Player name in full: Thomas Anthony Booth
To/from dates: 1968-1981
Number of appearances: 487
Goals scored: 36
Biography and City Career:
Tommy began his footballing career with City, signing amateur forms in 1965. He turned professional in 1967, and made his debut in October 1968, taking over the No. 5 shirt from George Heslop. City’s defence had been disappointing as they attempted to defend their title and one win in the opening nine games was a poor return for such a talented side. However, the young Booth performed admirably on his debut and Joe Mercer opted to continue with him in the side.
Tommy really made his mark when, in the last minute of the FA Cup semi-final with Everton, he scored to send City to Wembley where their opponents were Leicester City. He played in the successful final, too, meaning he had not missed a cup game along the way and had been part of a defence that only conceded one goal.
He appeared in both 1970 winning cup finals (League and European Cup Winners’ Cup), and only missed one league game. For the next five years he was a defensive rock until displaced by England’s Dave Watson in the mid-1970s.
However, when Colin Bell was injured in a League Cup tie in 1976, manager Tony Book asked Tommy to fill in Bell’s midfield slot and he responded with six goals, his best ever season goal tally. He was in the midfield as City beat Newcastle to lift the 1976 League Cup and he provided the assist for Dennis Tueart’s overhead kick to win the trophy.
He later returned to centre-half when Watson was injured, but his chances were limited the following season until he again stepped in for the final 11 games following Mike Doyle’s early end to the season as City finished runners-up to Liverpool in the old Division One. Doyle could not displace Booth when he did regain fitness and Tommy made 39 appearances, his most active campaign in four years.
He played 20 times during the season Malcolm Allison returned to City (1978/79) and 24 the following season. In his final year he played another 30 games and it was his goal at Peterborough in the FA Cup fifth round that helped City on their way to the 1981 FA Cup final. The following season he left for Preston after almost two decades with City.
Booth was committed, brave and loyal - his career was dedicated to City. That also meant a lot to the fans, because clearly wearing the Manchester City shirt meant more to him than anything else, including personal glory.
Mercer described him as “The best centre-half since Stan Cullis. He is great in the air, with a perfect temperament. He can play too. He can go past them, he’s got loads of control, and makes it look all too easy. I think he is the best centre half in England”.
After leaving City, Tommy played for Preston North End from 1981 to 1984, retiring due to injury. He became the Manager in 1985 but resigned in 1986 and he continues to be an Ambassador for Manchester City today.