Enfield-born Thurgood, started his career at Tottenham Hotspur as a trainee, but failed to make the cut.
In 1999, after being released from Spurs, Chris Hughton recommended the battling midfielder to former Spurs man, Steve Perryman, who was then in charge at Japanese club, Shimizu S-Pulse. At 19-years-old, he jumped at the chance and was on the first plane to Japan where he spent five months.
Thurgood left Japan in February 2001, hoping to establish himself to the English game. He added:
“It was a great experience playing in Japan, but it was a long, long way to go and I missed my family - I'm glad to be back home”, he admitted.
“I must have done alright though because they wanted me to go back, but that was before I got the Southend offer.”
On his return to England, he then signed for Dave Webb’s Southend United. Webb approached Thurgood, prior to moving to Japan, whilst he was managing Yeovil Town. He made over 50 starts spanning across three-years at Roots Hall.
At the end of the 2002/03 season, Thurgood rejected a one-year deal with the Shrimper’s after a bit-part utility role, hoping to secure regular football elsewhere.
Following his release from Southend, Stuart had an unsuccessful trial with Andy Hessenthaler’s Gillingham, before another unsuccessful spell at Ryman Premier club Canvey Island. Stuart then joined a new-look Grays Athletic side in July 2003 - Grays’ first season as a full-time club.
Five years after Thurgood left Japan, he came up against former S-Pulse boss, Perryman, in an FA Trophy clash against Grays. Steve Perryman, who was now Director of Football at Exeter City praised the tenacious midfielder;
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