Tuesday 5th February 2019

Tom Hardy – UCFB Sports Business & Media student 2019

Rochdale midfielder Joe Thompson has announced his retirement from professional football after two battles with cancer.

The 29-year-old notched up over 200 football league appearances during spells at Rochdale (twice), Tranmere Rovers, Bury and Carlisle United.

Thompson was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma during his time with Tranmere Rovers before beating cancer for the first time in 2014.

He was diagnosed again in March 2017 but recovered again to feature for Rochdale in the 2017-18 season, playing in a game against Tottenham at Wembley in the FA Cup.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Thompson explained his decision:

“My decision to retire is one of the hardest I’ve ever made,”

“I have battled through some of life’s hardest challenges and have managed to overcome them. However, I’ve pushed my body to the absolute limit.

“My mind has grown stronger but with the intense treatment my body has had to endure over the last six years it is no longer able to perform to the demands of the professional game.”

His most memorable moment in a Dale shirt, a side he featured over 200 times for, came on the final day of last season.

By scoring in the finale of the League One season against Charlton, his first goal since returning in December, Thompson heroically saved Rochdale from relegation.

Thompson is now understood to be interested in a career in motivational speaking and within the media as he looks to share his inspirational story.