Garry Thompson, a name to put the fear of god into any defence. First nicknamed "Bruno" by the Villa faithful and it certainly had nothing to do with his ability to act in pantomime. It was clear from the start that Steve "Nice moustache" Harrison had bought Garry to add some bite to the attack.
The one thing Garry did not lack was bite. When big central defenders kicked him, it was as if his legs were made of solid oak and his movement of the ball could certainly be described as wooden. In fact, it must be said movement was not Garry`s strong point - in every game, Garry would take up his normal position just outside the opposition`s box and with his back to goal would jump up to try and flick the ball on for the lethal Paul Wilkinson to slot into the back of the net (well, it happened once or twice, I think!).
Garry was tough enough and experienced enough to know that he was not an out-and-out goal scorer, but he was prepared to fight all the battles to create space for Wilko to score. Garry was bloody good in the air, and at laying the ball off, the perfect player in a season where the Horns tried to hoof their way back into the old First Division at the first time of asking.
Garry lost his place the following season to the rather more skilful Gary Penrice, a player who offered a bit more class than Garry sadly could ever offer. But I`ll remember Garry with the ball at his feet and his back to goal, his socks worn down to expose his shin pads, taking all the kicks from central defenders. After all is said and done, he certainly was a bloody hard bloke!
Garry left the club to go to Palace, but rather unsurprisingly never became a regular first team player. He moved on to Northampton Town, where he still no doubt had his bloody back to goal!
Garry played thirty-one times for the Golden Boys plus twelve appearances as a sub, scoring a rather pathetic eight times. He cost an exorbitant £325,000 from Graham Taylor. He certainly stitched us up there!
When we offloaded him to Palace he'd hardly played for us all season, but they needed cover due to an injury crisis. Anyway, come the famous semi-final with Liverpool and final against Man Utd, they were having to make do and mend quite a lot (Ian Wright having broken his leg) and he'd almost certainly have made the team but for twenty minutes as sub in one of our replays against Sheff U which got him cup-tied. So poor old Garry missed his chance of glory. Man Utd of course, scraped through and became all-conquering while Garry Thompson was never heard of again. It's a cruel game.