Arsenal History: Our 1989 League-winning hero at Anfield – Michael Thomas

89 Anfield hero: Michael Thomas

It’s impossible to think about Anfield 89 without thinking of Michael Thomas at the same time after his dying seconds heroics.

Going into the final match of the 1988/89 First Division season Arsenal had to win against Liverpool by two goals to seal the title.  After 45 minutes of fighting it out at the Kop against The Reds in agonising fashion the scoreline was still 0-0, however things would only turn in The Gunners favour in the second half.  Not long after the break Nigel Winterburn flew George Graham’s team into the lead, in the final minutes of the game Arsenal were only 1-0 up which wasn’t good enough to win the league – they were in need of a last minute saviour. With only seconds left on the clock Thomas ran into the Liverpool box and slotted in the second and the goal which witnessed Arsenal lift their first league title in almost two decades since the 1971 double winning season. He was Arsenal’s knight in shining armour that night, and still is over three decades later!

Only a year beforehand Thomas was recognised for his own abilities at Highbury being handed the 1987/88 Arsenal Player of the Season award, after scooping up nine strikes all campaign.

Within a matter of years the midfielder clinched his second and final First Division winners medal come the anti-climax of the 1990/91 season at Highbury after Arsenal lost only once all year. Within months at Wembley he would bitterly share the Charity shield with North London enemies Spurs following a 0-0 draw. This was the first time he appeared at Wembley for Arsenal since claiming his first piece of silverware four years previously when in the League Cup final Liverpool were beaten against the odds 2-1, in fact in the run-in Thomas played his first Gunners match in the first toss up of the semis versus Spurs.

After running out for George Graham 208 times and racking up 30 goals in four years Thomas left Arsenal in 1991 for Liverpool where he would be much needed again within his first season at Anfield under Graeme Souness. Thomas proved to be the man of the moment again at Wembley during the 1992 FA Cup final against Sunderland, two minutes into the second half he struck gold to give Liverpool the advantage before they ended up winning 2-0.

Three years later Thomas would go onto seal a winners medal after Liverpool narrowly beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1 in the League Cup final, seeing him win every single piece of English domestic silverware possible on show despite staying on the bench for the whole 90 minutes.

After just over 120 league games for Liverpool and 12 goals Thomas left the Kop in 1998, he was also loaned out in his final season to Middlesborough in the now Championship for ten games.

Sooner rather than later he signed for Portuguese giants Benfica, before flying back to London to turn out for the original Wimbledon where his career came to a stop in 2001.

When it came to International football Thomas was only capped twice for England even though he was certainly a man who was able to produce miraculous individual moments on the field during such desperate situations. His first match came in 1988 in a 1-1 draw to Saudi Arabia, before playing in his final Three Lions game just over a year later in December 1989, when England marginally tackled Yugoslavia 2-1.

In Arsenal’s books the legend is best renown for that famous night at Anfield in 89 and is The Gunners 37th best player out of 50 heroes.

Liam Harding

Do you want to read our whole collection of history articles? Check out our Just Arsenal History section

CALLING ALL ARSENAL FANS! Anyone who would like to contribute an Article or Video opinion piece on JustArsenal, please contact us through this link

Tags Mihael Thomas


  1. John Barnes won it for us with his cross instead of going in the corner great night

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors