with the first team.
"On the plus side, I can look back at my time at Chelsea as a kid and say I trained with the likes of Zola and Pierluigi Casaraghi and got advice from Mark Hughes and that is something that not every pro can claim."
Parkin added: "I still believe I have had a good career and I am delighted that it has taken me to St Mirren. I am as hungry and determined as I ever was to have a good season with the club.
"I feel like I have unfinished business with the SPL and a point to prove after the injury setback last season."
The six-foot, one inch striker has been brought in to give Saints the option of going with an all physical frontline by playing him in tandem with veteran Stevie Thompson.
And Parkin's arrival will allow some of the workload to be shared between the two.
With Saints off on a Spanish training camp tomorrow Parkin is just delighted to be still plying his trade full-time.
He said: "I went to Queen of the South last time to try and get as much game time as I could, prove my fitness and hopefully catch the eye.
"I made 17 appearances for Queens between January and May and scored six times so I feel like with the St Mirren opportunity coming out of it I was vindicated.
"Now I am looking at heading out to Spain for the training camp and feel like my appetite and hunger for the game is as strong as ever.
"I still have belief in my ability and with all the experience I have under the bonnet I am determined to make an impact for St Mirren over the coming season.
"Danny Lennon has kept me in full-time football and I am determined to repay him."