Yes, *that* Daley Thompson. The former double Olympic decathlon champion turned out for Stevenage Borough on one occasion during the 1994-5 season. It came a little out of the blue too, to be fair. One of Britain’s greatest-ever athletes saw football as his next calling in life; his athletics career ended in 1992 due to a persistent hamstring injury. At the time of his signing, boss Paul Fairclough was keen to insist “this isn’t a publicity gimmick. Daley is determined to make it in football”. Or so The Comet sports editor Phil Ravitz quoted him at the time.
Thompson was 35-years-old when he landed; starting out in our reserve squad. That’s why a crowd of nearly 300 would be the first to see him in action. He lined up for Boro’ in an Eastern Floodlit League tie at home to Ware and netted twice in the second half to make a remarkable first impact at Broadhall Way. He retired from the action through injury. And that’d be the last that we saw of him. Neither local media nor matchday programmes explain why he left us. So, that’s as much as we can tell you.
Daley Thompson: Before Boro’
Thompson arrived at Boro’ after training with Reading and Wimbledon. He also turned out for Mansfield Town for a bit too. Obviously, these are far from being his greatest career highlights; the two Olympic Decathlon gold medals and World Championship crown probably rank higher. And then there are the European and Commonwealth titles to mention too. Mind you, he never won the Conference. And if he’d stuck it out with us for another season, all that athletics bling would pale into insignificance. Or not. Different people have different priorities, after all…
Photo: The Comet