- Mickey Thomas (footballer)
Mickey Thomas Personal information Full name Michael Reginald Thomas Date of birth 7 July 1954 Place of birth Mochdre, Wales Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) Playing position Winger Senior career* Years Team Apps† (Gls)† 1972–1978 Wrexham 230 (33) 1978–1981 Manchester United 90 (11) 1981 Everton 10 (0) 1981–1982 Brighton & Hove Albion 20 (0) 1982–1984 Stoke City 57 (14) 1984–1985 Chelsea 44 (9) 1985–1986 West Bromwich Albion 20 (0) 1986 → Derby County (loan) 9 (0) 1986–1988 Wichita Wings ? (?) 1988–1989 Shrewsbury Town 40 (1) 1989–1990 Leeds United 3 (0) 1990–1991 Stoke City 46 (7) 1991–1993 Wrexham 34 (2) National team 1976–1986 Wales 51 (4) * Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Local factory Quinton Hazell bought him a pair of boots when he was at school in the mid 1960s, 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 (a year younger than him) were taken on by Wrexham.
Though the first two years were spent cleaning boots, the changing rooms and the whole stadium, Thomas made his first-team debut in the 1971–72 season, when still only 17. 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 winners, Anderlecht of Belgium.
After helping Wrexham storm to the Third Division title, Thomas crossed the border to England and joined Manchester United. He played 110 games and scored 15 goals for the Red Devils, collecting an FA Cup runners-up medal in 1979.
He then moved to Everton (the team he supported as a boy), Brighton and Stoke City. He lasted just three months at Everton, his contract terminated by manager Howard Kendall in the autumn of 1981 after he refused to play in the reserves. 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. In 1986 Thomas moved to the United States where he lent his skills to the Wichita Wings of Wichita Kansas. The team was part of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). League games were all played in indoor arenas. Indoor soccer was at its height at the time in the states where the traditional outdoor version of football had never caught on. Known as "Tricky" Mickey, Thomas played for the Wings for two seasons before moving back to Wales where he played 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 became involved in a counterfeit currency scam, where by he laundered the money through Wrexham's trainees. North Wales Police arrested him in 1993, and after a trial he was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
Thomas never played at senior level after his imprisonment, although he did continue playing for a while at non-league level with Porthmadog and Amlwch Town in Wales, until he finally retired from playing in 1995 at the age of 41.
Thomas currently provides analysis on all Manchester United matches on "Total Football" on Key 103 and Piccadilly Magic 1152. He also works as an after-dinner speaker, where his favourite joke remains: "Roy Keane's on 50 grand a week. So was I till the police found my printing machine."
- ^ a b "Football's Bad Boys:Mickey Thomas". Virgin Media. http://www.virginmedia.com/sport/football/galleries/football-bad-boys.php?ssid=9. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
- ^ Duncan Mackay (3 February 2002). "Sportsmen who went to jail". The Observer. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/osm/story/0,,642508,00.html. Retrieved 2006-08-21.
1977–78 Football League Third Division PFA Team of the Year Stoke City F.C. – Player of the Year
1978: Kendall • 1979: Doyle • 1980: Dodd • 1981: Fox • 1982: Fox • 1983: Thomas • 1984: Bould • 1985: McIlroy • 1986: Bertschin • 1987: Dixon • 1988: Parkin • 1989: Kamara • 1990: Fox • 1991: Thomas • 1992: Biggins • 1993: Stein • 1994: Cranson • 1995: Sigurðsson • 1996: Wallace • 1997: Griffin • 1998: Whittle • 1999: Keen • 2000: O'Connor • 2001: Gunnarsson • 2002: Thomas • 2003: Shtanuk • 2004: Akinbiyi • 2005: Hill • 2006: Hoefkens • 2007: Higginbotham • 2008: Lawrence • 2009: Faye • 2010: Etherington • 2011: Huth
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