Former professional footballer died alone in his Black Country home
Dec 18, 2012 14:33 By Steve Bradley 0 Comments
Chris Thompson, who played for Blackburn, Bolton, Wigan and Walsall, found dead in Tipton.
Chris Thompson during his Blackburn Rovers days
A former top-flight footballer died a lonely death at his Black Country home after he hit the bottle and shut himself away from friends and family, an inquest heard.
Chris Thompson’s remains were found at his home in Anderson Gardens, Tipton, on June 1. He was just 52.
The Walsall-born former Bolton, Blackburn and Wigan midfielder suffered health problems and battled an “on-off” drink problem for “some years”, his sister Maureen Bradshaw told a hearing in Smethwick.
“He suffered from depression and he used to lock himself away until he was ready to see you,” she told Black Country coroner Robin Balmain.
“You couldn’t contact him. I had a key to the house but I could never get in because he used to bolt the doors.
“At Christmas he went downhill because he had to go to hospital – they were testing him for bowel cancer soon after.”
Mrs Bradshaw said Mr Thompson, who used to run a pub near Blackpool, was given the all clear but “wasn’t his proper self” when he visited in March.
“He would go down and you wouldn’t hear from him,” she said. “He wouldn’t answer his phone. His neighbours and friends used to try to get him out, but he wouldn’t.”
Mr Thompson’s family also revealed at the inquest, held at Smethwick Council House, that he had almost died from drinking five years ago.
A post-mortem examination confirmed he had cirrhosis of the liver and his death was “most likely” related to alcohol – either excessive consumption or withdrawal.
Recording that he died of natural causes, Mr Balmain said: “Even if it’s drink-related that’s not regarded as unnatural.
“I’ll record that Mr Thompson died of a natural cause, even though we don’t know what it is.”
He played in the old First Division for Bolton, where he scored 20 goals in 81 games between 1977 and 1983 before moving to Blackburn, where he netted 26 times in 100 appearances.
Later spells followed at Wigan, Blackpool, Cardiff and Walsall, where he played three times in 1991.
Former England international Peter Reid – who played with Mr Thompson at Bolton – was among the big-names to pay tribute to him following his death.
“He had good control, handled the ball well and scored a few goals,” Reid said. “He was such a classy finisher, he seemed to pass the ball into the net.
“He never quite fulfilled his potential but he went round the clubs and was a pleasant lad. It’s so sad to lose someone so young.”
NOTE: I will sort out information about his career and publish at a later date.