13/03/78 – 17/05/14

On Tuesday, the Albion FC family received the devastating news of the sudden and unexpected passing of our Albion brother, Don Thomas. Don passed on Saturday whilst playing the game he loved. Please leave any message/memories/thoughts you wish in the “comments” section and we will collect these to pass on to his family, as well as adding to the planned obituary.

Full details of his funeral and floral/gift arrangements will be sent around in due course. We’ll shortly post a full obituary to honour the man known to many as the “Donfather”. We have sent a large bouquet of sympathy flowers to his family with the following message: “To The family of Donovan Thomas, our deepest sympathies and condolences for your loss. Our thoughts are with you all with love from everyone at Albion FC.”

  1. #1 by Barny Day on 22 May 2014 - 10:24 am

    For me he will always be the black salmon. Rising majestically at the back post to smash the ball with his forehead into the open net. Also the shout “Dons in free kicks” will always ring through my ears.

  2. #2 by James on 22 May 2014 - 1:38 pm

    The Black Salmon – A classic gentle giant whose kit-washing expertise will be forever in albion folklore. Wholesale distributor of tape to the masses every Sunday morning. Legend.

  3. #3 by Marcus Fletcher on 22 May 2014 - 5:13 pm

    Only knew Don for a few months but whenever I talked to him he was always smiling – and that’s how I’ll remember him. My thoughts are with his family.

  4. #4 by Harry on 22 May 2014 - 5:45 pm

    Will greatly miss the Spurs Arsenal banter and lifts to home games in his Beemer listening to some questionable but nonetheless vibing music. May he rest in peace.

  5. #5 by Nick on 23 May 2014 - 2:28 am

    The only Albione who could ever produce Floral fresh kit that could drown out the questionable smells of Clapham common changing rooms. One of the nicest guys you could meet and one who would always have your back. A true gent who will be missed.

  6. #6 by Dan Roberts on 23 May 2014 - 12:55 pm

    One of the nicest people i’ve ever met – on or off the pitch. A true gentleman. Probably the only person I was happy to give up a free kick for. Rest in peace Don, you will never be forgotten

  7. #7 by Steve Leslie on 23 May 2014 - 5:19 pm

    A gentle giant with a love of football boots, kitwashes and winding up Jade about Arsenal. Superb in the air, he always battled hard and scored some cracking goals. We’ll miss his easy going presence and laughter.

  8. #8 by Duncan Twigg on 24 May 2014 - 2:05 pm

    I think Be Prepared was Don’s motto, he always had everthing with him. A football, muscle rub, insect repellent, gloves, couple of pairs of new colourful boots (clean as well, a rarity amongst Albiones), and of course enough tape to supply the whole league.
    A man who took pride kit, he was always joking about the state of my boots and shinpads that were falling apart, and I think he was even happier than myself when I eventually got new gear.
    Pretty much ever present at training and games since I joined the club, he always there with a friendly word, a big grin and getting animated about spurs.
    on his day an unstoppable attacker, he could scare the life out of any defence, and also always willing to help out in defence or in goal.
    He loved his football, always looking for a game to play, or even just watching random games on the common.
    one of the friendliest guys I’ve ever met, I’m gonna miss the big man, sunday mornings won’t be the same without him.

  9. #9 by Walter Gwan-nulla on 25 May 2014 - 3:56 pm

    Don was a nice guy, always happy in the changing room and on the pitch with a good smile on his face. Don always got the balls after warmup before matches to take shots at me so that I do some catching practice before games. Every time I took a long goalkick, Don would ask me to off a bit of steam and power so that he can win a header. This is a great loss for The Albion F.C. Don will be greatly missed by everyone.

  10. #10 by Walter Gwan-nulla on 25 May 2014 - 3:59 pm

    Don was a nice guy, always happy in the changing room and on the pitch with a good smile on his face. Don always got the balls after warmup before matches to take shots at me so that I do some catching practice before games. Every time I took a long goalkick, Don would ask me to reduce a bit of steam and power so that he can win a header. This is a great loss for The Albion F.C. Don will be greatly missed by everyone.

  11. #11 by Jade on 28 May 2014 - 9:06 pm

    Don was a talented human being that he must have been a gift to all those who were fortunate to have spent time with him. a deep thinker, he was very creative & always was prepared, particularly for football. He had this quality, much like an X ray that he could look through people and only see the positive side. He had opinions but he his tact an ability to express them in a positive light was delivered with the same precision of his goal scoring free kicks.
    His game was a combination of power & fntelligence, he played primarily in attacking positions but was equally adept at full back where he was a revelation. In training I would try to get fitter by tracking him, but he was too strong, too quick, too concentrated. Everything he did was with care, be it the kit, to his own preparation, the lads would nick his tape and he’d be playfully annoyed, but he always had spare.
    After one particularly good mid week summer training session, we’d walk back to the cars carrying the balls back, as we did every home game & we’d talk football, photography & technology, I tried to jump a 3ft bar on the common nearest clap south, Don had already navigated this hurdle by stepping over it, but as I was several yards behind I ran and jumped in order to keep up. I caught cramp and tripped over the bar near Clapham common. Embarrassed I screamed out for Don to help as I had severe cramp. It was so not cool, fairly confident I’m on a vine somewhere, being laughed at in a bar in Clapham.
    Don, jogged over as if not to split a blade of grass and stretched out the cramp in my leg. I said to him he may have to drive me home as I was not sure I could drive, he said just rest it’ll be alright. So he waited with me and laughed and we spoke about photography, I wanted to know how I could improve my pictures, he said to me “you just need to find your own style”.
    That meant so much to me, because in football terms, he had his own style & you had to be aligned to it to get the best out it. I wished I had his physique for the Albion, I could have been a better player, but I have to have my own style,when I take pictures I find my own style. But that short walk across the common, when he navigated the hurdle, was a metaphor, that he went his own way, with class and a code that not many people will experience in people they know. That he did not have to take any short cuts. He was always thoughtful and would cover you as any team mate, & friend would do. Don had his own style & it was a positive influence for me & those he encountered
    We will miss him terribly & I’m thankful for the time that I have had with him as a friend & team mate,.

  12. #12 by Jindy on 9 June 2014 - 2:20 pm

    Don and I joined the Albion at the same time – in January it would have been 10 years with the club for us both. He was probably the most genuine, gentle and decent man I’ve had the pleasure of playing football with. No-one could find a bad word to say about Don. The way he spoke (and never swore!), the way he carried himself and the way he treated his team-mates and the opposition with respect, it all summed him up.

    I have a photo somewhere of me standing next to Don when he collected his Clubman of the Season award. It was only then that I realised what a physically strong and imposing man he was, and that I’d never noticed it before because he truly was a gentle giant. Rest in peace Don, we’ll miss you.

  13. #13 by Tyrone on 9 October 2014 - 4:15 pm

    So sad to hear. I remember Donavan from our secondary school Archbishop Michael Ramsey, he was always a cool guy. RIP

  14. #14 by Jermaine stephenson on 3 November 2014 - 8:46 am

    So upset I know Donovan from Durand primary plus cubs and scouts together! Pissed I missed your funeral bro til we meet again love you bro.
    Jermaine stephenson

  15. #15 by Annemarie on 26 December 2014 - 2:51 pm

    Only found this website recently. He loved his football, and it took a lot for him to miss a match. We were away one wkend in Brussels and he had to get the feedback after the matches.

    I think this picture is an old one- not the trim Donovan I knew. I have more recent footie pics but cant attach them. Donovan would be laughing at me- the IT geek that he was

    Happy to email them in if you want them
    He will be missed by anyone who ever had the pleasure to meet him

  16. #16 by rosella on 13 March 2016 - 9:01 pm

    Just found out. I am devastated!
    Missing you so much!
    Wanted to wish you Happy birthday!

  17. #17 by Michael on 23 June 2016 - 3:02 pm

    I’m in shock, I was in the same class as Donovan at secondary school. We were good friends, I used to knock for him in the mornings and walk up and down Vassal road together after schhol. We lost touch over the years, I always remember he was a big Spurs fan.
    If my memory serves me correctly his mum’s name is Deborah, so I’d like to send my condolences. RIP Don!

    • #18 by Debra Thomas on 27 September 2016 - 1:15 pm

      Hi Michael

      Just saw your message feel free to e mail me.

      God Bless

      • #19 by Karensa on 18 June 2019 - 1:35 am

        I remember my first day at BHS, Oxford Street Menswear (1997).
        I shadowed Donovan, lucky me! We spoke about VW Golf’s, attending University and many other shared interest’s He was smart, ambitious, funny, caring and very thoughtful, always asking if I was OK. We discovered our routes back to Thompson Town…
        We became good friends but lost touch over the years.
        I thought about him yesterday and decided to google his name. I smiled when I saw the above photograph. The smile was gone and replaced with tear’s as I read RIP. I’m in shock, my condolences to you and your family.
        Your son was one of a kind. I spent the day looking through my photograph’s and found a couple of him.

  18. #20 by Michael on 23 June 2016 - 3:17 pm

    I couldn’t edit the original message, but I’d also like to add, it’s so
    sad he’s been taken so young. I remember playing blades of steel with him and another close friend Easton on the 8 bit Nintendo back after school. Bringing back school memories. Again condolences to his family and friends.

  19. #21 by Michael on 23 June 2016 - 11:25 pm

    I was in the same class as Donovan at Secondary School, I’d like to send my condolences to his friends and family. I’ve just found out, we were close friends at school, but lost touch over the years.
    I used to knock for him in the mornings and we used to walk down Vassal road to school and play Blades of Steel and Lifeforce on the 8bit Nintendo after school. RIP My old friend.

(will not be published)