Dave Challinor labelled ‘top class’ after touching tribute to late young fan as Stockport County secure League Two title

It couldn't have been a more fitting fixture to honour him either.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 17th April 2024

Stockport County manager Dave Challinor is being labelled as “top class” after he decided to dedicate his team winning the League Two title to young fan George Thompson, who sadly passed away in 2021, honouring him in a truly touching tribute.

The former defender, who made a century of appearances for the club back in his playing days before ultimately returning to Edgeley Park as head coach back in 2021, saw his high-flying and free-scoring side seal the League Two title in a 5-2 win over Notts County on Tuesday night.

Promotion was already secured this past weekend but Challinor has insisted from the start that his squad only wanted to go up one way: as champions. More importantly, he wanted to provide the fans and one local family in particular with something extra special to remember.

With a trophy lift and more jubilant scenes still to come this Saturday, the 48-year-old made sure to mark the celebrations in the best way possible by asking lifelong supporter and father Dave Thompson if he could borrow a very meaningful flag that has become so important to the entire County fan base.

Heartwarming stuff.

After the final whistle blew and the team went over to celebrate in front of the travelling fans who made the weeknight journey to Meadow Lane in Nottingham, the manager wasted no time in picking out Dave in the crowd and carrying the flag made in memory of his late son George over to his squad.


George Thompson was a loyal County fan and regular matchgoer who tragically died after being hit by a train back in October 2021 at the age of just 18, only a month before Challinor was given the job.

The young fan struggled with mental health for several years before his death and had already been rushed to hospital once after previously trying to step in front of a train in September. He had described lows as being like battling through “thunderstorms” and sadly decided to take his own life.


Ever since his dad has been helping raise money for mental health and suicide prevention causes such as the Mentell Charity formed by fellow Stockport locals. In August 2023, Dave and his other son Will set themselves the challenge of boxing for as many minutes as possible over 24 hours in honour of George, who loved combat sports.

A gut-wrenching local story that the Hatters have taken deep into their hearts, the personalised St George’s Cross is carried to virtually every County game and to see it held aloft by the players clearly hit home for all those involved, let alone just the Thompsons.

Reacting in the immediate aftermath as Challinor came over to grab the flag, George’s dad simply said: “I have no words. If you saw the end, then you know”.


Not only was it a championship-sealing win but Notts County also happened to be the last away game the youngster ever attended, with Dave going on to thank the Chester-born coach for “creating something so, so special” and a moment he’ll never forget.

As expected, the heartfelt gesture moved countless SK natives and more, with people labelling the moment “superb”, and “Just beautiful” as well as having brought them to tears, not to mention hailing Challinor as “absolutely top class” and “a special man in charge full of empathy and decency”.

Dave Challinor speaks on the team’s touching tribute to George Thompson.

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Truly heartwarming stuff.

As for the man himself, he has come out to declare winning League Two with the Hatters as “the greatest achievement” of his career to date, crediting the likes of club legend Paddy Madden – who scored his second hattrick in four games – and fan Graham Allsopp, who currently lives in France but sent him a ‘lucky gold pen’ at the start of the season which has clearly worked wonders.

That’s now two promotions with County for Challinor and seven promotions all-told as a manager, with this being his first-ever EFL title and County’s first in the football league since 1967. Quite the achievement indeed for a club that languished in non-league for over a decade.


You can watch his post-match interview after County’s in full down below and we look forward to seeing them back in the third division next season.

You can watch his full post-match interview HERE.

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Featured Images — Stockport County (via YouTube)/Dave Thompson/@Bomberobates (via X)