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Thomas Stephen (Tommy) Caton


Born: 6/10 1962 - 30/4 1993
Birthplace: Liverpool
Nationality: England (0/0)
Height: 5`10" (178cm)
Weight: 11st. 4lb (71kg)
Position: Central Defender

Playing Record:

Season: Club: App Gls App Gls App Gls
1979-1980 Manchester City 42 0 1 0 4 0
1980-1981 Manchester City 30 0 7 0 6 0
1981-1982 Manchester City 39 1 2 0 4 0
1982-1983 Manchester City 38 5 2 0 4 0
1983-1984 Manchester City 16 2 0 0 3 0
1984-1987 Arsenal 81 2 4 0 10 1
1987-1988 Oxford United 53 3 - - - -
1988-1991 Cahrlton Athletic 67 5 - - - -
Total: 366 18 16 0 33 1

Tommy Caton was introduced by Malcolm Allison as a 16 year old rookie to replace the experienced Dave Watson and Tommy Booth in the heart of the City defence. Although the task seemed immense, Caton did well to establish himself as a regular part of the City team while he was still a teenager. He was also a hot prospect for a future England career, winning 14 U-21 caps in the process.

His most memorable and worst moments must have come during the 1981 FA Cup finals. Tommy was regarded as the tower of the City defence connecting well with Corrigan at the back in the first game, only to be caught totally wrong-footed by Ricky Villas twisted run during the replay. Tommy was one of those guys who as a footballer were incredibly mature for his age, but never managed to take the next step and become something special. Still he won the MCFC player of the year award in 1982, before fading into oblivion after signing for Arsenal the following year.

Arsenal had been courting Catons progress for more than a year, but City had proved unwilling to sell. The London club finally got their man as Caton signed for £400,000 in December 1983, only to find that his new Manager was sacked two games later! Tommy partnered David O'Leary for a couple of seasons until the emergence of youngsters like Tony Adams and Martin Keown were starting to put his place under threat. He had not quite lived up to the vaunted reputation that preceded him to Highbury and suffered in comparison with crowd favorite Young. By mid-December 1996 he could no longer hold off the emerging Keown. Despite making a couple more League Cup appearances his frustrating and underachieving Highbury career was over and he was sold to Oxford United for £180,000 in February 1987.

At Oxford his career seemed to deteriorate further and it wasn't long before he moved on again, this time to Charlton Athletics. A serious foot injury required repeated surgery during the early 1990ies and brought a great deal of depression to the player. Early in 1993 he was forced to announce his retirement and then in April the same year Tommy tragically died at the age of 30 of a heart-attack.

Ten years after his death Tommy's youngest son Andy started off as a footballer with non-league club North Leigh, scoring 30 goals in 25 games. He signed for Swindon Town in July 2004 and scored on his debut against Wrexham.

Provided by: Svenn A. Hanssen, svenn@hanssen.priv.no