'Lonely death' of ex-Rovers star Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson

First published in Blackburn Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Crime reporter

A FORMER Blackburn Rovers star died a lonely death at his home after he hit the bottle and shut himself away from friends and family.

The badly decomposed body of reclusive Chris Thompson, 52, who had also been a top star at Bolton Wanderers, was found collapsed in the hallway at his home in Anderson Gardens, Tipton on June 1, an inquest heard.

Walsall-born attacking mid-fielder Mr Thompson, scored 26 times during his 100 appearances for Rovers.

Black Country coroner Robin Balmain heard evidence from Mr Thompson’s sister Maureen Bradshaw, who said: “He suffered from depression and he used to lock himself away until he was ready to come and see you.

“You couldn’t contact him. I had got a key to get into the house but I could never get in because he used to bolt the doors.

“At Christmas he went down-hill because he had got to go to hospital – they were testing him for bowel cancer just after Christmas.”

Although Mr Thompson was given the all-clear he showed little sign of improvement in his mental state and ‘wasn’t his proper self’ when he visited his sister in March, she said.

Mrs Bradshaw said her brother had previously run a pub in St Anne’s with his ex-partner but had had an ‘on-and-off’ drink problem ‘for some years’.

Her husband William was the last person to visit him, in April.

He said: “He would sit there watching television and just keep himself to himself. He would just be sitting there reminiscing.” Mr Thompson’s family revealed at the inquest, at Smethwick Council House, that he had almost died from drinking five years ago.

A post mortem confirmed that Mr Thompson had cirrhosis of the liver and that his death was ‘most likely’ related to alcohol – either excessive consumption or withdrawal.

England international Peter Reid, an established member of the Bolton team when Thompson made his First Division debut at the age of 19, said the England Youth international was the shining light among a talented group of youngsters who graduated from the club’s junior ranks.

He said: “He had good control, handled the ball well and scored a few goals.

“He never quite fulfilled his potential but he went round the clubs and was a pleasant lad.”

He also played for Wigan Athletic, Blackpool and Cardiff City before ending his career with hometown Walsall in 1991.

Comments (14)

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1:13pm Tue 18 Dec 12

hasslem hasslem says...

kind of puts everything into perspective - remember him affectionately from his time at ewood in the mid 80s, i guess it was in the bobby saxton era.

we were an ok team in those days, poor crowds - but at least the supporters had a bond between the players and the club.

RIP
kind of puts everything into perspective - remember him affectionately from his time at ewood in the mid 80s, i guess it was in the bobby saxton era. we were an ok team in those days, poor crowds - but at least the supporters had a bond between the players and the club. RIP hasslem hasslem
  • Score: 0

1:23pm Tue 18 Dec 12

hasslem hasslem says...

unfortunately, i have just realised that this must be the result of some inquest as i gather he died in june.

sentiment still applies though
unfortunately, i have just realised that this must be the result of some inquest as i gather he died in june. sentiment still applies though hasslem hasslem
  • Score: 0

2:00pm Tue 18 Dec 12

frank says...

i think you could have shown a bit more compassion in the opening paragraph and worded it differently.
i think you could have shown a bit more compassion in the opening paragraph and worded it differently. frank
  • Score: 0

2:00pm Tue 18 Dec 12

Reality50 says...

Remember him when he played for my team Bolton Wanderers. Remember him scoring in a 2-0 win against Rovers I think was in 1982 when both clubs were poor Second Division teams and we both were averaging about 6000 crowds at the time. Even so,I much preferred football at the time as real fans not the prawn sandwich brigade ruled the roost and was before SKY destroyed the soul of our beautiful game.
Remember him when he played for my team Bolton Wanderers. Remember him scoring in a 2-0 win against Rovers I think was in 1982 when both clubs were poor Second Division teams and we both were averaging about 6000 crowds at the time. Even so,I much preferred football at the time as real fans not the prawn sandwich brigade ruled the roost and was before SKY destroyed the soul of our beautiful game. Reality50
  • Score: 0

2:31pm Tue 18 Dec 12

noddy57 says...

l remember chris thompson very well in his time at ewood, not the most gifted player but he gave all he had in every game he played, lts such a sad state of affairs when society fails its people,,mental illness is as real as physical dissability in most cases its much worse and there is very little that can be done to ease their suffering,so sad but thats a fact of life,,the stygma of mental illness is very real and and the poor afflicted have little hope of recovery,r i p is very appropriate in this case,
l remember chris thompson very well in his time at ewood, not the most gifted player but he gave all he had in every game he played, lts such a sad state of affairs when society fails its people,,mental illness is as real as physical dissability in most cases its much worse and there is very little that can be done to ease their suffering,so sad but thats a fact of life,,the stygma of mental illness is very real and and the poor afflicted have little hope of recovery,r i p is very appropriate in this case, noddy57
  • Score: 0

2:43pm Tue 18 Dec 12

lindibobs says...

poor man,52 is very young to die,and how sad when family cant change your thoughts.
inside our heads is a very complex and scary place at times.
i along with many people suffer with depression and only when i am having a slight improvement as i do at times can i speak of it and see how deep it was.
then without warning back it comes.
i used to laugh when my dad said we all go to heaven as we are in hell now ,but as i get older i cant help but ask myself ,with all the sad things we have to see in this world of ours ,was my dear dad right?.
poor man,52 is very young to die,and how sad when family cant change your thoughts. inside our heads is a very complex and scary place at times. i along with many people suffer with depression and only when i am having a slight improvement as i do at times can i speak of it and see how deep it was. then without warning back it comes. i used to laugh when my dad said we all go to heaven as we are in hell now ,but as i get older i cant help but ask myself ,with all the sad things we have to see in this world of ours ,was my dear dad right?. lindibobs
  • Score: 0

3:04pm Tue 18 Dec 12

merlinrabbit says...

noddy57 wrote:
l remember chris thompson very well in his time at ewood, not the most gifted player but he gave all he had in every game he played, lts such a sad state of affairs when society fails its people,,mental illness is as real as physical dissability in most cases its much worse and there is very little that can be done to ease their suffering,so sad but thats a fact of life,,the stygma of mental illness is very real and and the poor afflicted have little hope of recovery,r i p is very appropriate in this case,
It's not true that people have little hope of recovery. My relative has recovered after receiving some very effective treatment and support. It's important to raise awareness but also important not to give false information. Anybody reading your post with mental illness would feel more depressed
[quote][p][bold]noddy57[/bold] wrote: l remember chris thompson very well in his time at ewood, not the most gifted player but he gave all he had in every game he played, lts such a sad state of affairs when society fails its people,,mental illness is as real as physical dissability in most cases its much worse and there is very little that can be done to ease their suffering,so sad but thats a fact of life,,the stygma of mental illness is very real and and the poor afflicted have little hope of recovery,r i p is very appropriate in this case,[/p][/quote]It's not true that people have little hope of recovery. My relative has recovered after receiving some very effective treatment and support. It's important to raise awareness but also important not to give false information. Anybody reading your post with mental illness would feel more depressed merlinrabbit
  • Score: 0

3:06pm Tue 18 Dec 12

merlinrabbit says...

Why is a 'crime reporter' writing this article? I cant see what crime this guy has committed. If this journalist reports on court based events then she should have a different title. Bit insensitive really
Why is a 'crime reporter' writing this article? I cant see what crime this guy has committed. If this journalist reports on court based events then she should have a different title. Bit insensitive really merlinrabbit
  • Score: 0

3:22pm Tue 18 Dec 12

cboyer says...

Reality50 wrote:
Remember him when he played for my team Bolton Wanderers. Remember him scoring in a 2-0 win against Rovers I think was in 1982 when both clubs were poor Second Division teams and we both were averaging about 6000 crowds at the time. Even so,I much preferred football at the time as real fans not the prawn sandwich brigade ruled the roost and was before SKY destroyed the soul of our beautiful game.
well said football is being destroyed through greed
[quote][p][bold]Reality50[/bold] wrote: Remember him when he played for my team Bolton Wanderers. Remember him scoring in a 2-0 win against Rovers I think was in 1982 when both clubs were poor Second Division teams and we both were averaging about 6000 crowds at the time. Even so,I much preferred football at the time as real fans not the prawn sandwich brigade ruled the roost and was before SKY destroyed the soul of our beautiful game.[/p][/quote]well said football is being destroyed through greed cboyer
  • Score: 0

5:53pm Tue 18 Dec 12

flagstone says...

Reality50 wrote:
Remember him when he played for my team Bolton Wanderers. Remember him scoring in a 2-0 win against Rovers I think was in 1982 when both clubs were poor Second Division teams and we both were averaging about 6000 crowds at the time. Even so,I much preferred football at the time as real fans not the prawn sandwich brigade ruled the roost and was before SKY destroyed the soul of our beautiful game.
here here
[quote][p][bold]Reality50[/bold] wrote: Remember him when he played for my team Bolton Wanderers. Remember him scoring in a 2-0 win against Rovers I think was in 1982 when both clubs were poor Second Division teams and we both were averaging about 6000 crowds at the time. Even so,I much preferred football at the time as real fans not the prawn sandwich brigade ruled the roost and was before SKY destroyed the soul of our beautiful game.[/p][/quote]here here flagstone
  • Score: 0

11:04pm Tue 18 Dec 12

Graham Hartley says...

merlinrabbit wrote:
Why is a 'crime reporter' writing this article? I cant see what crime this guy has committed. If this journalist reports on court based events then she should have a different title. Bit insensitive really
Agreed - she can go away to write a crass, anal novel - as an anagram of her name shows.
[quote][p][bold]merlinrabbit[/bold] wrote: Why is a 'crime reporter' writing this article? I cant see what crime this guy has committed. If this journalist reports on court based events then she should have a different title. Bit insensitive really[/p][/quote]Agreed - she can go away to write a crass, anal novel - as an anagram of her name shows. Graham Hartley
  • Score: 0

11:50pm Tue 18 Dec 12

owd nick says...

this is the forth or fifth time I have attempted to comment, as someone who has, and still does suffer from severe depression, who very nearly killed myself because I couldn't see any other way out I can emphasise with Chris to a certain extent.

I have learned to cope with a problem that will never, ever leave me, unfortunately he couldn't do that and paid the price.

I remember him as a hard working, box to box midfielder who gave absolutely everything for the team he was playing for every single game, something that is sadly lacking in today's mega rich morons.

He belonged to what was for Rovers, Bolton and other local fans a golden age when players had loyalty to their clubs and fans.

I really do hope that Rovers will honour him at Saturdays game, after all, he was more fit to wear the blue and white than the majority of the current squad.
this is the forth or fifth time I have attempted to comment, as someone who has, and still does suffer from severe depression, who very nearly killed myself because I couldn't see any other way out I can emphasise with Chris to a certain extent. I have learned to cope with a problem that will never, ever leave me, unfortunately he couldn't do that and paid the price. I remember him as a hard working, box to box midfielder who gave absolutely everything for the team he was playing for every single game, something that is sadly lacking in today's mega rich morons. He belonged to what was for Rovers, Bolton and other local fans a golden age when players had loyalty to their clubs and fans. I really do hope that Rovers will honour him at Saturdays game, after all, he was more fit to wear the blue and white than the majority of the current squad. owd nick
  • Score: 0

12:33pm Wed 19 Dec 12

AndyW says...

Reality50 wrote:
Remember him when he played for my team Bolton Wanderers. Remember him scoring in a 2-0 win against Rovers I think was in 1982 when both clubs were poor Second Division teams and we both were averaging about 6000 crowds at the time. Even so,I much preferred football at the time as real fans not the prawn sandwich brigade ruled the roost and was before SKY destroyed the soul of our beautiful game.
Tosh.
[quote][p][bold]Reality50[/bold] wrote: Remember him when he played for my team Bolton Wanderers. Remember him scoring in a 2-0 win against Rovers I think was in 1982 when both clubs were poor Second Division teams and we both were averaging about 6000 crowds at the time. Even so,I much preferred football at the time as real fans not the prawn sandwich brigade ruled the roost and was before SKY destroyed the soul of our beautiful game.[/p][/quote]Tosh. AndyW
  • Score: 0

2:38pm Wed 19 Dec 12

noddy57 says...

merlinrabbit, l can see were your coming from, l have a sister who for over twenty years has suffered with severe depression, she had everything going for her but her world changed for ever,,she has been hospitalised for all that time and there is no sign of her ever getting back to what she once was, so consider the reality of her situation,,not all people can recover,,and sadly that is reality,,
merlinrabbit, l can see were your coming from, l have a sister who for over twenty years has suffered with severe depression, she had everything going for her but her world changed for ever,,she has been hospitalised for all that time and there is no sign of her ever getting back to what she once was, so consider the reality of her situation,,not all people can recover,,and sadly that is reality,, noddy57
  • Score: 0

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