Friday 14 January 2005
Hyundai A-League side Melbourne Victory today announced FIFA World Cup goal scoring record holder, Archie Thompson, as it’s first ever signing.
The current Socceroo and Lierse sharp-shooter has been lured back to play in Australia, despite recently being offered an extension to his contract in Belgium.
The signing is highly significant, as Thompson breaks the mould of other Australian players returning to the league because, at the age of only 26, he is still at the pinnacle of his career.
Melbourne Victory Football Operations Manager, Gary Cole, was ecstatic with the appointment, and said it proved that the professional and structured process Melbourne Victory had embarked upon would pay dividends in the long run.
“We see Archie as being the first signing of a Marquee Team. We knew that being patient and appointing a coach first would reap the rewards for us. We foresee many more high calibre signings in the near future,” Cole said.
Melbourne Victory General Manager Tony Ising explained the significance of the signing by pointing to his current goal scoring record in Belgium.
“Archie is seemingly banging in goals every week and in some cases multiple goals per game. In fact he’s the club’s leading scorer this year. We’ve been able to attract a player who is actually doing the business in Europe back to Australia. He’s a one-man excitement machine and a sure-fire crowd puller,” he said.
As for the player himself, the attraction of a new league in Australia and the potential of packed houses was the biggest incentive for Thompson in coming back.
“Playing in Europe is an amazing experience, but I feel I’ve got a great opportunity to help carve a future for football in Australia. The entire approach from Melbourne Victory throughout the negotiation process has been totally professional and I’m thrilled to be coming back to lead their attack”.
Thompson’s agent, John Grimaud from Proactive Sports Management, stated that the setup of the new Melbourne club and the league would actually help advance the player’s development.
“We are genuinely excited by the vision the FFA has for the Hyundai A-League, and by what we’ve seen from Melbourne Victory. Archie is very much looking forward to developing his game back home under the guidance of head coach Ernie Merrick. It can only be good for his career,” Grimaud said.
Thompson will play out the season for Lierse and join Melbourne Victory at the end of May.
Name: Archie Thompson
Born: 23rd October 1978
International Debut: 2001 v Columbia
NSL Stats: 87 apps 35 goals
National Caps: 8
International Goals: 17
Lierse SK (Belgium)
Marconi Stallions (Australia)
Carlton SC (Australia)
Gippsland Falcons (Australia)
Represented Australia at 2001 Confederations Cup
Part of the 2000 Olympic squad
World Record for the most goals scored in a World Cup qualifier: 13 in one match.
Before Thompson’s 13 goal haul, the FIFA goal scoring record was held by Melbourne Victory Football Operations Manager, Gary Cole.