- John Thomas (footballer)
Football player infobox
playername= John Thomas
fullname = John William Thomas
nickname = JT
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1958|08|5
height = height|ft=5|in=8
youthyears = 1974-1976
youthclubs = Everton
years = 1976-1980
clubs = Everton
Tranmere Rovers (Loan)
Halifax Town (Loan)
Preston North End
West Bromwich Albion
Preston North End
caps(goals) = 00 0(0)
pcupdate = January 5, 2007
Wednesbury, West Midlands, August 8 1958John Thomas was an English professional footballer who plied his trade in the lower reaches of the Football League.
tarting at Everton
Upon leaving school in 1974 Thomas signed for Everton as a trainee but in six years with the club failed to make a single appearance although two loan spells with Tranmere Rovers (11 games 2 goals) in 1978-79 and also with Halifax Town (5 games 0 goals) the following season showed that John was no doubt capable of playing in the lower reaches of the league.
After Everton released him at the end of the 1979-80 season John signed for newly relegated Bolton Wanderers hoping to cement a regular place in the starting line-up and thus kick starting his career.His two years at
Burnden Parkwere however rather stop-start with John struggling to hold a regular place down in the team.He did though in his time at the club manage to play 22 league games scoring 6 goals.
Chester and Lincoln
After Bolton gave John a free transfer he signed in July 1982 for fourth division Chester City. In his only season at Sealand Road John became a real favourite with the fans, comfortably finishing as the club's top scorer with 20 goals in 44 league games. He was also unsurprisingly voted Chester's player of the season. It was however a shock to the club's fans when the cash strapped club were forced to sell their prize asset to
Division Threeside Lincoln City for £22,000 after just one season.
His time with The Imps was however a mixed affair with John struggling to find the net with any great regularity and although in his two seasons with the club he netted 18 times in 67 games it therefore came as no surprise when at the end 1984-85 they decided to cash in by selling him to recently relegated Preston North End for £15,000.
Preston North End
John's stay at Preston started badly, for although John was scoring regularly and forming a potent strike partnership with
Gary Brazil, the team as a whole were performing woefully badly finishing the 1985-86 season in 91st position, therefore having to apply for re-election. John however did on a personal note finish the season successfully by picking up the clubs official player of the year award for 1985-86.
The following season was however a different story. With a new artificial pitch laid and John McGrath at the helm Preston stormed to promotion with John finishing the season as the clubs leading scorer. The rumour however of a fall out with manager McGrath only increased with Thomas being dropped several times during the season to be replaced by the likes of
Nigel Jemson, Frank Worthingtonand Steve Taylor. He did though every time regain his place in the team, ending the season with an excellent 28 goals. At the end of his contract in July 1987he was sold much to the fans dismay to Bolton Wanderersfor a bargain £30,000 after finding the net 38 times in just 78 games.
His second spell at Bolton was far more successful than his first. In 1987-88 Thomas enjoyed his second successive
Division Fourpromotion, before a comfortable mid-table finish in Division Threethe following season. He was club top-scorer in both seasons, scoring 31 times in 73 games before deciding in July 1989 to sign for his boyhood heroes West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer.
John however spent the majority of his short stay at
The Hawthornson the bench managing just 1 goal in 19 games although he did score a hat-trickin a 5-3 victory for the Baggiesin a Football League Cuptie against Bradford City at Valley Parade. Soon after however the call came from struggling Preston in February 1990.
Back at Preston
After signing for £50,000 and helping North End to beat the drop, hopes for the following season were high. But a broken leg on his return to
Bolton Wanderersscuppered these hopes.
Despite recovering from his injury John to struggle to reach the same level again and after just 27 more games and another six goals, he was transferred to fellow
Division Threeside Hartlepool United in March 1992. One goal in seven games was all John could manage at United before they in turn released him in the summer. John managed one final spell at Halifax Town (12 games 0 goals) in 1992-93 where he teamed up again with John McGrath, with the club destined for relegation out of the Football League.
This also marked the end of John's professional playing days, as he went on to join non-league sides Bamber Bridge.In a career spanning 17 years, John Thomas played 365 league games scoring 123 goals. He is still held in high regard by fans of Preston, Bolton and Chester, the three clubs who benefited most from his predatory goalscoring ability. John now lives in
Lostock, Boltonand works as a sports equipment sales executive.
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