Sam started his career at Chelsea as a trainee. He joined Millwall on loan during the 2000–01 season. He scored four goals in seven appearances for the Lions. He then joined Wycombe on loan later in the 2000–01 season. At Wycombe, Sam scored perhaps the most important goal in their history, when he headed in the winner against Wolverhampton during Wycombe's run to the semi finals of the FA Cup.
He also played on loan for Oldham Athletic during the 2000–01 season. He scored three goals in seven appearances for the Latics. Sam then joined Northampton Town on loan during the 2001–02 season. He scored five goals in 46 appearances for The Cobblers. In 2002, he signed for Swindon Town, then in the Second Division. In his three seasons at the County Ground he quickly became one of the most feared goalscorers in the division after scoring a hat trick on his debut at home to Barnsley in a 3-1 victory he went on to score 67 goals in 124 league games for The Robins. He was affectionately nicknamed 'Super Sammy Parkin' by Swindon fans during his time at the club.
In the summer of 2005, he was signed by Ipswich Town on a four-year deal for £550,000. He made his Ipswich debut against Cardiff City and scored in his second game against QPR. He suffered a serious injury and it restricted the number of games he played.
On the 25 August 2006, Sam was transferred to Luton Town for a fee of £340,000. He played ten games up to 17 October before serious injury struck a second time ruling out for the rest of the season. Luton were relegated to League One. In his comeback Sam was badly injured in his second game in August in the 2007–08 season but scored on his return to the team in late January.
He returned fully recovered in the 2008–09 season, scoring three goals in the first four league games. On 23 October 2008, he joined League One side Leyton Orient on a three-month loan deal under O's manager Martin Ling. Sam played in 18 further Luton games during the season, He was released by Luton after coming to the end of his contract.
On 16 July 2009, He signed a one-year contract with Walsall in League One. He scored three goals in 27 appearances for The Saddlers.
On 15 July 2010 Sam signed for Scottish Premier League side St Johnstone. He scored five goals for St Johnstone before suffered a broken ankle in February 2011 He only made two substitute appearances for Saints in the 2011–12 season.
On 24 January 2012 Sam signed for Queen of the South until the end of the 2011–12 season, He scored two goals on his debut in a 2–1 victory over Greenock Morton.
Sam then signed a one-year deal with St Mirren on 7 June 2012, scoring his first goal for the club against Dundee on 13 August 2012.
On 9 July 2013, He completed a move to Exeter City on a free transfer. Parkin scored on his debut in a 2–1 win against Bristol Rovers on 3 August 2013.
He was released by the club on 8 May 2014 after scoring three goals in 29 appearances at St James Park.
Since hanging up his boots, Sam has works in media, most notably with BBC Wiltshire and Chelsea TV.
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