UPDATE 2: Celtic released a statement earlier on today saying that Alan Thompson was scheduled to meet Neil Lennon in person on the 3rd of June (yesterday) in Newcastle. Alan refused to attend this meeting, and thus Lennon had to speak to him over the phone. The club have now said the matter is in the hands of lawyers, and according to his lawyer, Alan is shocked and disappointed at the decision. It looks like this story could rumble on and on…
UPDATE 1: Alan Thompson’s lawyers have now said that he was “dismissed during a phone call with Neil Lennon”, so it appears he was sacked by the club. More to come when we get it.
Earlier tonight, rumours started to circulate on the internet regarding the possibility of Alan Thompson’s departure from Celtic Football Club. Thompson had worked as a First Team Coach under manager Neil Lennon since June 2010, taking up the role less than two weeks after he had left a coaching post at Newcastle United.
Born in the days approaching Christmas 1973, Alan Thompson grew up in Newcastle Upon Tyne, and quickly began to develop his natural ability for football.
He would go onto play for his home town club for a time, before moving to Bolton Wanderers in 1993. He played over 150 times for the club, scoring both Bolton’s first ever Premier League goal, and the first competitive goal at their new stadium (The Reebok) before departing for Aston Villa in 1998, for a fee of over £4 million.
He played 46 times for Villa, before being tempted north of the border to join the rising footballing force that was Celtic under Martin O’Neill. In 2000, Alan joined the Hoops for approximately £2.75 million. Alan made his debut in a CIS Cup tie early in the 2000/01 season, and scored in a 4-0 victory over Raith Rovers.
Just over a week earlier, Celtic had beaten their rivals Rangers 6-2 at Celtic Park, and Alan Thompson would go onto play his part in what became a historic treble winning season.
In the coming years, the support developed a love of Alan Thompson, as he began to build a reputation of scoring in big games (particularly derby matches). Whenever Thompson played against Rangers, he was often the centre of attention, in one way or another. He scored several times in Glasgow Derbies, both at Celtic Park and Ibrox. However, he was also sent off three times in these matches, all at Ibrox.
He played an integral part in Celtic’s journey to the UEFA Cup Final in 2003, scoring three times, all in away legs, against FK Suduva, VFB Stuttgart, and Liverpool FC (everyone remembers that free kick at Anfield). Thompson played in every game in Celtic’s 2002/03 UEFA Cup run with the exception of the first match, against FK Suduva at home, when he was an unused substitute.
During the next season, Alan scored the only goal in two legs as Celtic famously knocked FC Barcelona out of the UEFA Cup.
In total, Alan Thompson would score 51 times for Celtic, having played over 200 times for the club. He left to join Leeds United on loan in 2007, before moving there on a permanent basis months later. He then went on to play for Hartlepool United for a short time before retiring from the game in 2008.
He was rewarded for his efforts with only a solitary international cap, as he played against Sweden in 2004.
During his time at Celtic Park, Alan gathered four Scottish Premier League winners medals, three Scottish Cup winners medals, two League Cup winners medals and a UEFA Cup runners up medal.
However, Alan was not finished with football as he rejoined Newcastle United in a coaching capacity, first working with their youth academy, and then their reserves, before returning to Celtic Park two years later.
During his time as a member of the coaching staff at Celtic Park, Alan Thompson has stood alongside Neil Lennon through the highs and the lows. He has helped Celtic to win a Scottish Cup, and to once again become Champions of Scotland. He has also seen his manager be attacked on the touchline during a match at Tynecastle.
Sadly, it has now come to light that Alan Thompson has left his job at Celtic Park, in what remains a developing story.
I can only thank Alan for the tremendous effort he has given to the club during his two spells in the East End of Glasgow.
More when we get it.