Belfast Telegraph

Carrick will honour Jerry Thompson by 'playing like he did', vows chairman


Sad loss: Jerry Thompson was a popular face at Carrick
Sad loss: Jerry Thompson was a popular face at Carrick
Carrick Rangers chairman Peter Clarke

By Steven Beacom

Carrick Rangers chairman Peter Clarke says the players at the club are determined to remember and celebrate team-mate Jerry Thompson by emulating him and giving everything they have got when they return to action.

The football club is in mourning after the sudden death of the popular 24-year-old, who, as manager Niall Currie put it, had been in sensational form before his untimely passing on Tuesday.

Thompson was due to play that evening at Glenavon. The Carrick players were told the devastating news after the match.

Last night, Currie, his staff and his playing staff, met at their stadium to talk about their friend.

Clarke says everyone at the club will be given whatever professional help they need to come to terms with the tragedy.

Clarke, Currie and all at Carrick Rangers will attend Jerry's funeral tomorrow and support his family.

The club's league game at Cliftonville, scheduled for the same day, has been postponed, though there is a realisation that they will be playing again this month and have a packed Christmas schedule.

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Aaron Smyth is speaking out following the death of Carrick Rangers footballer Gerard (Jerry) Thompson

"Much as the staff and players are hurting now, they also know what they want to do going forward," said the Carrick chairman, who added his thanks to Cliftonville for their understanding in the postponement of tomorrow's fixture.

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Carrick Rangers chairman Peter Clarke

"There have been multiple discussions about the best way to celebrate and remember Jerry and the best way is to look at all the positive attributes he brought to the club, including his dedication, passion and commitment, and to make sure that's what we take forward and play like he did, giving his all."

On when they will play again, Clarke added: "We want to take the time to talk with the management, the players, the board and get a general feeling about what they would like to do."

Speaking about Tuesday, he said: "We were numb. As a board we were told just after the start of the second half.

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Gerard (Jerry) Thompson holding his 7 month old son Thiago. (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

"The players didn't know at that stage and we were thinking should we play the rest of the game and we had to make quick decisions. We also knew the news was breaking on social media, so we spoke to our supporters and made them aware of the situation. Our supporters were fabulous about it.

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Leanne Thompson, mother of Gerard (Jerry) Thompson, holding a picture of him with his baby son Thiago

"We brought the players straight in after the game and when we told them it was devastating for all of them. There was nothing but tears. The guys just couldn't believe it. The night before Jerry had been up training with them and the banter had been flying.

"It was painful seeing so many grown people crying and being so upset. Everyone had so much time for Jerry."

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