Oliver Thompson moved down from his native County Durham to play for Merthyr Town, the Division Three (South) side, in March 1922 but was soon on his way, joining the Spireites after an unhappy few months in south Wales.  A constructive left-half, he settled in immediately and, over the next six seasons, comfortably saw off any challenger for his position.  At the time of his leaving for QPR, he had made more League appearances for Chesterfield than any other player since the club joined the Northern Section.  As a Chesterfield player, he came to have such affection for the club that, in his prime, he turned down approaches from Manchester United.  He left for Queen's Park Rangers in 1928 but after one indifferent season in London, he returned north to captain York City upon their elevation to League status.  He saw out his playing career with Halifax before receiving an offer to succeed Peter Irvine on the Saltergate staff in 1933.  Ollie came back without hesitation, for he had married a Chesterfield girl and had come to regard the town as home.

"This is what it looks like, lads!" Oliie shares his skills with David Smith, Dave Blakey, Nelson Stiffle and Dave Boyle.


With Shirley Abbott, he became a mainstay of the club's coaching team.  While Abbott usually looked after the first team on matchdays, Ollie's responsibilities lay with the reserves and, as such, he was instrumental in bringing on many fine players through the early stages of their Chesterfield careers.  Players like Harry Clifton came down from their homes in the North-east and were reassured to find a friendly face and familiar accent in Ollie, helping them to settle in more quickly.  During the war, he took over as first-team trainer, and held that post until 1966, whereupon he took a slightly less active role as club masseur.  In all, Ollie experienced Chesterfield life as a player and trainer under eleven different managers over some forty-six years.  And he wished it had been more: one of his greatest regrets was that he spent his last years as a player away from Saltergate.  

Manager Teddy Davison looks on as Ollie prepares to extract a confession from George Smith


Among the many highlights of his career was a goal against Higham Ferrers, in an F.A. Cup match right at the start of his Chesterfield life: with the Spireites a minute away from a humiliating home defeat, Ollie forced his way through a ruck of players in midfield and launched a forty-yard shot that screamed into the net.  He remembered with particular relish a match at Newcastle in 1938-9, when a Chesterfield team containing many Geordies beat the Magpies with a Billy Kidd goal.  Indeed, Ollie probably rated the '38-9 team as the club's best, feeling that they were on the verge of great things until war intervened.

 

For Chesterfield: 219 League appearances, 3 goals.