Archie on outer: tears flow as champ leaves Victory



Melbourne Victory’s tearful end to the A-League season has continued with the announcement that Archie Thompson will leave the club after 11 years of service.

Besart Berisha cried tears of pain at Victory’s finals exit and Thompson followed suit on Saturday, telling team-mates and then media of his departure.

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The 37-year-old all-time leading A-League scorer is adamant this is not retirement, but broke down several times considering a future away from Victory.

“I’ve had an amazing run,” he said.

“I still feel great and I still feel like there’s something to give. I’ve still got to come to terms knowing that next year I won’t be walking out onto AAMI Park and I’m not going to be hearing the chants of Archie Thompson.”

Two astonishing striking feats will forever be associated with the fleet-footed forward.

Kevin Muscat takes charge at Melbourne Victory training

Thompson has no hard feelings towards Kevin Muscat. Getty

In 2001, Thompson scored a world-record 13 goals for the Socceroos in a match against American Samoa.

A five-goal haul in the 2007 A-League grand final won him the Joe Marston Medal and brought Victory their first championship.

Thompson said his haul of individual and team awards was not what sustained him.

“As a player and an athlete, you want to win medals, you want to win trophies, you want to be remembered,” he said.

“For me, it’s never been about that. It’s about putting smiles on kids’ faces and supporters’ faces. I want to be remembered for that.”

Injury curtails final season at Victory

After a terrific contribution to Victory’s last championship, Thompson’s follow-up campaign was cruelled by a knee injury suffered last September in the FFA Cup.

He could only manage two starts among 14 appearances this season, scoring just once to convince coach Kevin Muscat that his time was up.

“We had a couple of weeks to talk it over and I respect Kev’s decision and the club’s decision not to sign me on for next season,” Thompson said.

The pair shared a long embrace after the media conference. Muscat said he had nothing but admiration for Thompson.

“What he’s been able to achieve at this football club is unprecedented in our code, in our country, and it will never be repeated,” he said.

Thompson said he would consider his next move at the end of Victory’s Asian Champions League (ACL) involvement this month.

Tuesday’s match with Gamba Osaka looms as a last home outing for Thompson, but should Victory qualify for the ACL knockout stage, a two-legged series will sustain his time in navy and white until late May.

Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro said: “Archie has achieved just about everything in 11 seasons”.

“He will surely go down as one of the all-time greats.”

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