Mickey Thomas Profile

Mickey Thomas

Mi­chael Re­gin­ald Tho­mas, born Moch­dre, Wales, Ju­ly 7, 1954. The one and on­ly Mickey Tho­mas was on the books of a string of clubs dur­ing his roller coast­er soc­cer ca­reer, in­clud­ing Wrex­ham, Man­chester Uni­ted, and Brighton and Hove Al­bion. The tal­en­ted out­side left was also an in­ter­na­tion­al for Wales, clock­ing up 51 seni­or ap­pear­ances for his na­tive coun­try in a ten year span be­tween 1976 and 1986. 

At Race­course Gro­und, Mickey Tho­mas would play along­side such fine play­ers as Billy Ash­croft, Gar­eth Dav­ies, Mickey Evans, Ar­fon Grif­fiths, Joey Jones, Ed­die May, John Ro­berts, Mel Sut­ton and Gra­ham Whittle. Un­der the lead­er­ship of for­mer Hull City, Swin­don To­wn, As­ton Vil­la and South­end Uni­ted de­fender John Neal, Wrex­ham had gain­ed pro­mo­tion back to the Eng­lish Third Di­vi­sion along wi­th Chester­field, Swansea City and Port Vale in the 1969–70 cam­paign, and the am­bi­tious North Wales club was now ready to pro­gress fur­ther up the Lea­gue lad­der. Come Jan­uary 1972, and Tho­mas was duly giv­en his long awaited Third Di­vi­sion de­but in a 4–0 de­feat  to John Bond´s Bourne­mouth at Dean Court on New Year´s Day. Tho­mas the flank en­gine was the kind of per­former who al­ways seemed to rise to the oc­ca­sion and he would be­come an im­port­ant part of the en­ter­pris­ing Race­course Gro­und si­de for the next six years to come. To the un­ini­ti­ated, play­ing for Wrex­ham Foot­ball Club in Lea­gue Di­vi­sion Three in the 1970´s may not have be­en ex­actly the top of the wor­ld, but back in those days The Dragons were a te­am to be reckoned wi­th and they were feared bo­th at ho­me and abroad. Un­der John Neal, Wrex­ham were reg­u­lar pro­mo­tion con­tenders dur­ing most of the dec­ade and the club made it as far as the the FA Cup Quart­er Fi­nals dur­ing the 1973–74 cam­paign, los­ing by a 1–0 score to Jim­my Adamson´s Burn­ley at Turf Moor in the last eight. The Pride of North Wales also ma­naged to ad­vance to the the Euro­pean Cup Win­ners´ Cup Quart­er Fi­nals dur­ing the un­for­get­table 1975–76 sea­son, find­ing them­selves up ag­ainst Le Grand An­der­lecht of Brus­sels, who had well known play­ers like Gil­bert Van Binst, Hugo Broos, Ludo Coeck, Jean Dockx, Fran­cois Van der Elst, Ar­ie Haan, Rob Rensen­brink and Pe­ter Res­sel in their te­am. Fol­low­ing a closely con­tested 1–0 loss ag­ainst The Purple and White at Emile Vers­esta­di­on in the fir­st leg in Brus­sels, Wrex­ham drew 1–1 wi­th the Bel­gians in the sec­ond leg at Race­course Ground.

The Welsh­men had dis­posed of Djur­garden and Stal Rzeszow on their mar­ch to the quart­er fi­nals, whi­le Hans Croon´s play­ers had ma­naged to over­come Rap­id Bu­curesti and FK Bor­ac Banja Luka to reach the last eight. The Brus­sels te­am then went on to knock out BSG Sach­sen­ring Zwickau in the semi fi­nals be­fore they be­at Eng­lish Fir­st Di­vi­sion si­de West Ham Uni­ted by a score of 4–2 at Hey­sel Sta­dium in Brus­sels in the fi­nal. Af­ter clinch­ing the Third Di­vi­sion Cham­pi­on­ship wi­th Wrex­ham dur­ing the 1977–78 cam­paign, Mickey Tho­mas was pur­chased by ex­hausted and over­worked Man­chester Uni­ted Head Coach Dave Sex­ton for an es­tim­ated trans­fer fee of £300,000 and the wing for­ward was han­ded his fir­st Foot­bal Lea­gue ap­pear­ance for the club in a hard fou­ght 1–0 Fir­st Di­vi­sion vic­tory ag­ainst Chel­sea at Stam­ford Bridge on the 25th of Nov­ember 1978. Much was ex­pec­ted from a play­er like Tho­mas, but in the end he failed to live up to his abi­lities and he made his last out­ing for The Reds in a 1–0 Lea­gue Di­vi­sion One tri­umph ag­ainst Crys­tal Pal­ace at Old Traf­ford on the 4th of April 1981. Ar­gu­ably, the pin­nacle of his Man­chester Uni­ted ca­reer ar­rived when he gain­ed an FA Cup run­ners up medal af­ter a 3–2 de­feat ag­ainst Ar­senal at Wemb­ley Sta­dium on the 12th of May in 1979. A dir­ect and con­fid­ent flanker wi­th ac­cel­er­a­tion and fin­ish, Tho­mas clocked up over 100 fir­st te­am ap­per­ances for Uni­ted be­fore a deep and bit­ter con­flict wi­th the man­agement ev­entually for­ced him out of the club at the end of the 1980–81 sea­son. He then sig­ned for fel­low Fir­st Di­vi­sion te­am Ever­ton in a £450,000 deal, and made his Fir­st Di­vi­sion de­but for The Tof­fees in a 3-1 win over Birm­ing­ham City at Good­ison Park on the 29th of Au­gust 1981, but he on­ly ma­naged to fea­ture in ten Lea­gue ga­mes for the club un­til he was bro­ught to Brighton and Hove Al­bion mid­way thro­ugh the 1981-82 cam­paign. Whi­le at Gold­stone Gro­und, Tho­mas notched up twenty Fir­st Di­vi­sion ap­pear­ances for The Seagulls be­fore the foot­balling nomad was trans­ferred to Sto­ke City for an es­tim­ated fee of £200,000 at the be­gin­ning of the 1981-82 term, and he was han­ded his de­but for The Pot­ters in a 2-1 Fir­st Di­vi­sion tri­umph over Ar­senal at Vic­tor­ia Gro­und on the 28th of Au­gust 1982.

Af­ter net­ting 14 goals in 57 Lea­gue Di­vi­sion One ap­per­ances for the Stafford­shire club, Micky Tho­mas was sold to am­bi­tious Lea­gue Di­vi­sion Two si­de Chel­sea for a trans­fer fee some­where in the re­gion of £75,000 in the middle of the 1983-84 sea­son. He was giv­en his fir­st te­am de­but for The Blues by his for­mer Wrex­ham man­ager John Neal in a fine 2-1 Sec­ond Di­vi­sion vic­tory over Der­by Coun­ty at Base­ball Gro­und on the 14th of Jan­uary 1984, and pro­ceeded to play 43 Lea­gue mat­ches for the West Lon­doners, con­trib­ut­ing nine goals dur­ing the pro­cess. From there he mo­ved on to West Brom­wich Al­bion, who paid an es­tim­ated trans­fer fee of £100,000 for him partly in­to the 1985-86 sea­son. Whi­le wi­th The Bag­gies, Tho­mas ac­cu­mu­lated 20 Lea­gue ap­pear­ances for the Black Coun­try club, and he also had a short loan pe­riod wi­th Der­by Coun­ty where he ap­peared in nine Lea­gue mat­ches. In 1986, the have-boots-will-travel jour­ney­man tried out his luck at Wichita Wings in the Uni­ted States, be­fore he re­turned to Eng­land two years la­ter to play for Third Di­vi­sion Shrews­bury To­wn. Whi­le in Shrop­shire, he made 40 Foot­ball Lea­gue ap­pear­ances for the Gay Mea­dow te­am un­der Scot­tish man­ager Ian McNeill. Yet his wan­der­ing days were not over. He answered the call of Leeds Uni­ted at the be­gin­ning of the 1989-90 sea­son, but he on­ly ma­naged to make three Sec­ond Di­vi­sion ap­per­ances for The Pea­cocks be­fore he teamed up wi­th his for­mer club Sto­ke City dur­ing the sum­mer of 1990. At the be­gin­ning of the 1991–92 cam­paign, how­ever, the mav­er­ick foot­baller re­turned to the land of song and to Wrex­ham; and one of his greatest mo­ments in the red shirt came in the 2–1 come­back win over reign­ing Fir­st Di­vi­sion Cham­pi­ons Ar­senal in front of a crowd of 15,000 people at Race­course Gro­und in the FA Cup Third Ro­und on the 4th of Jan­uary 1992. Eng­land stri­ker Alan Smith han­ded The Gun­ners the lead on­ly a couple of min­utes be­fore the ha­lf-time break, but the ho­me play­ers turned the FA Cup mat­ch ar­ound cour­tesy of late sec­ond ha­lf goals from Mickey Tho­mas and Ste­ve Watkin in the 82nd and 84th min­ute of the tussle respectively.

Back at Wrex­ham, Mickey Tho­mas would en­joy some­thing of a renais­sance at his old club and he was part of the tal­en­ted te­am which gain­ed pro­mo­tion to the Sec­ond Di­vi­sion in 1992–93. Dur­ing his last sea­son, he made ten fir­st te­am out­ings for Wrex­ham and his fi­nal mat­ch for the club in his heart ar­rived in a 2–0 Third Di­vi­sion de­feat ag­ainst Scun­thorpe Uni­ted at Race­course Gro­und on the 3rd of Nov­ember 1992. A Welsh in­ter­na­tion­al, he re­ceived his seni­or de­but for his home­land in a 2–0 friendly mat­ch de­feat ag­ainst Hel­mut Schon´s West Ger­many at Nini­an Park in Car­diff on the 6th of Oct­ober 1976. The high­light of his in­ter­na­tion­al ca­reer oc­cured, how­ever, when Wales over­came old arch en­emies Eng­land to the over­whelm­ing tune of 4–1 at Race­course Gro­und in Wrex­ham in the Brit­ish Ho­me Cham­pi­on­ship on the 17th of May 1980. The Welsh start­ing el­ev­en on that day in­cluded the likes of Bri­an Flynn, Pe­ter Nich­olas, Leigh­ton Ja­mes, Ian Wal­sh and Terry Yorath, whi­le the Eng­land te­am con­tained house­hold names such as Pe­ter Bar­nes, Ste­ve Cop­pell, Paul Mar­iner, Glenn Hoddle and Phil Thomp­son. In front of a crowd of more than 25,000 en­thu­si­ast­ic spec­tat­ors, Ips­wich To­wn marks­man Paul Mar­iner han­ded The Three Li­ons an early 1–0 lead in the Ho­me Cham­pi­on­ship mat­ch, on­ly for Mickey Tho­mas to equal­ise for Wales af­ter twenty min­utes of fierce ac­tion. Ten min­utes la­ter in the ac­tion packed en­counter, fron­trun­ner Ian Wal­sh put Mi­ke England´s men ahead be­fore flank for­ward Leigh­ton Ja­mes made it 3–1 to the ramp­ant ho­me si­de on sixty-one min­utes. Then in the sixty-sev­enth min­ute of the battle, un­for­tu­nate Liver­pool stop­per Phil Thomp­son hit an own goal to make the sco­reline 4–1 in fa­vour of the hosts. The Welsh Dragons de­fen­ded well for the rest of the tie and held out un­til the fi­nal whistle was blown to achieve one of the greatest vic­tor­ies in the his­tory of The Foot­ball As­so­ci­ation of Wales.

Un­for­tu­nately, Mickey Tho­mas nev­er ap­peared for the coun­try of his bir­th in a ma­jor in­ter­na­tion­al tour­na­ment. Mi­ke England´s Wales si­de came clo­se to qual­i­fic­a­tion in the 1982 FIFA Wor­ld Cup Qual­i­fi­ers, but a heavy 3–0 de­feat ag­ainst The Uni­on of So­viet So­cial­ist Re­pub­lics in front of a stag­ger­ing at­tend­ance of over 80,000 ho­me sup­port­ers at the im­press­ive Bor­is Paichadze Na­tion­al Sta­dium in the Geor­gi­an city of Tb­il­isi in their very last fix­ture meant that they missed out on goal dif­fer­ence. The Welsh Na­tion­al Te­am were also clo­se to qual­i­fy­ing for the 1986 FIFA Wor­ld Cup, but they were pipped at the post by long­time rivals Scot­land. Fol­low­ing a Wales ca­reer span­ning a dec­ade, Tho­mas fi­nally de­cided to re­tire from the in­ter­na­tion­al foot­ball sta­ge at the age of thirty-one, and the vet­er­an play­er made his swan song ap­pear­ance for his na­tive coun­try when he came off the the substitutes´s bench as a sec­ond ha­lf re­place­ment for Man­chester Uni­ted mid­field play­er Clay­ton Black­more in a 2–1 friendly fix­ture tri­umph ag­ainst Saudi Ar­a­bia at the Dhahran Sta­dium on the 25th of Feb­ruary 1986. Tho­mas was no doubt an ex­cit­ing per­former wi­th great drib­bling skills, and al­though his pro­fes­sion­al soc­cer ca­reer prob­ably went thro­ugh more highs and lows than a man­ic de­press­ive on co­caine, the fe­ro­ciously fast flank­man still went on to col­lect a highly re­spect­able total of 51 seni­or caps for his be­loved Wales. A nat­ur­al born en­ter­tain­er, Mickey Tho­mas was al­ways in a prop­er good Hwyl and he would al­ways give his very best try wherever he played, even tho­ugh his am­bi­tions were all too of­ten thwarted by per­son­al prob­lems off the foot­ball field. Mickey Tho­mas Play­ing Ca­reer: Wrex­ham, Man­chester Uni­ted, Ever­ton, Brighton and Hove Al­bion, Sto­ke City, Chel­sea, West Brom­wich Al­bion, Der­by Coun­ty, Wichita Wings, Shrews­bury To­wn, Leeds Uni­ted, Sto­ke City, Wrex­ham, Porth­madog. Man­aging Ca­reer: Porthmadog.


Manchester United Appearances

Chel­sea 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Der­by Coun­ty 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 0
Bol­ton Wan­derers 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Liver­pool 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 West Brom­wich Al­bion 5
Ful­ham 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Ar­senal 2
Man­chester City 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Ful­ham 0
Col­chester Uni­ted 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 As­ton Vil­la 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Queens Park Ran­gers 0
Bris­tol City 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 0
Cov­entry City 4 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Leeds Uni­ted 1
Middles­brough 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Liver­pool 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Liver­pool 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Nor­wich City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Bol­ton Wan­derers 2
Liver­pool 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Cov­entry City 0
Not­ting­ham For­est 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Nor­wich City 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Der­by Coun­ty 0
West Brom­wich Al­bion 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 2
Ar­senal 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Chel­sea 1
South­ampton 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 West Brom­wich Al­bion 0
Ar­senal 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Middles­brough 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1
As­ton Vil­la 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Nor­wich City 4 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Sto­ke City 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Brighton and Hove Al­bion 0
West Brom­wich Al­bion 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Bris­tol City 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Ips­wich To­wn 0
Ever­ton 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 South­ampton 0
Man­chester City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Crys­tal Pal­ace 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 5 Nor­wich City 0
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Leeds Uni­ted 1
Cov­entry City 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Not­ting­ham For­est 0
Liver­pool 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Ar­senal 0
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1
Middles­brough 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Der­by Coun­ty 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Man­chester City 0
Crys­tal Pal­ace 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Not­ting­ham For­est 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Liver­pool 1
Bol­ton Wan­derers 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1
Nor­wich City 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 As­ton Vil­la 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Cov­entry City 1
Leeds Uni­ted 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Middles­brough 0
Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Birm­ing­ham City 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Cov­entry City 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Sun­der­land 1
Cov­entry City 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 5 Lei­cester City 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Widzew Lódz 1
Leeds Uni­ted 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Man­chester City 2
Widzew Lódz 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Not­ting­ham For­est 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 As­ton Vil­la 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Ar­senal 0
Ips­wich To­wn 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Sto­ke City 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Ever­ton 0
Crys­tal Pal­ace 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Cov­entry City 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 0
Middles­brough 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Brighton and Hove Al­bion 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 4
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Sto­ke City 2
Ar­senal 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Liver­pool 0
West Brom­wich Al­bion 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Brighton and Hove Al­bion 2
Brighton and Hove Al­bion 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Brighton and Hove Al­bion 1
Not­ting­ham For­est 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Sun­der­land 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Birm­ing­ham City 0
Lei­cester City 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Ips­wich To­wn 1
Ever­ton 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Crys­tal Pal­ace 0

Total Ap­pear­ances: 110

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