Alan Thompson is a former midfielder who made 550 appearances for six different clubs, and was capped by England against Sweden in 2004.
Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, he began his career with his hometown club Newcastle United progressing through their youth system before signing a professional contract.
He moved to Bolton Wanderers in 1993 where he was integral to the Bolton Wanderers team that gained promotion from the third tier, after winning the 1994–95 Play-off final, and then on to the Premier League in 1996–97. Alan also scored for Bolton, with a spectacular shot from just inside the opponent's box, at Wembley in the 1995 League Cup Final in a 2–1 defeat to Liverpool.
He also scored the first ever competitive goal at the Reebok Stadium, in a match against Tottenham Hotspur. Two years earlier he had been the scorer of their first ever Premier League goal, on the opening day of the 1995–96 season, in a 3–2 defeat to Wimbledon at Selhurst Park.
In 1998 Thompson moved to Aston Villa, for a £4.5 million fee, where he was to make just 54 appearances whilst with the Midlands side. Two years later, following a transfer fee of £3.75 million, he moved to join Scottish Premier League giants Glasgow Celtic. Thompson joined Celtic under Martin O'Neill's managerial remit and he quickly became an integral part of the Hoops team that reached the 2003 UEFA Cup Final where Celtic lost 3–2, in extra time, to José Mourinho's FC Porto.
Thompson scored the only goal in the 2005 Scottish Cup Final for Celtic, against Dundee United, to give the outgoing O'Neill his seventh trophy whilst in charge of the club. He did, however, have mixed fortunes in Old Firm matches being sent off three times, all at Ibrox Stadium, but he also scored the winning goal against Glasgow Rangers in two separate Old Firm derby matches and seven against Rangers in all including scoring a spectacular goal in the dying minutes as Celtic beat Rangers in the first Old Firm match of 2004–05, in turn securing Celtic's seventh consecutive win over their Glasgow rivals.
Alan scored several important goals in European competition for Celtic as well; including the opening goal in Celtic's 2–0 win over Liverpool, at Anfield in March 2003, during Celtic's run to the UEFA Cup Final, and he scored against Barcelona at Parkhead in a 1–0 win a year later to help Celtic reach the quarter-finals of the same tournament.
Under Celtic manager Gordon Strachan, Thompson fell out of favour and found his first team opportunities very limited, often not even securing a place on the substitutes' bench and he subsequently moved back into English football with Leeds United, on loan, in January 2007.
Thompson made his debut for Leeds against West Bromwich Albion, on January 20th 2007, and scored in a 3–2 defeat. In his next appearance, he scored a trademark free kick which proved to be the winning goal against Hull City in a 2–1 victory. Thompson left Leeds, at the end of the 2006–07 season, after his loan period and Celtic contract ended.
Thompson then signed a one-year contract with Leeds on 9th August 2007 and was made club captain for 2007–08, their first in League One, scoring from a free kick, against Southend United, in the first home league match of the season.
Following the departure of Gus Poyet, Thompson was made acting assistant manager but returned to his playing role upon the arrival of Dave Bassett. In January 2008, he joined another League One club, Hartlepool United, on a one-month loan deal, scoring once against Luton Town.
He spent a spell out of the team injured, before returning to feature in the squad for Leeds' Play-off campaign, although he did not play and he retired at the end of that season, at the age of 34.
Capped by England at Youth, under-21 and “B” level, Alan earned one cap for the full England team, when he was picked by Sven-Göran Eriksson for a friendly against Sweden in 2004. As a result, he became the first Celtic player to have won an England international cap whilst playing his club football for the Glasgow club.
In July 2008, Thompson was appointed the new academy coach at Newcastle United. It was his former boss Kevin Keegan that handed him the role of looking after the club's young talents and he became the club's reserve-team coach for the 2009–10 season. On 4th June 2010, Thompson left Newcastle, by mutual consent, and, on 17th June 2010, he was announced as the new first-team coach at Celtic, working under his former teammate Neil Lennon.
He was appointed development squad coach at Championship club Birmingham City, in June 2014, but when manager Lee Clark and assistant Steve Watson were dismissed in October, Thompson left the club, again by mutual consent, a few days later.
After a spell as first-team coach with Clark during his time at Blackpool, the pair re-united again in February 2017 with Thompson becoming Clark's assistant at Gigg Lane.