Dave Thomas: Guiding Me Home & Away. The Autobiography by Dave Thomas
Socks rolled down and minus shin pads, Dave Thomas was the winger Don Revie once referred to as ‘the most exciting prospect in British soccer.’ Dave’s speed and crossing ability entertained fans of Burnley, QPR, Everton, Wolves, Vancouver Whitecaps, Middlesbrough and Portsmouth. After a fascinating career which included eight England caps, Dave lost a good deal of his confidence and independence when he was registered blind in his 50s. This is the uplifting and emotional story of how he regained control over his life again when paired with his faithful guide dog, Hannah.
I am very grateful to Midas PR for the copy of Guiding Me Home and Away (Hornet Books) by Dave Thomas. His autobiography. Being a massive football fan in my young days I had the real privilege of seeing Dave Thomas play when he came up against my team. I also recall collecting football cards and swapping them in the school playground. Somewhere in my loft I still have these and among them will be Dave Thomas himself. This is his story and how it all began.
Even in his very young days the promise being showed by Dave Thomas was clear to see. He was signed by Burnley as a junior but it was Leeds United and especially Don Revie who saw what Thomas was capable of. Even to the point of meeting Dave Thomas’s parents and then the following day a Rolls Royce arrived at the family home and it was Review and the owner of Leeds United, they were determined to get their man even to the point of offering them cash there and then. But his father was a proud and honest man. He kept his word to Burnley and that was that.
Thomas made his league debut for Burnley during the 1966/67 season but it was an 8-1 defeat. But Thomas was not going to let this get him down and he went on to make 157 appearances scoring 19 goals for Burnley. Thomas then signed for Queens Park Rangers in 1972. It was the 1975/76 season that Thomas and QPR very nearly won the First Division Championship, losing out to Liverpool by just one point after leading the First Division for most of the season.
Dave Thomas went on to represent England (1974/1975) playing eight times for the Three Lions. He went on to play for Everton and then Wolverhampton Wanderers, then a short spell playing a single summer season with Vancouver Whitecaps, then home again to play for Middlesbrough and finally Portsmouth. Dave’s playing career came to end in in 1984. A career to look back on with real pride.
Fast forward to 2008 and Dave Thomas is now registered blind after progressive sight loss. Now with the help of his guide dog Hannah and also his wife Brenda. This is just a wonderful read and an insight to a footballer I recall from my younger days and also an inspirational story. Written with David Roberts (Hornet Books) after many face to face interviews. All his royalties from this book will be donated to Guide Dogs and Dave Thomas has already raised over £72,000 for the charity.
Thank you to the Amber Choudhary (Midas PR) for the review copy of Dave Thomas: Guiding Me Home & Away by Dave Thomas.
Dave Thomas: Guiding Me Home & Away by Dave Thomas was published by Imperial War Museum and was published on 5th September 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.