Former Rochdale and Man United academy product Joe Thompson diagnosed with cancer for the third time

Just heartbreaking stuff but the boy's already proved how much of a fighter he is.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 12th April 2024

In a gut-wrenching bit of news, former Rochdale AFC player and Manchester United academy product Joe Thompson has sadly been diagnosed with cancer for the third time.

Sharing the heartbreaking update on Friday, 12 April, Thompson, who previously represented the likes of Bury FC, Tranmere Rovers, Carlisle United, the 35-year-old has revealed that the recurring Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma has now spread to his lungs.

The ex-Dale midfielder also secured loan spells at Wrexham and Southport around a decade ago, but the cancer diagnosis tragically derailed his time at both clubs.

He ultimately decided to call time on his footballing career back in 2019 and after having twice recovered from the disease, he is now facing his third battle against cancer. Giving a moving interview with BBC Sport Manchester, he said explaining it to his kids has been the hardest part.

Joe Thompson speaks candidly about his third cancer diagnosis.

The father of two also sat down with his old club Man United, who came through the academy ranks alongside the likes of Tom Cleverley, Danny Drinkwater and more, confessing, “I don’t think you could walk this road alone”.


Thompson went on to say: “It’s far from ideal but I know that the support is here from the club. My family are imperative in my life and they are constantly helping me at the moment.

“I feel like once I have voiced it and got it off my chest, I don’t feel as suffocated as I felt. Obviously, bringing it to the football audience I am hoping that the support will be there as it has been not once, but twice before.”


He also stressed the importance of raising awareness, especially given this is his third stroke of misfortune, adding: “There are constant reminders and from the support you get, there are positive stories, so I feel morally obliged to be one of those that do that.”

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The Thompson family have now set up a fundraising page, the description of which calls his story one of “resilience and hope”. We think that’s putting it lightly.

Reflecting on how his illness has already overshadowed his time as a father far too much, he explained that he is working with oncologists and scientists and “self-funding research to uncover the root cause of my recurring illness.”


With that in mind, the GoFundMe is as much about cancer research as a whole as it is. Having barely been up for a few hours, nearly 500 people have already donated, putting a huge £35,000+ dent in their total target of £250k. You can donate HERE.

Keep on fighting, Joe – you’ve got this.

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Featured Images — GoFundMe/Manchester United/Rochdale FC