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Mickey Thomas.

Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:33 pm

Seems as today is Mickeys birthday I thought it was about time he had a thread.

Manchester United FC

Wednesday, 7th July 1954
Mochdre, Colwyn Bay, North Wales
Saturday, 25th November 1978 in a 1-0 win a Chelsea (Aged: 24)
90 League apps, 11 goals

Mickey Thomas achieved a personal dream when Manchester United stepped in with a fee of £300, 000 for his transfer from Wrexham in November 1978, where he had helped the club to win the Division Three title in the 1977/78 season. He regarded United as "the greatest club in the world" and the fans were soon delighted with the way that he settled into a left-sided attacking role. The little Welshman from Mochdre, Colwyn Bay made his debut for Wrexham at 17 and played in around 300 senior games, as well as representing his country as Mike Smith sought to build a successful international side. Thomas made his United league debut at Stamford Bridge on 25th November 1978 and he slotted in well to give the team a more balanced look, something they had been missing since the departure of Gordon Hill to Derby. It was the Welshmen who laid on the winner when he pulled the ball back from the dead-ball line for Jimmy Greenhoff to nod home. Making his first home appearance in a 2-0 win over Spurs, Thomas looked good value for money with his mixture of orthodox wing play and midfield artistry. Mickey was undoubtedly one of the stars of United's two incredibly exciting FA Cup semi-finals with arch-rivals Liverpool that season. The first game at Maine Road ended all square at 2-2 and in the replay at Goodison Park the game was, once more, evenly fought. However, as pressure built up in the United goalmouth, Liverpool were exposed to the quick decisive break. Joe Jordan touched on a high clearance to Thomas on the left wing and the little Welshman, who had matched his fine performance in the first meeting with another superb display, drew the Liverpool cover towards him and curled a cross into the path of Jimmy Greenhoff, who was surprisingly free of attention. Greenhoff allowed the ball to bounce before nodding past a hapless Clemence. That was enough to settle the match but United were to suffer heartbreak in the final itself, going down 3-2 to Arsenal in a match that had a quite incredible late twist. With 85 minutes on the clock, Arsenal were 2-0 up and seemingly cruising to victory, only for United to draw level with late goals from Gordon McQueen and Sammy McIlroy. The celebrations for the United faithful sadly lasted all of a minute as the Gunners went up the other end to snatch a last minute winner through Alan Sunderland. What had been an unremarkable game for 85 minutes had seen one of the most unbelievable finishes in FA Cup Final history, but there was to be no fairytale ending for Mickey in his first season with the Red Devils.
Not since 1968 had Manchester United finished in the top two, but Mickey Thomas helped return the Red Devils back to their rightful place in the elite of English football in the 1979/80 season. He chipped in with the more than handy return of 8 goals from 35 league appearances, United winning 6 and drawing 2 of the league games in which Mickey found the net. In a crucial clash with title rivals Liverpool, the Old Trafford crowd were electric. Dalglish put the visitors ahead, but Thomas levelled when he met a Steve Coppell cross at the foot of the post. Jimmy Greenhoff won the game with a shot high into the roof of the Stretford end net. The Old Trafford faithful loved it and even though the title was to eventually stay at Anfield this great victory would be some compensation. Other highs that season for Mickey came in the 100th Manchester derby, United winning through a single Thomas goal, whilst his penalty was enough to see the Red Devils through to their first league triumph at Villa Park since 1963. Things looked rosy for club and player at the start of the following season, with Mickey scoring the third goal as United enjoyed a 3-0 opening day victory over Middlesbrough. That result, however, would prove to be one of the few highlights of the season, with United winning just 7 of their next 34 league games, to find themselves languishing in the lower half of the table. A terrific winning run of 7 straight games at the end of the campaign lifted United up to 8th place but Mickey was to feature in only 3 of those games. His last outing of the season - a 1-0 win at home to Crystal Palace on the 4th April - would also prove to be his last appearance in United colours. He moved on to Everton, the club he had supported as a boy, in August 1981 for a fee of £450, 000, having scored a total of 15 goals in 110 appearances during his time at Old Trafford. He gained 51 caps for Wales during his career and scored in a 4-1 defeat of England in 1980, which he names as one of the most memorable moments of his career.


Mickey Thomas was among a group of notable footballers to come out of North West Wales during the 1980s.

Local factory Quinton Hazell bought him a pair of boots, and at the age of 13 Thomas was a success as left wing on the factory's Conwy League men's team. By 15, he and friend Joey Jones were taken on by Wrexham A.F.C. Though the first two years were spent cleaning boots, the changing rooms and the whole stadium, by 17 Thomas was chosen to play in the first XI. Under manager John Neal he helped Wrexham establish their giant-killing reputation by reaching the quarter finals of the FA Cup in 1974 and the quarter finals of the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1976, when they lost to the eventual champions, Anderlecht.

After helping Wrexham storm to the Third Division Championship, Thomas crossed the border to England and joined Manchester United. He played 110 games and scored 15 goals for the Red Devils before moving on to Everton (who he supported as a boy), Brighton and Stoke City. He joined promotion-chasing Chelsea in January 1984, signed by the manager who had given him his debut at Wrexham, John Neal. Thomas made an immediate impact, scoring twice on his debut and helping the club become Second Division champions in 1983-84. He was sold to West Bromwich Albion in 1985 for £100,000, before playing for various other teams in the English League, finally returning to Wrexham in 1991, where in the memorable FA cup defeat of Arsenal in January 1992, 37-year-old Thomas scored the equalising goal from a free kick.

Thomas gained 51 caps for Wales, and counts scoring a goal for Wales in their win over England - one of the most memorable moments of his career.

In 1993 Thomas was jailed for 18 months for his part in a counterfeit currency scam. [1]

Thomas never played at senior level after his imprisonment, although he did continue playing for a while at non-league level with Porthmadog F.C. and Amlwch Town F.C. in Wales.

Thomas currently hosts the "Legends" football phone-in on Century FM and is the co-commentator on Xfm Manchester on his beloved Manchester United. On 17 December 2007, Century announced that Mickey would be leaving the legends to concentrate on United. His replacement will be former Manchester United goalkeeper Alex Stepney.

And about that counterfeit scam and 'that' goal...

Jail, forgery, assault – and that goal against Arsenal
He was trouble, but Mickey Thomas is still best remembered for his FA Cup heroics.

“Wayne Rooney’s on a hundred grand a week. Mind you, so was I until the police found my printing machine.”

Try telling Mickey Thomas that the FA Cup has lost its magic. Wherever the 53-year-old former Wales winger goes, people want to talk about that goal. Thomas was no ordinary football player. He was locked up in prison for nine months for selling fake ten and twenty pound notes; he was savagely beaten by his former brother-in-law after he was caught playing away with his ex-wife’s sister; he scored for Wales when they beat England 4-1 in 1980, and he played for 11 clubs, including Manchester United and Chelsea. But all anyone wants to talk about is that goal.

“I just went for power,” Thomas said. “I couldn’t have hit it any better.”

Nobody gave Wrexham a chance when they played Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup at the Racecourse Ground 16 years ago. The aristocrats from North London were the champions and second in the old first division when they travelled to North Wales to take on a team who were propping up the Football League in 92nd place. By then, Thomas was in the twilight years of an extraordinary career that began at Wrexham and ended at Inter – Inter Cardiff.

Twenty years and 11 clubs after starting as an apprentice at Wrexham, he got one last chance to make a name for himself on the big stage in January 1992. Arsenal were leading 1-0 with 20 minutes to go when Wrexham won a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. Thomas placed the ball down, took four steps back and smashed it past David Seaman into the top left-hand corner of the net. Steve Watkin sent Wrexham fans wild soon after by sliding the ball past Seaman and knocking the champions out of the Cup.

“It was unbelievable,” Thomas, who works for XFM radio station in Manchester, said. “That result sent shock waves through football. I’d played for Man United in the Cup Final when we lost 3-2 to Arsenal in ’79, so it was nice to put one over them – even if I did have to wait 13 years.”

It took Thomas 15 minutes to make it back to the Wrexham dressing-room after the final whistle. Reunited with his teammates, Thomas took off his socks, sipped champagne and posed for the cameras before getting dressed and hitting the town. Little did he know that seven months later he would be playing for a prison team.

In the days before £100,000-a-week pay packets, footballers used to be locked up for all sorts of reasons, ranging from running a brothel to importing pornography – and that was just Peter Storey – but surely only a rogue as loveable as Thomas could get caught up in a counterfeit currency scam.

According to Thomas, he was guilty only by association – “Anyone got change for a tenner?” he still jokes – but Judge Gareth Edwards failed to see the funny side of a seasoned professional making a few quid on the side by flogging dodgy tenners to YTS trainees. “You should have been setting apprentices an example,” Edwards said before sentencing Thomas to 18 months. “Instead, because it fitted in with your self-image of a flash and daring adventurer, you betrayed the trust of your employers and you failed in your duty as a distinguished sportsman.”

Thomas shrugged his shoulders and did his time. He was going to beat the system, even if the system locked him up in a tiny cell with a double murderer who had decapitated his victims. “I slept with one eye open,” Thomas said, “but I got on with everyone inside because you had to. Playing football with a team of ‘lifers’ was an experience – every time the ball went over the fence they all wanted to go and get it back.”

Eight days before Thomas was sentenced, he had been in court to see two men sent down for two years for attacking him as he enjoyed a nocturnal tryst in his car with a brunette who happened to be the sister of his former wife. “I’m a free spirit,” Thomas said. “My philosophy is to forget about tomorrow and concentrate on enjoying today.”

Despite the turmoil in his life, Thomas played in the fourth round of the Cup away to West Ham United in February 1992. Wrexham drew 2-2 and Thomas was grinning from ear to ear as he trudged off the pitch at Upton Park. The West Ham supporters were waving £20 notes at him. “We all make mistakes,” Thomas said. “Mine was making my £20 notes an inch too big.”

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Re: Mickey Thomas.

Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:17 am

Steve Watkin, now that's a blast from the past :shock:

Thanks for that Mikey M ;)

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Re: Mickey Thomas.

Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:54 am

Someone I used to work for use to rave about Mickey Thomas-and he wasn't even a United supporter! So for those who saw him play, how good was he if he left that sort of attitude with an opposing supporter?

1966 was a great year for English football. Eric was born!

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