John (Ernie) Thompson, the son of a former boxing champion, was born in Newbiggin on 23rd February 1903. A talented centre-forward he worked as a miner but played local football for Ashington and Stakeford United.
Thompson joined Carlisle United in 1928. He scored 26 goals that season and helped Carlisle to win the North Eastern League.
Thompson also played for Bath City before signing for Blackburn Rovers in 1931. He had a great first season and ended up top scorer with 21 goals. He repeated the feat in the 1932-33 season with 17 goals.
Thompson scored a hat-trick before breaking a leg in a game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 4th November 1933. He returned to the first-team the following season and managed to score another 18 goals making him joint top scorer with Jack Bruton.
In the 1935-36 season Thompson was once again top scorer with 17 goals. Despite the goals of Thompson, Blackburn Rovers was relegated in the 1935-36 season. Thompson remained in the top flight by signing for Manchester United for a transfer fee of £4,500. During his time at Blackburn he had scored 82 goals in 171 games.
In 1936 Ernie Thompson was featured in a set of 48 cigarette cards published by Carreras. On the card he was described as a "forceful type of player, he must be considered in the running for international honours."
Thompson scored on his debut for Manchester United against Liverpool. However, he only played one more game before being dropped from the side. He only played three games for the side before being transferred to Third Division side Gateshead in March 1938. He scored 7 goals in 24 games before finishing his career at York City.