'I was obsessed with getting to the byline and crossing,' Thompson says today. 'It's probably why I was never interested in coaching. All this 'give and go' stuff meant nothing to me. Alf Ramsey used to tell me, 'Play your natural game, but don't hold the ball]' What could I say?' Even so, he won 16 England caps.
Now 51, Thompson, once an apprentice toolmaker in Carlisle, runs the Hare and Hounds Hotel at Bowland Bridge, near Lake Windemere, which he bought 14 years ago after selling two Blackpool caravan parks. 'I'm chambermaid, waiter, barman and kitchen porter at times but I'm a worker by nature. And I make a decent living.'
Retirement seemed certain when cartilage problems cost him his Liverpool place in 1971. But he recovered, moved to Bolton and enjoyed five more years. 'Everything was hurting at the end. But in my last season, Bolton won the Second Division title and when Liverpool came down for my testimonial, they'd just won the European Cup. The timing was perfect.'
Married for the second time last year, he has daughters aged 26 and 28, and a two-year-old granddaughter. He plays golf for recreation. 'Considering Tommy Smith can barely walk, I've been lucky,' he said. 'I feel like I'm 35.'
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