During this period of enforced football inactivity Linfieldfc.com has provided weekly programme articles on some of our former players.
The series commenced 15 weeks ago with an article on Jim Lemon and has continued over the past 14 weeks with features on Tommy MacDonald, Stephen McKee, Eric Bowyer, Tony Gorman, Lindsay Curry, Damien Curran, Colin McCurdy, Martin McGaughey, Roy Walsh, Frankie Parkes, Warren Feeney senior, George O'Boyle, Noel Bailie MBE and Lindsay McKeown.
In this week’s article Linfieldfc.com reproduces an article from February 2019 in which the spotlight was focused on star striker Peter Thompson.
The choice of Peter for this feature is no coincidence because the previous article on Linfieldfc.com today revealed that Peter played in and was featured on the front cover of the match programme from the Champions League game against Gorica at Windsor Park exactly 14 years ago today.
CULT HEROES – PETER THOMPSON
by James Kennedy
230 goals in 418 appearances for Linfield. 17 senior trophies in two spells at the club. These are the impressive statistics of former striker Peter Thompson.
Starting out at the famous St Andrews club, Peter signed for Linfield in 2001. “I could have signed for Linfield earlier but decided to stay at St Andrews for an extra season. Chris Brunt and David McAlinden were in the same team as me, we were successful, so it seemed like the right thing to do”.
Featuring initially for Linfield Rangers, it wasn’t long before he was a regular with the Swifts, managed by Dennis Shields. “I then got a call up to the first team squad, but things didn’t start well and at one point, a move to another club did cross my mind”.
Thankfully no other Irish League club came in for Peter, and the rest, as they say, is history!
“From 2004 I was a regular alongside Glenn Ferguson, but we missed out on the title due to that dramatic late defeat to Glentoran at The Oval. Although we didn’t have to wait long to get our hands on a trophy, the Setanta Cup in Dublin a couple of weeks later!”
The next season was also a success, a domestic Clean Sweep completed with victory over Glentoran in a never to be forgotten Irish Cup final. A goal down a few minutes before the break, Peter equalised on the stroke of half time, and there followed a headed winner midway through the second half. “Those two goals rounded off a fantastic season for both the club and myself. After a rocky start when some of the fans doubted whether I had what it took, I proved to myself and them that I was worthy of my place”.
The League and Cup double followed in each of the following two seasons, and in March 2008 Peter scored in an international against Georgia. His scoring feats brought him to the attention of a number of cross channel clubs - Gretna FC were among his early suitors - but Stockport County signed him for a six figure sum in July of that year.
“Stockport seemed the right move for me. I wanted to prove myself there before, hopefully, getting a move to a bigger club. But the club suffered financial problems, and a change of manager and a string of injuries meant I never got to show my true form”.
Peter kept in touch with his mates at Linfield, and in early 2010 Stockport were happy to let him move back to Belfast on loan. He immediately hit the ground running, scoring against Donegal Celtic on his second ‘debut’, and was part of yet another Double winning side that season.
A permanent return followed, as did yet another two Doubles. Peter scored in four of his six finals, and Peter cherishes the silverware that came with victory. “It’s great to score in a cup final, but getting the right colour of medal is the most important thing. And I am also proud of my record of never having been on a losing side in any Irish Cup game with Linfield!”
The injuries which started to befall Peter in England continued towards the end of his Linfield career, and in 2015 then Manager Warren Feeney broke the news to him that he would not be awarded a new contract. “I had to be honest. I couldn’t stay fit, and wasn’t going to go to another club, as I wouldn’t do myself justice there. So I hung up the boots and now scout for the club”.
And there’s a young Thompson, his 7 year old son Jacob, who is now starting out on a football journey that he hopes will give him some of the success of his illustrious father Pistol Pete. “Hopefully he can get the enjoyment out of football that his Dad experienced!”