The whole-hearted Pompey servant who's delivered during two years of superb service

Share this article
0
Have your say

When Kenny Jackett was being debriefed ahead of taking the reins at Pompey, there was one piece of transfer news that must have been music to his ears.

The groundwork Paul Cook put in before his departure to Wigan meant Nathan Thompson was already lined up to join the Blues.

Nathan Thompson celebrates his equaliser in the Checkatrade Trophy final. Picture: Joe Pepler

Nathan Thompson celebrates his equaliser in the Checkatrade Trophy final. Picture: Joe Pepler

The departing Swindon captain had led his boyhood club to the play-off final just two years and was a highly-regarded defender at League One level.

There was no chance Jackett was going scrap that deal.

When Thompson signed, it looked a shrewd piece of business – especially as he'd been linked with moves to Championship sides QPR and Ipswich.

It has proved to be the case.

James Bolton’s arrival signals the end of Thompson’s two years at Pompey.

Failure to be promoted from League One means he’ll seek a move to try to fulfil his ambition of playing in the Championship.

The manner of his imminent departure has left a bitter taste in some supporters’ mouths after he shelved contract negotiations in February.

But, in truth, Pompey have had more than bang for their buck out of him.

When first speaking to the press, Thompson promised he’d always play with his heart on his sleeve and give 100 per cent.

He’s been true to his word.

He may not be popular with the opposition – Alex Mowatt in particular – nor endear himself to other supporters.

But in terms of his loyal service to Pompey, it can't be faulted.

The fact he’ll leave with fewer teeth than he arrived with, following a nasty head collision with Matt Clarke against Bradford in March, typified his commitment.

Not once has Thompson ever shirked a challenge nor shied away when things weren’t going Pompey’s way.

Playing right-back, central midfield or centre-back, you always knew what you’d get. 

As one-v-one defending goes, he was regarded the best at PO4.

It’s that area of his game which is why he is up there with the best full-backs in League One and why team-mate Lee Brown is surprised he’s never played higher. 

Thompson’s battles with Sunderland winger Aiden McGeady proved intriguing over three meetings last season.

The Checkatrade Trophy final was the most exciting of their duels. The wily Irish winger and the no-nonsense defender both had their moments.

During that Wembley clash, it was Thompson, of course, who cancelled out McGeady’s opener. A fine 82nd-minute header at the back post took the game into extra-time.

Thompson and Pompey, of course, would go on to hoist the silverware aloft.

That Wembley header was his only goal donning the star & crescent. Yet his attacking play was somewhat under-rated given he won three penalties last season.

The ‘Thompson Flop' will also go down in Fratton folklore. There aren’t many players who have the ability to crumple to the ground and win a foul out of nothing.

Aged 28, the Chester-born man will be wondering whether he’ll get another opportunity to test himself in the Championship.

If it is a switch to the second tier, can he be blamed? Undoubtedly not. 

While Bolton looks an adept replacement, one thing is clear – he has big boots to fill.