Peter Thompson was the great schoolboy star of his day – playing at inside forward for England and was pursued by 17 clubs when the time came to leave school. He was a legendary winger at Liverpool who could beat defenders for fun and cause absolute havoc to any defender.
Thompson became a regular First division player at 17 for Preston, making his debut against Arsenal on 30 August 1960. Chairman Nat Buck was one of the many who raved about him. "I've lost the number of clubs who want him, but how could we sell?" Preston even turned down a bid from Juventus. Bill Shankly had been impressed by the speed and trickery of the young winger during a marathon 5th round FA cup tie between Liverpool and Preston in February 1962 which went to a second replay at Old Trafford before the deadlock was finally broken by Thompson. After 122 League games and 20 League goals for Preston and relegation to 2nd Division after only one season for the youngster in the top-flight he moved to Liverpool for £37,000.
Thompson was a brilliant right-footed left winger, who tormented full-backs. He was a great player with skill in abundance. Liverpool was envied by other teams for possessing such a powerful pairing on opposing flanks as of Thompson and Callaghan. Thompson went straight into the first-team and played in all 42 League games in his first season, thus winning a championship medal as Liverpool won the title by 4 points. Peter was an important member of the side which dominated domestic football in the mid-60's, winning another championship medal in 1966 as well being part of the first Liverpool team to win the FA Cup the year before. He came to Alf Ramsey's attention and would surely have won more than just 16 caps had the then England boss not decided to axe traditional wingplay in favour of his own methods and tactics. Who can argue with him after England's World Cup win in 1966? Peter was desperately unlucky at international level, TWICE in 1966 & then again in 1970 being named in the initial World Cup squad of 28 players before losing out both times as one of the "unlucky six".
He continued to torment defenders until the end of the decade but even though he was not yet 30 years old, he no longer had the pace of his younger days even though his skill was never in doubt. Although he started the 1970-71 season in the first-team and played in the opening 16 league matches, he was not a regular starter during the second-half of the season although he did come off the bench to replace Alun Evans in the 1971 FA Cup final against Arsenal and immediately helped to provide Steve Heighway with the opening which put Liverpool ahead. Sadly, that strike in the first minute of extra-time was not enough to win the game.
Knee trouble forced him to consider retirement and when he was languishing in Liverpool reserves Jimmy Armfield at Second Division Bolton persuaded him to go on loan in December 1973. Thompson's form impressed Bolton and he signed for the club a month later for £18,000. He delighted the Bolton fans with his trickery and is considered one of the biggest bargain buys in the club's history. He retired in April 1978 after having played 132 matches for Bolton who were promoted that season to the top-flight.