GMF tribute to a Reds legend: Phil Thompson

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Do you dream of emulating the young lad who stands on the Kop and dreams of following in the footsteps of his on field heroes?

After his 17th birthday in 1971, a young Liverpudlian signs for his beloved Liverpool. Things can’t seem to get any better but this is just the start.

A year later the new boy makes his debut in a low key game – against bitter rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford.

With the Reds cruising at 2-0 Bill Shankly brings on the newcomer for John Toshack to help tighten the backline and consolidate the lead. As things turn out Emlyn Hughes gallops up to score a third.

Phil Thompson did all and more, amassing 7 League titles, an F.A Cup, three League Cups, six Charity Shields, two UEFA Cups and three European Cup medals during the Red 70s and 80s.

Thommo carved his own niche at Liverpool by first displacing Larry Lloyd, and then shunting Tommy smith to full back.

With the League and UEFA Cup in the bag in 1973, Thommo played the game of his life to stifle Malcolm MacDonald during the victorious 1974 F.A Cup Final.

Thommo unluckily missed out on a European Cup winner’s medal in 1977 through injury, but returned for the win against FC Bruges.

By 1979 he was partnering a new stopper named Alan Hansen and had replaced Crazy Horse as club captain.


His greatest moment in a Red shirt followed as the young boy who stood on the Kop lifted the European Cup after Liverpool dispatched Real Madrid in Paris in 1981.

By 1982 Thommo had been replaced as skipper by Graeme Souness. After losing his central defensive berth to a young Mark Lawrenson he was sold to Sheffield United in 1985, retiring aged 31, before returning as one of Kenny Dalglish’s coaches.

In 1998 he became Gerard Houllier’s Assistant and the diehard Red enjoyed a brief dalliance with the Liverpool hotseat when Houllier was ill.

Thommo, who pulled on the England shirt 42 times, is a regular Visiting Fellow at Liverpool University.

He has always been a larger than life character, be it as a loud and energetic pundit or during his playing days where his oversized nose led him to be fondly labelled Pinochio. Thommo even titled his autobiography “Stand Up Pinochio.”

Bob Paisley once said: "I regard Phil as one of the best possible examples of a true professional.

"His greatest asset as a player is his ability to read the game, he showed that gift even as a teenager.

"He is not the biggest man physically for his role in defence but his football brain is outstanding."

At Liverpool he joins Steven Gerrard, Souness and Hughes in an exclusive band of captains who have bought the European Cup back to Anfield – and who will always remain unforgettable at Anfield.

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