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MIKE HOOPER

Goalkeeper. Born 10th February 1964, Bristol.

Clubs: Bristol City (1983-1984); Wrexham (1984-1985); Liverpool (1985-1993); Leicester City (1990 (loan)); Newcastle United (1993-1996); Sunderland (1995 (loan)). League appearances: 125.

If Liverpool’s famous Boot Room was the power behind the throne of the most recent great Liverpool team, Mike Hooper was arguably the power behind the substitutes bench. A promising career in the lower divisions seemed to be blossoming when Kenny Dalglish made Hooper one of his first signings as Liverpool manager in 1985. Over his eight seasons on Merseyside he mustered only 51 league appearances, usually in dead rubbers towards the end of the season or when Bruce Grobbelaar had suffered a potentially humiliating moustache shaving mishap. In the 1988/89 season, Hooper managed 17 appearances for the Reds with Grobbelaar off sick, only to lose his place immediately on the Zimbabwean’s return to health and fitness. David James’s arrival from Watford in 1992 pushed him further down the pecking order and in September 1993 he moved to a freshly-promoted Newcastle United. Hooper made 25 appearances for the Magpies over the next two seasons but with typical Hooperluck his arrival coincided with that of first Pavel Srnicek and then Shaka Hislop. Some indication of his place in the overall scheme of things came in 1995, when Newcastle loaned him to their beloved neighbours Sunderland to “get more first team opportunities”. However, he┬ánever made an appearance for them.

Hooper’s contract with Newcastle was terminated shortly after TV cameras caught him laughing on the bench after his team had just conceded a goal and he never played professional football again.