Tommy Caton

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Tommy Caton
Personal information
Full name Thomas Stephen Caton
Date of birth (1962-10-06)6 October 1962
Place of birth Kirkby, Liverpool, England
Date of death 30 April 1993(1993-04-30) (aged 30)
Place of death Oxfordshire, England
Playing position Central defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1979–1983 Manchester City 165 (8)
1983–1986 Arsenal 81 (2)
1986–1988 Oxford United 53 (3)
1988–1991 Charlton Athletic 57 (5)
National team
1981–1984 England U21 14 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Thomas Stephen "Tommy" Caton (6 October 1962 – 30 April 1993) was an English football player.

Born in Kirkby, Liverpool, Caton was a centre half who played for (and captained) England schoolboys, before signing for Manchester City as an apprentice in 1978. He made his debut on Saturday 18 August 1979 aged 16, and soon became a regular in the City side, playing in the 1981 FA Cup Final, when still only 18 years old, and when team mate Tommy Hutchison put City in the lead it looked as though Caton was on his way to collect a winner's medal, but when Tottenham levelled as a result of Hutchison's own goal, a replay was forced and City lost it 3-2.

He reached 100 First Division games on 6 March 1982, at the age of 19 years and 5 months he was the youngest player in Football League history to achieve this feat. He was also named City's Player of the Year for 1981/82. Caton scored eight times during his spell at Maine Road, the first one coming in a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest on Saturday 13 March 1982 and he also scored two goals in one game against Arsenal on Saturday 4 December 1982. He scored his final City goal at Gay Meadow, home of Shrewsbury Town in a 3-1 City win on Saturday 5 November 1983.

A season after he came close to collecting an FA Cup winner's medal, Caton was looking like a good bet for a Football League First Division title winner's medal as City went top of the league just after Christmas in 1981, but a dismal second half of the season meant they finished mid table and were left without even a UEFA Cup place. The lacklusture form continued into the 1982-83 season, at the end of which City were beaten 1-0 at home on the final day of the season by Luton Town, meaning that City were relegated and Luton stayed up. Caton was unwilling to remain at City now they were a Second Division club, and handed in a transfer request, but began the 1983-84 season still at Maine Road and he remained there until 1 December 1983 when he joined Arsenal for £500,000.[1] He arrived just 15 days before the dismissal of manager Terry Neill, who was succeeded by Don Howe.

He made his debut against West Bromwich Albion two days later. However, after playing as a first team regular in his first two years at Arsenal as David O'Leary's partner, he was usurped by the young Tony Adams and Martin Keown during the 1985-86 season, at the end of which Don Howe stepped down to be succeeded by George Graham as manager.

Caton scored three goals in 95 appearances for Arsenal, but had not played a first team game in almost a year before he was sold to Oxford United for £100,000 in February 1987. He was named club captain soon after his arrival and helped United avoid relegation from the First Division during his opening months at the Manor Ground, but was unable to save them from the drop a year later. He also missed out on what would be his last chance of silverware when Oxford United were knocked out of the Football League Cup in the semi finals.

He remained at Oxford until 18 November 1988, when he was sold to Charlton Athletic for £100,000 in order to play in the First Division again.

Caton stayed with Charlton after their relegation from the First Division in 1990, but was injured the following January and never played first team football again. He finally announced his retirement in March 1993 having failed to make a full recovery. He had played 57 league games for the Addicks, scoring five goals.[2]

Just a month later, on 30 April 1993, he suddenly died of a heart attack at the age of 30. He had three children, including a son Andy who went on to play for Swindon Town, his other children were Stephen and Claire.Claire is now an RAF Nurse based at RAF Brize Norton

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