Mike Hooper (footballer)
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|Full name||Michael Dudley Hooper|
|Date of birth||10 February 1964|
|Place of birth||Bristol, England|
|Height||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|1990||→ Leicester City (loan)||14||(0)|
|1995||→ Sunderland (loan)||0||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Michael Dudley "Mike" Hooper (born 10 February 1964 in Bristol) is an English former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He was most notable for his spell with Liverpool, where he mainly operated as an understudy to Bruce Grobbelaar. He also played for Newcastle United, his last professional club.
Hooper attended Glenfrome Junior School. As goalkeeper for the school team, his towering height proved an imposing sight to the opposition. He later attended Lockleaze Comprehensive School and played as goalkeeper in the same school team as fellow future professional footballers Gary Smart, Gary Penrice and Ian Holloway, who were all roughly the same age.
Having started his professional career at Bristol City in 1983, and tasting regular senior football after signing for Wrexham in the 1984-85 season, Hooper was signed by newly appointed Liverpool player-manager Kenny Dalglish for the 1985-86 season. He was at Anfield for eight years, during which time the club won six major trophies, but his first team opportunities were limited by the presence of Bruce Grobbelaar, his only real opportunities of first team football coming in 1988–89 when Grobbelaar missed 17 league games through illness, but when Grobbelaar recovered Hooper was back in the reserves. The arrival of David James in 1992 made his first team chances look even slimmer.
On 23 September 1993 Hooper signed for Newcastle United, who had recently been promoted to the Premier League, making his debut two days later with a clean sheet against West Ham. Again, his first team opportunities were restricted, this time by Pavel Srnicek, and he was loaned out to neighbours Sunderland in 1994–95 to gain more first team opportunities, although he did not play a first team game for them. The signing of Shaka Hislop left Hooper with little hope of even a place on the Newcastle bench during the 1995–96 season, but he remained at the club until the end of his contract in the summer of 1996 and finally left on a free transfer.
His fate was sealed when he was caught on camera openly laughing, whilst on the bench, after Newcastle had conceded a goal. He never played senior football again.
Career outside football
Hooper used to work as a bouncer for Saddle Market nightclub in Durham City, Co. Durham. Hooper now spends his time reading voraciously, and working as a courier.
Mike Hooper is the great-great-grandson of Frank Bacon, a one-time director of Bristol City, and the great-great-grandnephew of Canadian politician and King's Printer, Herbert Henry Ball. He has two children and his daughter is studying English Literature at Durham University.