• Tommy Thompson

  • Tommy ‘Topper’ Thompson

    Tommy Thompson PNE
  • North End Hero

    Tommy Thompson PNE
  • Tommy Thompson arrives in South Africa with Dennis Hatsell and Willie Cunningham

    Tommy Thompson PNE
  • Tommy with Sammy Taylor

    Tommy Thompson PNE
  • A proud Tommy Thompson at Deepdale

    Tommy Thompson PNE
  • Tommy on his allotment plot

    Tommy Thompson PNE
  • ‘Topper’ is a goalscoring legend in these parts, and our Association is proud and honoured to have Tommy as one of our valued committee members. You never hear Tommy boasting about his footballing days, so we will endeavour to try and do it for him, via our own website.

  • Early Days

    As a young professional footballer, Tommy, from County Durham, played alongside the likes of the famous Jackie Milburn, Len Shackleton and the Chilean Robledo brothers at Newcastle United. He made twenty first team appearances in the black & white stripes, scoring six goals along the way. In his early twenties he was allowed to leave St. James’ Park and was transferred to Aston Villa. It turns out that PNE could have bought him then for £15,000 but the timing was not right as the Club had just signed little Charlie Wayman from Southampton.

    tommy thompson portrait
  • Ironically, Wayman was at Newcastle himself when Tommy joined their ranks. Imagine that though, Wayman, Finney and Thompson in the same North End team. That trio would have guaranteed a glut of goals. Whilst at Villa Park, Tommy developed his natural instinct as a goalscorer, scoring 76 goals in 165 appearances. He had caught the England selectors’ eye and earned himself a full England cap, playing alongside Preston’s very own Tom Finney. 

  • North End Career

    However, in May 1955 it was discovered that Aston Villa were prepared to sell Tommy “at the right price”. North End’s first bid of £20,000 was quickly rejected by the Villa Board but an increased offer of £27,000 secured his signature. Tommy says that the thought of playing with Tom Finney, week in, week out, and the added fact that he was nearer home, persuaded him to sign on the dotted line. On his PNE debut, away at Goodison Park, Everton, Tommy took just two minutes to score his first of many goals for Preston North End. He proved an instant hit with the North End fans as he scored in his first four games for the Club. He finished the 1955-56 season as the Lilywhites leading goalscorer with a respectable 24 goals. It seemed that ‘Topper’ even brought the best out of Tom Finney as even he doubled his own goal tally to 18 from the previous season. The two Tommy’s had gelled together in rapid time, and were a real threat to the opposition for a number of seasons. Telepathic springs to mind. ‘Topper’ was top scorer again the following season, as he and Finney recorded 57 goals between them as PNE finished third in the league. 

  • Record Goalscorer

    Tommy was chosen to play for an England/Scotland select eleven, to face an Ireland/Wales select team. Also in the team was PNE colleagues Tommy Docherty and Willie Cunningham. It was a 3-3 draw with Tommy scoring the opening goal. The 1957-58 season was a season that North End were in serious contention for the championship, but four defeats in the opening six games proved too big a hurdle to overcome. Mind you, the deserved champions, Wolves, did do the double over runners-up, Preston. Having said that, North End scored 100 league goals that season, with Thompson and Finney scoring a remarkable 60 goals between them. What a partnership. Tommy scored 34, which is still a PNE Club record in the top flight. Another call up for England came his way but unfortunately Tommy never scored for the senior side. He was North End’s leading scorer in his first four seasons and but for knee injuries who knows what he could have achieved. He claimed North End hat tricks against Sunderland, Birmingham and Chelsea. Another PNE record he holds is that he scored in 11 consecutive league games.

  • Topper Moves to Stoke

    When he was transferred to Stoke City he was destined to play alongside yet another football legend, Stanley Matthews. How many other footballers can boast about playing alongside two soccer knights of the realm, Sir Tom Finney & Sir Stanley Matthews, at club and international level? Not too many I suspect.

  • tommy_thompson_caricature

    Did you know?

    Did you know that Tommy once played for The Football League and scored four goals?

    Did you know that Tommy played for England ‘B’ and scored?

    Did you know that Tommy played for an FA X1 and scored three goals?

    Did you know that Tommy played 444 league games in his career and scored 222 goals?

    Did you know that Tommy captained Preston North End when the Club toured South Africa?

  • Tommy Thompson one of the best. Words by Ian Rigby.