STEPHEN Thompson has ended his memorable eight-year stint with Darlington.

The attacker, with a penchant for long range strikes, played an integral part in the rebirth of the club after it suffered financial meltdown in 2012 and leaves as the club’s joint all-time leading scorer on 100 goals, level with Alan Walsh.

His century came with a winning goal against Spennymoor on Boxing Day at Blackwell Meadows on his 325th appearance and he leaves as the club’s longest-serving player - one of the last playing links remaining from the club’s rebirth.

Goal number one came in his fourth outing, after signing from Durham City, in a Northern League game at Penrith in October 2012 as Quakers, under Martin Gray, won their 11th of 12 games.

His most prolific season was in 2013/14 as he bagged 27 goals. Thompson netted his 50th in his 100th outing, at Mossley.

Thompson, 31, announced his exit on Twitter: “It’s been a tough decision and a decision that has taken lots of thought but the time has come to leave Darlington FC.

“It has been a great 8 years, with some unbelievable memories that I will never forget but all good things come to an end.

“I want to thank everyone at the club and especially all of the fans who have supported me along the way. You are the heartbeat of the club and I wish you all the best for the future.”

The club responded on Twitter: “Over the last 8 years Thommo has played a huge part in three promotions, scoring 100 goals to become the club’s joint all time scorer.

“A huge thank you for everything, a true Darlington legend. We wish him all the best for the future.”