Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

It's 200 not out for strike ace Thommo

When Peter Thompson woke up this morning it probably felt like any other Saturday.

In many ways it is, he'll be expected to be one of Linfield's main threats as they look for three important league points against Lisburn Distillery.

It's not quite the same as a normal match day though, because Thompson will make his 200th appearance for Linfield this afternoon.

In that time he has netted an impressive 115 goals, collected five international caps and his medal collection over the last three seasons would have Dick Dastardly's sidekick Muttley drooling.

A lot of Irish League players would love to have had that in their entire career let alone by the age of 23.

Thompson though, isn't happy, or even content with what he has done and when he reflects on those 115 goals he says: "It could have been more. When I think of the ones that got away it should have been more and although I have a good ratio I hope by the time I finish my career it is better than it is now."

One of those goals came in the Blues' Setanta Cup final win over Shelbourne in the 2005, with two more in the victory over Glentoran in the 2006 Irish Cup final which gave Linfield the Clean Sweep.

Those strikes would appear to have secured Thompson's place in the club's folklore, but the man himself claims there is a long way to go before he can be considered among the ranks of 'Linfield Legends.'

"The manager, David Jeffrey, says that you can't consider yourself a Linfield player until you've played 350 games for the club, so I haven't even got to that status yet," said Thompson.

"I was fortunate to be given the opportunity in the Linfield first-team and a few things have helped me along the way.

"Touch wood, I have had no serious injuries and that is always important when you are trying to establish yourself.

"Alan Mannus, Michael Gault and myself all made our debuts at around the same time and it was good to have players around me who I knew.

"The fact that I have played 200 games in really just over three seasons show how many games there are in the Irish League.

"I don't know about everyone else, but at Linfield we want to play in every game we can, we want to play in finals, fortunately we have done over the last few years and playing 50 or 60 games a season doesn't really bother me, although it might as I get older."

One 'older' player in the Linfield squad has set the standard for the young pretenders.

Captain Noel Bailie has racked up just over 900 appearances with his only club and his 18-years in the first-team spans three decades.

It's a record that even Thompson, who won't be 24 until next May, believes will never be broken.

"You can never tell what will happen in the future, but I don't see myself getting anywhere near Noel," said Thompson.

"Over the years that he has played he has never had a serious or a long-term injury and that's been important.

"For anyone else to play 900 games I think will be impossible and he really has established himself as a Linfield legend."

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