He was later charged with misconduct by the FA and banned for two games but perhaps most hurtful, then England boss Kevin Keegan admitted he was looking at the full-back but would not consider him after that elbow.
Almost a year has past since the incident but no doubt it will be revisited again this weekend as Sunderland — and Summerbee, who is currently out of the side — arrive at White Hart Lane in the Premiership.
Even we’re guilty of taking Thatcher back to what must be his worst time in football.
He said: “As far as I’m concerned it’s in the past, it was a mistake, I’ve been punished and it’s behind me.
“I won’t be thinking about it. I’ve worked on my discipline all season and have only had two bookings. Hopefully I’ll keep my nose clean again on Saturday.”
Thatcher is well aware of the need to get a positive result against Sunderland on Saturday. Things haven’t gone well of late and growing frustrations rose a little higher after Tuesday’s defeat against Birmingham City in the Worthington Cup.
The full-back added: “Results haven’t gone as well as we’d have liked and losing at home to a First Division side, albeit not a bad First Division side in Birmingham, was very disappointing.
“I thought we were guilty of pushing on too much if anything. As soon as we went 2-0 down we left ourselves exposed at the back. People go on about injuries and they can’t be used as an excuse but we’ve had a few of late, Steffen Freund went down again the other night, Leo’s out, Steffen Iversen’s out. It doesn’t make things easy but we have to get back on a winning run.
“The fans are entitled to their own view but look at Sunderland, their fans will get behind them from the word go even if they go a goal down. They’ve got a massive support and it does help.
“At home we need the crowd for us but we have to get back into a winning habit as well.”
By Paul Miles
Ben Thatcher is constantly reminded about the incident that cost him an England place last season. Back in January 1999 the defender, then at Wimbledon, elbowed Sunderland’s Nicky Summerbee in the face.