Football has lost a true character in Keith Alexander
Occasionally the football and sporting worlds lose a true character, the like of which we probably won’t see again. The name of Sir Bobby Robson springs to mind.
Today however, the beautiful game lost another hero, this time in the lower leagues, with the unexpected and sudden death of Macclesfield Town manager Keith Alexander.
He took charge of his final game at Macclesfield on Tuesday evening as his side lost 1-0 to Notts County in a League Two encounter.
The 53-year old had battled illness for a number of years. A brain aneurysm in 2003 almost cut his career short, but when he was given a clean bill of heath he was quick to return to the game.
Although his final spell as manager came with Macclesfield, he’ll also be fondly remembered for his time with Lincoln City, where he clocked up over 250 games in charge as well as a number of play-off near misses.
Indeed he holds the unfortunate record of taking The Imps to four consecutive play-offs without promotion, with final appearances against Bournemouth and Southend. But this stat just adds to the affection football had for the manager.
His spell at Peterborough was short lived, as he became a victim of the soaring expectations at London Road under Darragh MacAnthony. How the Irishman would wish he could call upon Alexander now, as the club lie bottom of the Championship.
Year after year at Moss Rose he had the club punching above their weight, possessing a budget that was one of the lowest in the Football League. But did one ever hear him making excuses? Absolutely not.
What’s more he flew the flag for black managers in the Football League, and his loss in this respect might be the greatest blow to the football world.
He was the first black manager to be given a permanent job in the game in this country when hired by Lincoln in 1993, where he had previously played as forward.
The tributes that have flooded in for the boss prove his worth to the football world, and while he may not have had the League success that he will have craved, he has the respect that many, even at the top level, can only dream of.
The game between Macclesfield and Hereford United on Saturday will not go ahead as a mark of respect to Alexander and rightly so. It is just one in what is sure to be a long list of tributes to the late manager.