‘I was messed up’: Inside the mind of Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson as he reveals what triggered his spectacular fall from grace and drug addiction – and how his ex-wife offered ‘unexpected’ support after their split
- AFL great Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson has opened up on his hard life after football
- Bomber was fined $30,000 for his role in the Essendon supplement scandal
- The 56-year-old fell into drug addiction and lost his marriage in his retirement
- Thompson credits a psychologist for helping to bring his life back on track
AFL great Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson has opened up on his tumultuous life after spiralling into depression and drug addiction following an illustrious career.
The premiership player and coach’s spectacular fall from grace has been highly- publicised, culminating in the breakdown of his marriage.
When opening up on his struggles in depth for the first time, the 56-year-old revealed the Essendon Bombers drugs supplements scandal was a tipping point.
‘I was pretty messed up,’ Thompson told the Herald Sun. ‘I lost my way. In the end I just didn’t care. I didn’t care about the hurt. I just had no feelings, you know. Life had no reward.’
Mark Thompson and wife Jana’s (pictured together in 2014) marriage crumbled as his life unravelled following his departure from the AFL
Thirty-four Bombers players were banned for two years following the supplements scandal in 2012, with head coach James Hird sacked by the club and Thompson – then assistant coach – slapped with a $30,000 fine.
Thompson was later diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, which sent his life spiralling into dark spaces.
His marriage broke down in 2018 before he was charged with drug possession following a police raid on his Port Melbourne warehouse apartment.
Thompson became hooked on the drug ice through his housemate – a heavily-tattooed bikie associate – and told a court in 2019 how he was in a ‘bad place’ and used ice to ‘mask the pain’.
The 203-game player hit rock bottom when he was convicted for drug possession and placed on a 12-month community corrections order.
Thompson began seeing a psychologist in early 2018, who he credits with bringing him back on track after diagnosing him with PTSD.
‘All my life has been footy people and that was the thing I had to get away from because it was the thing that was driving me crazy,’ he said.
Thompson hasn’t seen the psychologist since his community corrections order ended but hopes to maintain contact with her.
He said he now feels ‘pretty good’ about himself and has put his depression behind him, spending his days working with his family in a workshop in Airport West.
Mark Thompson (pictured elft) with Geelong Cats captain Tom Harley after winning the 2007 AFL Grand Final at the MCG
The former electrician is making resin tables in the factory with his brother Steven and has reconnected with his family including his ex-wife and three children.
Despite their split, Thompson’s ex-wife Jana and his children supported him through his battle in court.
‘That’s been a good thing to come out of it. It was an unexpected support which I appreciated. Since then I go around there for dinner from time to time. I went there for Christmas Day too,’ he said.
Thompson temporarily took over as Bombers coach in 2014 after Hird was banned over his involvement in the infamous drug supplements scandal.
While he said a combination of factors contributed to his downfall in the wake of the sage, Thompson said the drugs saga did take its toll on him.
Thompson admitted while he contemplated suicide while he was in a bad place, he never went close to going ahead with it.
Thompson (pictured during an Essendon match in July 2011) was fined $30,000 for his role in the Essendon supplement scandal
He hopes to enter the public speaking circuit after COVID-19 to use his story to inspire other men on their rehabilitation journey.
Thompson was one the biggest stars in the AFL in the 1980s and early 1990s, where he won three premierships with the Bombers in 1984, 1985 and 1993.
He played 203 games and booted 50 goals for the Bombers until he retired in 1996.
He took up the reins as coach of Geelong in 2000 and eventually led them to Grand Final success in 2007, before a second premiership in 2009.
Thompson quit his job with the Cats in 2010, but only months later returned to the AFL to be a mentor to James Hird at Essendon.
Thompson took up a commentary role with Fox Footy following his retirement from coaching at the end of the 2014 season.
Thompson has credited seeing a psychologist for helping to bring his life back on track