Alexander passes away aged 53

03 March 2010 12:35
Alexander, who suffered a brain aneurysm in November 2003, passed away after arriving home from Macclesfield's 1-0 League Two defeat at Notts County on Tuesday night.[LNB]The Nottingham-born manager recently celebrated his two-year anniversary in charge of the Silkmen and his death has left the Cheshire club deeply shocked.[LNB]Rance said: "We're all absolutely devastated.[LNB]"I spoke to Keith last night at about 11.15pm after our game at Notts County and he was in good spirits because, although we lost, we had given a team chasing promotion a good game.[LNB]"We were chatting about an FA hearing after he had a row with a referee at Bournemouth, which just shows how passionate he was about the game.[LNB]"It was perhaps fitting that the last conversation we had was about football."[LNB]The exact cause of Alexander's death remains unclear, but Rance said: "He went home after the game last night and collapsed. Tragically, he never recovered."[LNB]Alexander had built a reputation in the lower leagues for working effectively within a tight budget and had previous managerial spells with Lincoln and Peterborough as well as a director of football role at Bury.[LNB]Along with MK Dons boss Paul Ince, Alexander was one of only two black managers working in English management throughout the 92 clubs.[LNB]Rance added: "Keith was the perfect manager for a club like ours.[LNB]"He was totally pragmatic about managing in League Two and the constraints involved.[LNB]"He was a splendid man, a real gentleman and an absolute privilege to work with.[LNB]"He was strong, sensible, commanded respect throughout the game and was unique in many ways."[LNB]Macclesfield are scheduled to play Hereford at Edgar Street on Saturday but the match could be postponed.[LNB]Rance has already spoken to Hereford chairman Graham Turner and explained: "Graham also knew Keith very well and the decision as to whether Saturday's game goes ahead will be taken by Keith's family shortly.[LNB]"I know what Keith would have wanted, but it will be his family's decision."[LNB]Alexander spent a successful spell in charge at Lincoln between 2002-06, helping the club to the play-offs for four consecutive seasons - the only manager to achieve that feat.[LNB]Imps chairman Steff Wright said: "Over and above being the absolute professional in everything he did, Keith was one of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet.[LNB]"It goes without saying that our thoughts are with Helen and the family at this extremely difficult time."[LNB]The most notable spells of his playing career were at Grimsby and Stockport, while he also had a stint with Lincoln, where he later become manager.[LNB]He took charge of the Imps for the first time in August 1993, becoming one of the first black professional football managers in the UK.[LNB]His stay lasted less than a year but, after spells with Ilkeston and Northwich, Alexander returned to Lincoln as director of football and assistant manager before eventually replacing Alan Buckley at the helm.[LNB]It did not take him long to become a fans' favourite at Sincil Bank.[LNB]In November 2003 Alexander suffered a cerebral aneurysm and he was taken to hospital for vital surgery before returning to work in February 2004.[LNB]He left Lincoln by mutual consent shortly after the defeat to Grimsby in the 2005/2006 season, and then had a spell in charge of Peterborough before taking the position of director of football at Bury.[LNB]He took charge of Macclesfield in February 2008, but his health recently took a turn for the worse when he was forced to miss the goalless draw with Accrington last month due to illness.[LNB]Alexander had a spell at Bury in the 2007/08 campaign working as the club's director of football.[LNB]A Shakers spokesman said: "Keith Alexander was one of the most genuine people you could work with, to know and to have the pleasure to meet.[LNB]"There are a lot of heavy hearts around Gigg Lane this afternoon and as a club, we wish to pass our condolences to Keith's immediate family, his friends and all supporters, players and officials at Macclesfield Town Football Club."[LNB]Macclesfield assistant manager Gary Simpson has added to the tributes to Alexander.[LNB]Simpson told Sky Sports News: "He was a larger than life character - an honest man, a splendid man and will be missed by not only football people but people in all walks of life. He was an absolutely superb human being."[LNB]He added: "He was always there and together we just got on with stuff. In the difficult times we've had, we've helped each other through things and he was just a rock."[LNB]Football League chairman Lord Mawhinney has also given his reaction to the sad news.[LNB]He said: "I am shocked and deeply saddened by the death of Keith Alexander. [LNB]"The thoughts of the Football League, its clubs and football supporters everywhere will be with Keith's family and friends.[LNB]"He was a tough, dogged competitor as a player and as a manager and will be greatly missed."[LNB][LNB]

Source: Team_Talk