Archie returns for the Victory
Imagine scoring a world record 13 goals in one football match and then getting dropped for your very next game. Archie Thompson holds a few records in Australian football, and that’s one of them.
Archie grabbed 13 goals to help the Socceroos to a new world record of 31 to nil at the expense of the unfortunate American Samoa. But the very next game Australia’s manager at the time, Frank Farina, dropped him to the bench.
The result is still a matter of debate among football historians, after the initial score line of 32-0 was changed to 31-0.
“According to media sources, Archie Thompson is reported to have scored 14 goals and David Zdrilic eight goals. Both of them would set new records as well,” said FIFA’s official website. Eventually the match officials settled on 31-0 and 13 goals were credited to Thompson.
Thompson’s other notable football record is scoring an amazing five goals in the A-League championship decider of 2007, when Melbourne Victory, Fred and Archie tore apart Adelaide United to the tune of six goals to nil.
As a Sydney FC fan, I can still remember those Thompson and Allsopp goals that sunk the Sky Blues on many occasions and even eliminated them from the finals in one year. Thompson running to the corner flag for his typical goal scoring celebrations with his cupped hand over one ear listening out for the away Sydney Cove fans, who were in stunned silence – as if they were going to clap you Archie.
But Archie, the A-League’s all time top goal scorer, hasn’t played a game since he was sidelined by a nasty knee injury early on in last year’s A-League grand final, which Victory lost on penalties to Sydney FC.
He made his much anticipated return from injury to a standing ovation at the start of the second half last Saturday night at Etihad Stadium, where the Victory was hosting Gold Coast United.
Thompson was pleased to have survived 45 minutes, saying he had never been more nervous before a match.
“There was always the thought of maybe doing (the knee) again, but I felt great after two or three tackles, the confidence started coming back and then I forgot about the knee,” he said.
“So I don’t think the knee for me now is an issue, it’s just about me now getting fitter and getting some game time.”
Victory dominated for much of the game but failed to find the back of the Gold Coast net. Archie made a few incisive runs as usual and provided a couple of good crosses but wasn’t Victory’s hero on this occasion.
Victory eventually lost one nil at the hands of their very own Roddy Vargas, who beat his keeper with a diving headed own goal.
Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg, whose team has conceded just seven goals in 12 matches, said he was proud of the win, particularly given attacking players Bruce Djite, James Brown and Tahj Minniecon were out injured.
“We did our homework and it worked. Someone could say it worked because it’s luck, it’s an own goal,” Bleiberg said.
It was great to see Archie back on the park for Victory, not just for his team but for the whole A-League and the special place he has already made for himself in Australia football.
The man is already an A-League legend.