Ex-Fenmen boss pays tribute to a 'true gentleman'

Former Wisbech boss Roy McManus last nightdescribed Keith Alexander as a 'true gentleman' following his ex-player's sudden death.Macclesfield manager Alexander passed away at home on Tuesday night after watching Town's midweek League Two defeat at Notts County.

Former Wisbech boss Roy McManus last night described Keith Alexander as a 'true gentleman' following his ex-player's sudden death.

Macclesfield manager Alexander passed away at home on Tuesday night after watching Town's midweek League Two defeat at Notts County. The popular 53-year-old had recently spent time away from Moss Rose through illness after returning to football in 2004 following a brain aneurysm while Lincoln boss.

'I'm devastated. It's such a shock and it came out of the blue,' said McManus, who signed Alexander as a player to bolster Wisbech's FA Vase run in 1986. 'He was held in genuine affection and he deserved to be for the service he gave to the game. Football and his family was all he cared about. That was his passion and what he enjoyed. He used to say to me as long as he could turn up and his money would be there to take home to his wife then she would happily see him play seven days a week.

'He'd had his health problems but you hoped he might be over those. Apparently he was relaxed and joking away to the directors in the boardroom at Notts County so he was clearly in good spirits. He was a football man through and through and well respected. It didn't surprise me he went into coaching and management because that is the next step when you love the game and you can't play any more. He did a great job in the lower leagues, which is always tough.'

McManus recalled Alexander was an instant hit during his brief stint at Fenland Park.

'When I was player-manager we got to the semis of the FA Vase in successive seasons,' said McManus. 'I remember we beat Havant 5-1 away in the quarters and I'd heard a whisper we might be able to get Keith in on loan so I rang his manager at Kettering, who was Dave Needham.

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'At that stage it was looking like he would go to Wealdstone or Barnet where Barry Fry was but we managed to speak to him and sort out of a contact. I remember in the first game against Harwich we won 5-0 and he scored a hat-trick. That was it. He was up and running and scored four goals for us in six games. We were drawn against Southall in the semis and got a 2-2 at their place in front of a big crowd. Then a striker called Les Ferdinand scored twice and we lost at Fenland Park in the second leg. If we had got to Wembley I'm sure Keith would have wanted to stay.'