He started his career at Tranmere Rovers but it wasn't long before the highly-talented youngster was quickly snapped up by Sunderland. In his debut season, he was regarded as one of the few positives in the dismal 02/03' season where Sunderland scored what was then a record low of 19 points for the season. The high point of the season for Thornton came when he scored this cracker against Chelesa while still only 18 years of age.
After an impressive first season, his form dipped badly and he was eventually off-loaded to League one side, Doncaster Rovers. It was clear that then manager, Mick McCarthy was tired of his off-field boozing. Here's a few choice quotes about Thornton from the Sunderland forum, readytogo.
- "Loads of talent and potential but threw it away. He was spotted in the Hollymere, slumped over his pint with a baseball cap pulled over his face."
- "He still owns the house next door to me. Our other neighbour looks after the gardens. Really nice lad, loved Sunderland AFC and the local people/area. He just couldn't keep off the drink."
- "He once tried to nick a staff taxi off me when I worked at the Derry. He told the driver he'd pay him double to take him to Liquid, he was sound with me like)."
Despite putting in a Man of the Match performance to know Aston Villa out of the League Cup, he soon fell back into bad habits after a promising start at Doncaster. He's now at his present club, Leyton Orient where the now married Thornton was spotted on the razz in Ibiza.
(Didn't even take the ring off the finger!)