|Date of Birth:|
|Place of birth:|
|2013 (on loan)|
Curzon Ashton FC
|2014 (on loan)|
Ossett Town AFC
|2014 (on loan)|
Chelmsford City FC
|2015 (on loan)|
|2017 (on loan)|
Warrington Town FC
Hi, my name is Tony Thompson, I’m 25 years of age and I was born and live in Liverpool. I play part time football at Altrincham FC, and I’m scaffolder by trade.
Have you always had the ambition to become a professional footballer?
Football is in my blood and growing up as a young lad in Liverpool I’ve always wanted to play football and never thought of anything else, other than that. When I made the decision to go part time it was a massive shock to the system, when you leave school to go play football you think that’s you until you retire, when I was 21 and made the decision it was scary because I had no other qualifications to fall back on. It’s like starting all over again but your 3/4 years behind all your friends you went to school with. The love of football gets me through a 10hour day’s work and late-night training sessions are hard after such a physically long day at work, but the commitment and ambitions are still there, and I think that’s what keeps me going and there’s nothing better than a good changing room to help you through that. I think that’s what’s helped me with being part time but the determination to go back full-time pushes me on.
Tony, you started your football career by Rotherham United FC. How did you get into the youth of Rotherham United FC ? And who has helped you the most?
Yes, I started my career at Rotherham United after being released from Bolton Wanderers, which was always going to be a massive blow at such a young age, and I found it harder than I usually would because I was released due to my height. Certain clubs after that and clubs now, question my height which is disheartening as it’s something I can’t work on to improve, nor change so it is very much a constant battle to prove myself and to prove people wrong. Also, I think I was lucky at Rotherham because I was surrounded by great people, from my family to my dig’s family. I lived with an unbelievable family, the Leighton’s and I don’t think I would have lasted the 4 years there because even though I had some unreal memories I can say it was tough. Being involved in consecutive promotions was amazing but it was tough mentally as a young lad with the manager I had but I think that’s what makes the player I am today.
By Rotherham United FC, you were loaned out by Curzon Ashton FC, Ossett Town FC, Chelmsford City FC and Southport FC. How did you experience these periods?
Whilst at Rotherham United I had 4 loan spells, starting with Curzon Ashton FC, Ossett Albion FC, Chelmsford City FC, and Southport FC. Loan spells for a young player I would say are the best way to prepare you for men’s football. Having the opportunity to gain the experience of the physical side of the game benefitted me massively as a goal keeper, like coming for crosses and challenging more aggressive players. The order in which I was loaned out was perfect for me as each team was a progression in itself as I started at the EVO STIK and worked my way up to the National League.
In 2015, you joined Football League Two club, Morecambe FC. Was joining a League two club, a big step for you ?
After Rotherham, I joined Morecambe and it was a perfect move for me gave me even more experience playing with some brilliant players and characters. Older lads like Kevin Ellison, Barry Roche were great role models and big personalities to have in your team and even the younger lads like Aaron McGowan were a massive character in the changing room. The change in management also helped me massively, although I only spent 6 months at the club, I can honestly say I have so much respect for Jim Bentley as a manager and as a man. He is one of the most honest and respectful men I’ve met in football so far. Morecambe opened my eyes to the game it was also nice to make my league debut there and JPT debut against a good Fleetwood side.
After one season, you had played 1 match for Morecambe FC. Why did you leave Morecambe FC after that season?
My time at Morecambe was short lived due to the club not having enough money in their budget. That’s another reason why I have a lot of respect for Jim and Kenny, what they were able to do for Morecambe with the budget they had was brilliant. Following my release from the club in January, I signed for Chester FC until the end of that season were, I made my National League debut and went on to do well there.
You played football in the National League North and South, National League and League Two. Have you noticed a lot of difference between those competitions?
I have played in the National League, National League North and South. I don’t think there’s much difference between the three leagues, but I do think that the standard has never been better. All three leagues have of many full-time teams and I think it goes to show how good English football is by seeing how many good quality leagues they have and the players filtering through.
What is the most important football lesson you have learned and who taught you that?
There are many lessons to be learnt in football and I learnt one when I was at Rotherham when a coach told me, “you’ll never be happy in football, you will always want more and that’s what makes us the athletes and the competitors we are. Always wanting to do better in everything we do, you want to get in the first team then you want to play every week then you want to get that big move and to go higher and higher”.
By Altrincham FC are you the first goalkeeper. What are your personal goals this season ?
Yes, I’ve been playing for Altrincham FC for 3 seasons now and I’m playing week in week out which I’m proud of. I would recommend to any player who isn’t playing, to go somewhere and play as much as you can even if that means going down a league. My personal goals for the season are a promotion and to play to play every game. We’ve got a great bunch of lads here and we’ve had a similar group for the last three years which has led to winning a promotion and getting to the semis of the playoffs last season. There are no reasons why we aren’t more than capable of achieving another promotion this season.
What is your ultimate dream for your football career ?
My ultimate goal in football is to go back full-time. You don’t realise how amazing it is until you’re freezing cold on a construction site in the middle of winter putting up scaffold. I’d love to go back full-time and have a career in the professional game, the love for football and the ambition to be a professional footballer as a young lad still lives on inside of me.