Jun 5 2012
By Keith McLeod
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BOOZY Alan Thompson was sacked by Celtic after going on one drinking session too many.
He was fired as Parkhead coach by his close pal and club manager Neil Lennon after failing to heed calls to curb his wayward off-pitch lifestyle.
The dramatic sacking on Sunday night came as a shock to Celtic fans and even club insiders who had no idea moves were afoot to axe him.
But a Celtic source said: “Alan was a 38-year-old middle-aged bloke who was behaving like a teenager.
“He was out boozing too often and got himself blootered once too often for Celtic’s liking.
“The view was that he was becoming a bad influence.
“The opinion was that he had turned into the sort of guy Neil Lennon would be better off without.”
Lennon fired him by telephone after his No2 refused to attend a meeting with him in Thompson’s home city of Newcastle over the weekend.
Yesterday, furious Thompson revealed he intends to take the club to court over his dismissal, which could embroil both Celtic and Lennon in an awkward public dispute.
He has instructed a lawyer’s firm run by solicitor John Paul Mowberry, whose previous clients include Tommy Sheridan’s wife Gail.
Thompson, who was found guilty of his second drink-driving offence in February last year, was often seen drinking at The Drake bar in Glasgow’s west end.
Sources say he threw himself into a bachelor’s lifestyle after splitting last year with his wife Joanne – a lifestyle which has now cost him his job at the club he worshipped.
Joanne, mother of Thompson’s three children, has said he is in the grip of a “mid-life crisis”.
After their split, Thompson bought a bachelor flat in the swish Park Circus area of Glasgow and began dating model Kirsty McLeod, described as a one-time Britney Spears lookalike. The pair were photographed leaving the flat together last summer.
Last May, angry Joanne told our sister paper The Sunday Mail: “He is having a mid-life crisis so he can get on with it.
“He had absolutely everything in the palm of his hand – a loyal, faithful wife and three beautiful children.
“I never looked at another man, he never looked at another woman.
“I’m not making excuses for him but all the fame and ego has gone to his head.”
Former ballet dancer Joanne, 41, added: “I’m going to write a book about this and I want every single other footballer’s wife in the world that’s had it done to them to stand up and applaud me.
“I will never understand it. I will never, ever get my head round what he has done to me.”
The bachelor pad is now on the market, we can reveal. It is believed Thompson put it up for sale a month ago.
The two-bedroom, third floor flat, which boasts views across the west of the city, is up for sale at offers over £340,000.
Among the former Celt’s neighbours there was Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor. The two sparked controversy when they enjoyed a boozy night out together at The Drake in February.
At the time, Lennon – who was so close to Thompson that he was the first Parkhead figure he confided in over his battle with depression – made a staunch public defence of his pal.
He said: “One of my staff and Allan McGregor frequent the same pub. Wow.”
Lennon added: “I have been there myself when Allan has been in and had his company for 15, 20 minutes.”
But behind the scenes, pressure was beginning to mount on Lennon to part with his close friend.
That pressure came to a head at the weekend. “The bottom line is that Alan just went and got blootered one time too many,” said the Celtic insider.
Thompson’s night out with McGregor was not the first time his drinking has landed him in trouble.
In February last year, the star – a hero Celtic player under Martin O’Neill – was banned for 16 months and got a £600 fine after he admitted drink-driving.
He was stopped by police in his Range Rover near Celtic’s training ground in Lennoxtown, Dunbartonshire, on October 25, 2009.
Glasgow’s Justice of the Peace Court heard Thompson – who had a previous drink-driving conviction in 1996 – had been boozing the previous night after Celtic lost 3-1 to Rangers at Parkhead.
The former midfielder had been out drinking until 2.30am, the court heard.
Seana Doherty, prosecuting, said Thompson was stopped in his Range Rover by police at 10am.
She added: “When officers were speaking to him, they detected a strong smell of alcohol.”
But he was told that he would be allowed to drive again after 12 months if he completes a drink-driver awareness course.
News of Thompson’s dismissal may not come as a massive surprise to regulars of The Drake.
Thompson was such a regular there that he featured in a restaurant reviewer’s account last year.
The reviewer mentioned that Lennon was also in the bar the night he sampled the food.
A source said: “Thommo was a popular bloke among the regulars. He was in a lot, sometimes with other football people and sometimes not.
“It’s a shame he lost his job… he loved Celtic and he loved the Glasgow lifestyle. Being on the management staff at Celtic seemed to be his dream job.”
Thompson started his career at Newcastle United, the team he supported as a child.
He then moved to Bolton Wanderers in 1993 and scored at Wembley in the 1995 League Cup final in a 2–1 defeat to Liverpool.
The midfielder moved to Aston Villa in 1998 for £4.5million before eventually signing for Celtic, managed by O’Neill, in 2000 in a £2.75million deal.
He became a hero for the Parkhead support, helping the club to the UEFA Cup final in 2003.
He eventually left in 2007 after falling out of favour with new manager Gordon Strachan and had a spell at Leeds United.
Thompson started his coaching career back at Newcastle in 2008 before being appointed first team coach under Lennon at Celtic in June 2010.