1 (Level 1): 1973, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983
UEFA Cup: 1973, 1976
FA Cup: 1974
Charity Shield: 1974, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982
European Super Cup: 1977
European Cup: 1978, 1981
Football League Cup: 1981, 1982
England caps: 42
England U-23: 1
England B: 1
Other clubs: Sheffield United (1984-86)
Philip 'Phil' Bernard Thompson (born
Liverpool, 21 January 1954) was a cultured defender in the dominant
Liverpool team of the 1970s and 1980s. During this time, he also
represented the England national football team on 37 occasions. After
retiring as a player, he later served Liverpool as a coach.
Thompson was a Liverpool supporter who stood on The Kop as a boy. His
dreams came true when he signed as a professional for the club on 22
January 1971, the day after his 17th birthday, and made his first team
debut the following year against rivals Manchester United at Old
Trafford. With the Reds 2-0 up in the 81st minute Shankly took off
striker John Toshack replacing him with the 18 year-old defender.
The move was intended to tighten up the defence and keep a clean-sheet,
but 3 minutes later Emlyn Hughes popped up with a third for Liverpool,
with the game ending this way. In 1973 Liverpool won a double haul of
trophies - the League championship and UEFA Cup and Thompson played a
limited but important role in both successes earning a league and UEFA
Cup medals in the process. By the next season, his form had displaced
Larry Lloyd from the side altogether and pushed Tommy Smith across to
full back, and he settled into a strong defensive partnership with club
Thompson man-marked Malcolm Macdonald out of the game as Liverpool
comprehensively beat Newcastle United 3-0 in the 1974 FA Cup final, this
after MacDonald had boasted what he was going to do to the Reds in the
game. He remained an integral part of the team which, again, won the
League and UEFA Cup double in 1976.
1976 was also the year in which he was called up to play for England for
the first time, his debut coming on the 24 March in a 2-1 win over Wales
in a friendly at the Racecourse Ground at Wrexham. During a summer
mini-tournament held in the United States on the 28 May '76, Thompson
scored his one and only goal for England in a friendly match against
Italy in New York.
Liverpool's most productive season followed in 1977 but Thompson was to
miss out. Although he played enough games to guarantee a medal when
Liverpool retained the title, he suffered an injury which denied him a
role in the exciting charge towards a unique treble, as Liverpool surged
into the finals of both the FA Cup and European Cup. The veteran Smith
took Thompson's place; while Liverpool lost the FA Cup final to
Manchester United, they won their first European Cup a few days later in
Rome by beating Borussia Monchengladbach.
Thompson recovered from his injury and returned to the defence the
following season. Liverpool reached their first League Cup final at
Wembley (a competition which they had previously not taken seriously)
and after a goalless draw against Nottingham Forest, the game went to a
replay. It was a disappointing evening for Thompson, who committed the
foul on Forest centre forward John O'Hare that led to the penalty that
won the game for Brian Clough's men.
Thompson could count himself a little unlucky - although he did commit
the foul, replays appeared to show that it took place outside the
penalty area and the referee, Pat Partridge, should have given a free
kick rather than a penalty. Liverpool also surrendered the League title
to Forest, but managed to retain the European Cup with a win over FC
Bruges, a game in which Thompson this time played.
Thompson was accompanied by a new central defensive partner in Alan
Hansen as Liverpool regained the title in 1979. When Hughes left the
club for Wolves late in 1979, Thompson was appointed as captain and
gleefully lifted the League trophy again in 1980. He continued to play
frequently for England and was in the squad which qualified for a major
tournament's finals for the first time in a decade, though England's
performances at the 1980 European Championships in Italy were
Thompson's proudest moment as Liverpool skipper came in 1981 when he
lifted the European Cup after a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid in the
Paris final - the club's third success in the competition. Thompson also
stepped up to receive the League Cup after a replay win against West Ham
United, the club's first of four consecutive successes in the
Liverpool manager Bob Paisley upset Thompson the following season when
he decided to hand the captaincy to Graeme Souness (who himself became
an Anfield legend), though Thompson continued to play regularly in
defence, winning further title medals in 1982 and 1983. He was in the
team which retained the League Cup in 1982 but missed the victory in the
1983 final due to injury.
From 1984, Thompson's opportunities as a Liverpool player were
diminishing, with Hansen now being more regularly partnered at the back
by the younger Mark Lawrenson. Liverpool won the title, League Cup and
European Cup in this year, but Thompson did not qualify for a medal in
any of these successes.
In 1985 he was sold to Sheffield United but couldn't settle, so he quit
playing at the comparatively early age of 31 and was recruited by new
Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish as a coach. He was with the club in this
role for four years, progressing to being Dalglish's right-hand man as
the team (still containing, and now captained by, Hansen) won the League
in 1988 and 1990 and the FA Cup in 1989.
An abiding image of Thompson the coach came in the 1989 FA Cup final
against Merseyside rivals Everton when a last minute chance for Everton
to equalise went awry, and the camera caught Thompson, sweating in his
suit and tie, sitting on the Wembley bench while shaking his fists in
relief, delight and anticipation. Sadly for him, Everton did equalise
moments later and forced extra-time, though Liverpool did eventually
When Souness, the man who replaced Thompson as captain, came back to the
club as Dalglish's replacement in early 1991, Thompson was kept on.
Thompson was sacked by Souness in 1992 for allegedly talking to
Manchester United's Alex Fergerson and his assistant about issues at the
club involving Souness. Word had got back to Souness via his connections
at Rangers. It was agreed by both the club and Thompson that details of
what happened would not be disclosed. Thompson claimed in his book that
Souness believed Thompson was after his job as manager whilst Souness
recovered from bypass surgery.
He earned a living through speaking and punditry until Gérard Houllier
became Liverpool manager in 1998 and, needing a bonafide Liverpool man
by his side following the departure of Roy Evans, asked Thompson to
return to his old role, which Thompson accepted with some delight. This
second stint was eventful - a spat between Thompson and striker Robbie
Fowler led to the sale of the popular centre forward to Leeds United;
and Thompson spent several months in sole charge of the team (with some
success) when Houllier underwent emergency heart surgery.
During his time as assistant manager of Liverpool the Reds returned to
winning ways as they completed a unique 'treble' of UEFA Cup, FA Cup and
League Cup in 2001.
When Houllier was relieved of his duties in 2004, Thompson also left the
club. He is now back on the punditry circuit, regularly working for Sky
Sports. Phil Thompson recently turned down the opportunity to become an
ambassador for Liverpool Football Club for personal reasons, reports
suggesting he still remained bitter following his departure in 2004.
(Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Thor Zakariassen ©