Mansfield Town today announced that John Thompson has today announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 31. The defender has not been able to fully recover from a horrific injury during a pre-season friendly for Mansfield Town in 2011. Prior to joining the Stags, Thompson enjoyed three successful years at Notts County in which he made over 100 appearances for the Magpies and collected a League Two winner’s medal. During his long stint with Nottingham Forest, which spanned from 2001 until 2007, Dublin-born Thompson made 129 league appearances and won full international honours for the Republic of Ireland.
His other former clubs include Tranmere Rovers and Oldham Athletic.
“I have desperately tried to get back playing to my full potential for almost two years now,” said Thompson. “It has been a hugely frustrating time but I have now reached a point where I can’t continue. “I have been fortunate enough to have had a great career and played for some good clubs but after seeking medical advice and speaking to my family and friends I feel it is the right decision.”
Speaking about the incident, in which he was badly hurt in a challenge with Ilkeston’s Gary Ricketts, Thompson stated: “It was something that should never have happened on a football pitch.
“I had almost 60 stitches in my face, broke my nose, damaged my shoulder, and dislocated my finger. I needed to have a major operation on my nose so I could breathe through it again and I could only eat through a straw for nearly a month.
“When I eventually got back playing after overcoming most of the physical issues, I soon realised I was doing things which I wouldn’t normally do on the pitch. Panic attacks were common and I would not be able to sleep before games. My confidence on and off the pitch had been severely knocked.
“I have done everything I can, even seeing a psychologist at my own expense. My recovery is still ongoing.
“The last two years have been the hardest of my life.
“In my time at Mansfield, I have only been able to show glimpses of what I can do and was unable to play to the same standard as I did previously in my career.
“It was nice to finish my career by being a part of a Mansfield Town squad which has won the league and more importantly promotion back to the Football League, where the club deserves to be.
“I would like to thank everybody at Mansfield Town, the chairman, manager and particularly the fans who supported me patiently as I tried to get back playing.
“Living in Nottingham for so long I am particularly proud to have played for all three Nottinghamshire clubs, Nottingham Forest, Notts County and Mansfield Town and wish all these clubs future success.”
Full story in this week’s Chad.