ALAN Thompson played with big clubs and he is delighted to return to the biggest to play in the sold out Henrik’s Heroes v Lubo’s Legends match in aid of Celtic FC Foundation on May 28.
“I am looking forward to it. I am bringing my family up too and they were just young when I was playing so it will be good for them to see a packed Celtic Park,” says the former England midfielder.
He is forthright about his time with Celtic that spanned as a player seven years from 2000 and when former England manager, Sam Allardyce asked Alan what his best times were in football, he said: “I said straight away that the years I had at Celtic under Martin O’Neill could not be beaten,” said the midfielder who played for Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers, Aston Villa and Leeds. “I had very, very happy times and played with some fantastic players.”
He is looking forward to the charity match and added: “There is a party atmosphere at the club this season and let us hope that is helped by a Scottish Cup victory the day before the game.”
Alan is pleased to be reunited with Messrs Larsson and Moravcik. “They were unbelievably good individually but they were team players,” he said. “They were great guys off the pitch, too. They were always there for young players and the guys coming in. I can’t speak too highly of them. The supporters’ reaction to the charity game shows how much Henrik and Lubo mean to them.”
He added: “Celtic fans are great to former players. I remember being on holiday in Las Vegas at the same time as a Celtic convention and I couldn’t walk 10 yards without bumping into a fan who had nice things to say. It is unbelievable to see them all over the world, wherever you are, and have a natter with them.”
Of the Lisbon Lions, who will be saluted at the match, he said: “The Lions are incredible. I enjoyed being in their company. John Clark was obviously around us as kit man and I played a bit of golf with Stevie Chalmers and Bobby Lennox and that was humbling. They are just wonderful human beings.”
He is proud to be helping Celtic FC Foundation and said: “It is a fantastic charity. It is going from strength to strength. It is no surprise that the fans are supporting it so well.”
At 43, he is nursing a few strains and, asked if there is a chance of the repeat of that aeroplane celebration after a famous goal against Rangers, he replied: “I will be lucky if I can kick it 15 yards never mind ping it in from 30 yards, but it should be a great occasion for everyone.”
Sponsored by Dafabet and Utilita, Henrik’s Heroes versus Lubo’s Legends will take place at Celtic Park on Sunday, May 28, 2017, with a 2pm KO.
The response has been phenomenal and the match is now sold out.
However, supporters who can’t get along on the day or who maybe live overseas, still have the chance to get behind the initiative, by making a donation of £5 to receive a virtual ticket. This is a great way for members of the Celtic Family throughout the world to play their part, should they be unable to make it to the match in person, and help us make a real difference in doing so.
Please donate £5 now to claim your virtual ticket – https://mydonate.bt.com/events/henrikvlubo
Net proceeds of the game will be devoted to Celtic FC Foundation, a charity aiming to uphold and promote the founding principles of our football club. The four priorities are to improve health, promote equality, encourage learning and tackle poverty and the Foundation have a strong track record of delivering successful community-based projects.
Some of the funds will be used to extend existing projects such as the award-winning ‘Ability Counts’ – a project aimed at children and young people who live with Down’s Syndrome or Autism. We will also assist with Community Care for Dementia through a series of initiatives. Finally, we have partnered with Mary’s Meals to create The 67 Kitchens campaign which will see Celtic fans support the building of 67 school kitchens for children in the developing world and send emergency food aid to South Sudan and Syria.