There wasn't much to smile about during the time George Parris spent at Albion.

The Seagulls were beset by financial worries as they plummeted towards the league trapdoor.

But when asked to describe his most memorable moment during his stay at the Goldstone, the former Albion skipper did not hesitate.

In common with most who watched the endeavours of the hard-working midfielder/defender, it was what he achieved in a flash of striking roguishness that sticks in his mind.

That moment came against Bristol Rovers on October 28, 1995, when Parris showed more front than Selfridges by scoring an impudent goal. Parris smiled at the memory.

He said: "It was a cheeky goal. I was behind the goalkeeper. I was leaning on the post. I suppose I was having a rest.

"The goalkeeper must have forgotten I was there and released the ball and I came in from behind him to tap it in. He had no chance!"

Parris used his experience to help the younger players introduced by first Liam Brady and then Jimmy Case during a traumatic time for the Seagulls in the mid-Nineties.

He came to the club after establishing his reputation as a tough-tackling midfielder with West Ham for whom he was a regular for seven seasons.

A former trainee with the Hammers, he helped them win promotion to the old First Division in 1992 but less than a year later he was transferred to Birmingham City for £150,000 by formerLeeds and England fullback Terry Cooper.

Injuries blighted his time at St Andrew's and in 1994-95 Blues boss Barry Fry sent him on loan with Brentford and Bristol City before Brady took him to Albion in February until the end of the season when he made 18 appearances.

That summer Birmingham released him and after a trial with Stoke and a short spell in Sweden with Norrkoping he returned to Albion in September to join Brady who had been a former team-mate at West Ham.

Parris took over the captaincy from Paul McCarthy.

He relished the role.

"Liam and Jimmy felt I had leadership qualities. I am quiet off the field but on it it's a different story. I was very vocal as a player.

"I considered myself a player who gave 100 per cent every time I put an Albion shirt on. I think that helped me with the fans who always liked to see their players work hard.

"I did my best to help the younger players who certainly needed it. It was a tough time for everybody. It reminded me of the time I was at West Ham when they tried to introduce a bond scheme involving the fans.

"No-one seemed to like it and there were lots of protests. So when I got to Albion it was a similar situation as far as the unrest was concerned."

Parris was allowed to leave the game after a short spell at Southend, following his release by the Seagulls, which came to nothing.

He dropped into non-League, first as assistant manager at St Leonards and then as player-manager of County League club Shoreham.

Parris is looking to return to the game after recently obtaining his UEFA B coaching badge.

"That enables me to coach up to academy level and that could mean involvement with premier clubs," he added.

In the meantime Parris is busying himself with his coaching school and skills as an activity organiser.

He takes sessions during the week at St Margaret's and other primary schools. For three nights a week he also assists at Ovingdean Hall for children with hearing difficulties.

"I was a little surprised no-one came for me within the game after Southend, so I had to think of doing something else.

"It was important that I picked the right job. I'd enjoyed my football and I wanted to enjoy the next phase.

"I love working with the kids. It is very rewarding. The biggest thing for me is when I teach them some small thing and in a few weeks they show that they have learned how to do it."

Parris divides his weekend between Withdean and Upton Park.

The versatile midfielder keeps a note of statistics which he supplies to the Press Association, a job undertaken by many former professional footballers through the PFA.

He said: "I enjoy it because it keeps me involved. I've been impressed with Albion this season. They've got a strong back four and someone in Bobby Zamora who can score them plenty of goals. It's a good combination."

Parris keeps in touch with former club mates.

"I see guys like John Byrne, Kerry Mayo and Dean Wilkins either at matches or just about the place. Albion was always a friendly club and I have a lot of fond memories there."

Parris, born in Essex, has put down roots in Sussex since Albion gave him a free transfer.

"We have a family house in Rottingdean which we bought when I came to join the club and my children are happily settled in local schools. It's a nice area to live in."

He enjoys watching his eight-year-old son Elliott play for St Margaret's Club in the local Sunday Youth League.

"I think Elliott likes his football but I don't give him any coaching."

He is married to Sharon and also has a six-year-old daughter Harriett. Parris is a contented individual but his ambition to get back into the professional game, clearly burns bright.

At West Ham he was a folk hero. While not attaining cult status at Brighton, he certainly was a character that all supporters remember, particularly the day he left the Bristol Rovers goalkeeper red-faced.