PA Sport - Wed, 03 Mar 12:44:00 2010
Macclesfield Town manager Keith Alexander has died. He was 53.
Alexander, who recently took time off due to illness, passed away after arriving home on Tuesday night from Macclesfield's League Two loss at Notts County.
A statement on Macclesfield's official website said: "It is our sad duty to report that Keith Alexander passed away today after arriving home from Macclesfield Town's game at Notts County last night.
"Keith was a splendid man. He will be sorely missed at the Moss Rose and by everyone involved in football. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family at this very difficult time."
In 2003, while in charge at Lincoln City, Alexander needed life-saving surgery after being diagnosed with a double cerebral aneurysm. Last year he had another scan during a scare which turned out to be a false alarm and was put down to a bug going round the club.
Alexander said at the time: "Perhaps I shouldn't have come into work that day, but my generation just goes to work, no matter what. You get on with it and don't make excuses."
After temporarily retiring in 1993, Alexander spent a year in charge of Lincoln before resuming his playing career.
Hanging up his boots for good two years later, he had spells in charge of Ilkeston Town and Northwich Victoria, before returning to manage the Imps for a second time in 2001. During his five-year tenure, he took the club to four consecutive promotion play-offs.
In his playing days, as a striker, Alexander made three international appearances for St Lucia, and recently founded the Sacred Sports Foundation to help increase sporting opportunities for children on the Caribbean island.
League Managers' Association chief executive Richard Bevan also paid tribute to Alexander, highlighting his significant role as the first black manager in the Football League.
Bevan said in a statement: "Our thoughts are with Keith's family at this very difficult time. This will have been a dreadful shock to his wife Helen their two children Jack and Jenny and his two other sons Paul and Matt.
"He will be sorely missed by the LMA, its members and the whole of the football community. Keith was an active member of the LMA and our projects with The Prince's Trust in particular, and his contribution to the well-being of the game is widely acknowledged. Nobody would deny that Keith knew just about all there is to know about managing football clubs on a low budget. He was a champion of civil rights and equality issues and was also active in the Black Coaches Association."
The England senior and U21 teams are to wear black armbands for their matches on Wednesday night as a mark of respect to Alexander.