Bill Shankly in praise of Peter Thompson


January 18, 1974
One of the pleasures a manager gets is giving praise, and with everything that has been happening in football recently, the departure of Peter Thompson from Anfield has been overlooked by some people.

So let me put the record straight immediately for here is a player who ranks among the greatest who have ever played for Liverpool. Although he has not been in the team because of injury for a couple of seasons, he still gave 10 years wonderful service to the club and the city. And I am sure he will do a fine job at Bolton.

Peter Thompson.

It is debatable if there was ever a more elusive player on the field. He could beat men in the smallest possible space, because he had the ability and strength to get through. For me, he was one of the greatest entertainers in the game although I do not think he played enough times for England. The so-called experts and the people who run England say that he did not score enough goals and that his final pass was not a killer one.

To them, I say this. Possible he could have scored more goals and possibly his final pass could have been better. But they did not see or pay enough attention to the contribution he made to a game.

He and Ian Callaghan, but especially Peter, did more indirect damage to the opposition than anyone else and they are probably the last pair of raiding wingers we shall see in football. They did not raid for 10 minutes or 30 minutes. They raided for the full 90 minutes. And they did not do it for two games or four games, but for the whole season.

It must have been terrible to play against them. They were always turning people round, forcing them back towards their own goal, and if they England selectors could not see that, then I am sorry for them.

How can a team beat you when they are not playing against you?

How can they beat you when they are made to go back towards their own goal?

And that is exactly what Peter was a master at doing.

I remember Peter’s first game for Liverpool. He tore Blackburn to shreds and I will not forget his performance that day. Of course he was a good player when he came here, but he revelled in the atmosphere at Anfield.

Now we will send a full strength team to Bolton at a date to be arranged to play a testimonial match for Peter – and he certainly deserves it. He entertained millions and made sick everyone who played against him. In a word, he was unbelievable.

Callaghan, of course, is still here, playing as well as ever and it would not surprise me if he was chosen as the “Players’ Player” in the P.F.A. ballot. But there will be more about Ian later.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: January 18, 1974)

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