As fan favourite Archie Thompson made his way onto the field for a cameo appearance in Melbourne Victory’s grand final victory over Sydney FC he was greeted with one of the largest cheers of the game. The crowd chanted his name, not only because he is long-time fan favourite, but a sense this could be the last time he would be wearing Victory colours.
At 36 many might think it is the perfect time to retire after a grand final win, but Thompson still has something to offer in the A-League next season, whether that is at Victory or elsewhere.
Archie’s preference is to remain with the champions, though with his contract finishing opportunities may be limited. Thompson has certainly had to play a more diminished role this season, maybe his age dictates that, but his contribution in limited game time has still been telling.
Eleven goals for the campaign has Thompson ranked in the top five scorers in the league for season 2014-15. If he is fit and able there is no reason not to play on, this is not the form of someone who needs to hang up the boots.
Obviously Melbourne Victory will need to fit their players within the limitations of the salary cap. After winning a championship certain players will rightfully think they deserve a pay rise and Thompson could face the possibility of being squeezed out. It would be strange to see the man who has played in all three Victory Cchampionships playing elsewhere, but that is the world of sport.
So what club needs a striker? Well, most clubs would probably be putting up their hands to that question and Thompson’s A-League record speaks for itself. His is the competition’s record goal scorer with 89 goals in ten seasons.
One particular club has had many battles with Archie Thompson and a very heated rivalry, and that club is Adelaide United. Would either party enter the thought of a one-year deal? Adelaide United fans probably still have nightmares of Thompson scoring five goals in the 2007 grand final. He has always had a habit of popping up with goals against United and he has always been viewed as the villain.
On face value it is difficult to see the move happening. But United need someone who can score goals. Under current management it is not likely they are going to sign a marquee player and the current options are not going to cut it if United want to seriously challenge.
In a season in which Thompson spent significant time on the bench, he still scored enough goals which would have had him ranked number one for goals at Adelaide. Archie Thompson would not be the only missing piece for Adelaide United, but it would sure be nice having a striker who can consistently score and score in the big games. As Adelaide United know all too well with Archie Thompson.