Farewell piece: Adam Thompson made an impression on Rotherham United. And Rotherham United made an impression on him

Adam ThompsonAdam Thompson
Adam Thompson
THERE were tears, there was a tribute, there was singing. It was emotional.

It was a game Adam Thompson didn’t play in that really forged the bond between the defender and Rotherham United supporters.

Fans freezing on the uncovered away end at Accrington Stanley last February broke into applause 12 minutes after half-time in honour of Thommo’s dad, Mark, who had died at the tragically young age of 57.

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The player, a substitute in the dugout, joined in. He was visibly upset but totally touched and headed for the red-and-white throng at the final whistle of a 2-1 win to show his appreciation.

Thompson would play only more time in the League One promotion campaign and last week moved to Leyton Orient after no game-time at all in this term’s Championship campaign.

He came to an agreement with the Millers about his contract, which was due to expire in the summer, and left with a ringing endorsement from manager Paul Warne.

“He’s been brilliant for me,” the boss said. “He’s never been a moment’s problem even though he hasn’t played a minute this season. His attitude is spot on and I know he will go on to have a good career.

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“He’s got a kid on the way and he’s moving back down south near to his family,” said the boss. “It’s a no-brainer for him and he goes with our full blessing.”

Warne helped the player write the speech he gave at his father’s funeral.

Thompson arrived as a centre-half but was used mainly at right-back where his composure on the ball and commitment to the cause impressed fans who made sure they were there for him in his hour of need.

He was more popular than a player who made only 14 appearances would normally have any right to be.

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Maybe his best moment in a Rotherham shirt came on Boxing Day 2019 when his lofted ball into the box set up Michael Smith for a 97th-minute headed winner at Shrewsbury Town.

“He’s a great kid, a great trainer,” Warne said. “He nearly left in the summer transfer window. I sat down with him and frankly told him my thoughts. I didn’t think he’d have much game-time this season and he’d be better furthering his career somewhere else.

“Unfortunately, when a team move up a league sometimes people lose out. We are trying to progress the club. We are trying to sign players better than what we already have.”

Thompson’s Millers teammates loved him. His sense of humour made him a big figure in the dressing room and he was admired for the way he never let his head drop at the Roundwood training complex when he was out of the first-team frame.

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At least one other club tried to sign the Essex-born 28-year-old on loan earlier this month and Orient landed their man by offering him a permanent 18-month deal.

At his age, he needs to play and a player of his ability should flourish in League Two.

He bade a fond farewell to the many friends he made during his time in South Yorkshire.

“I will always hold the players, staff, fans and club close to my heart,” he said. “Rotherham are a special club and it’s an honour to have played for them.”

Thommo made an impression on the Millers. And the Millers made an impression on him.