Archie Thompson was teary eyed as fans of Melbourne Victory wished him a very emotional send-off during ACL match. No more will the fans serenade the legendary forward after he played his last home games in 11 seasons for the club on Tuesday in the Asian Champions League game. The player was substituted in the 67th minute. The star player pulled his head into his shirt first then began the long walk to the substitute’s bench as fans pay tribute.
His replacement was teenage sensation George Howard who bowed humbly to the legend, embraced him as the emotions of Thompson got the better of him. The chants and applause were rousing.
The 37-year old said: “It’s been a long, long two or three weeks. The tear ducts are just about empty,” he began. “That cheer the supporters gave me is something I’ll live with the rest of my life. Its been a pleasure. An absolute pleasure.”
The player was adamant he could continue despite the club’s decision to cut him loose after a long service. He continued until last month but he was still not sure whether he would stop.
“Call me at 7 in the morning when I can’t move and I might say ‘I’m going to hang my boots up’,” he continued. “Come later in the week when I’m feeling better it’s like ‘I’ll go another year’. The decision is down to me… you’re a long time retired.
“Maybe I might get to local football. Maybe I’ll go play six-a-side. Over 35s (or) Masters. Where I could actually have a beer before the game. I saw a website where I can buy England-Australia tickets which would be fun”
The Victory coach was pleased with how the player handled the climax of his long footballing career. He said “Speaking from experience, it’s not an easy week when you know it’s coming. He gave us some glimpses tonight of his old self… and it was amazing the way our members and fans paid tribute.”