Thursday, February 1, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 83: Michael Thomas

At number 83 in our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown is a player who once broke Liverpudlian hearts but later won them over - Michael Thomas.
Four years after our ground-breaking '100 Days That Shook The Kop', we are delighted to invite you to enjoy our new '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series – the definitive countdown of the 100 players who have made the biggest impact at Liverpool.

Over 110,000 supporters have all nominated their own personal Top 10 players in order of impact made and now the definitive top 100 countdown is underway.

Every player who has made the top 100 – and there are some surprises in there - will be honoured on this website via the e-Season ticket console with a specially produced video clip, including archive footage and exclusive interviews.

Since 1892 hundreds of players have represented this club but everyone has their own particular favourites so don't expect this list to be based solely on talent. The greatness of a player can be measured in many ways – obviously, his ability on the pitch is the most important, but 100 PWSTK is much more than that. It's about the impact the individuals chosen have had on this club, be it for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was because of their unique rapport with the crowd, a specific incident that has never been forgotten or anything else that has left a lasting impression.

Name: Michael Thomas

Years at Liverpool: 1991 to 1998

Date-of-birth: 24/8/1967
Birthplace: Lambeth

Signed from: Arsenal (December 1991)

Games: 161
Goals: 12

Honours won: FA Cup (1992)

Michael Thomas initially shook the Kop for all the wrong reasons but was later forgiven by the Anfield faithful when he netted one of the best-ever FA Cup Final goals. It was in May 1989 that his last-gasp goal for Arsenal cruelly snatched the title from Liverpool's grasp. No Reds fan present that evening will ever forget the gut-wrenching moment his close-range effort hit the back of the Anfield Road net and at that time you'd have no doubt got odds of over a million-to-one on him one day donning a shirt embossed with the famous Liver Bird crest. But just over two-and-a-half years later Thomas was doing exactly that after manager Graeme Souness splashed out £2 million to sign him. It was with some scepticism that Kopites first greeted the man who'd broken their hearts in such dramatic fashion but the London-born midfielder soon won them over. Bought as a replacement for Steve McMahon, Thomas enjoyed an impressive Reds debut when coming off the bench in a 2-1 away win at Tottenham. Fast and powerful, his surging runs from the centre of the park played a key role in Liverpool's surge to the 1992 FA Cup Final. He netted the crucial winner that saw off Aston Villa in the last eight but it was his performance in the final at Wembley for which he's most fondly remembered. His stunning volley fired Liverpool into the lead against Sunderland and he later set-up the clinching goal in a 2-0 victory. A bright future on Merseyside seemingly beckoned for the now popular Cockney but he then frustratingly succumbed to a series of injuries, the most notable being a ruptured Achilles tendon, which curtailed his progress. As a result, his Liverpool career never took off in the way it should and he eventually left Anfield in 1998 to team up with Souness once again at Benfica. Injuries may have prevented him from becoming an all-time Liverpool great but at least he left in the knowledge that he'd earned redemption from the Kop.

Sold to: Benfica (August 1998)

Claim to fame: Scoring the spectacular opening goal of the 1992 FA Cup Final

Did you know? He's a main-stand season ticket holder at Anfield and travelled to Istanbul as a fan

Where is he now? Running a VIP security firm, based on the Wirral

John Keith on Michael Thomas: "He was a very gifted player Michael Thomas but sadly the victim of injuries, too many injuries really stopped him making a very deep impact at Liverpool, but he has his own two niches in history and he will always be remembered for those."

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