Macclesfield boss Alexander dies aged 53

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The Independent Online

Macclesfield chairman Mike Rance today paid an emotional tribute to Keith Alexander, who has tragically died at the age of 53.

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 last night.

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.

Rance told Press Association Sport: "We're all absolutely devastated.

"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.

"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.

"It was perhaps fitting that the last conversation we had was about football."

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."

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.

Along with MK Dons boss Paul Ince, Alexander was one of only two black managers working in English management throughout the 92 clubs.

Rance added: "Keith was the perfect manager for a club like ours.

"He was totally pragmatic about managing in League Two and the constraints involved.

"He was a splendid man, a real gentleman and an absolute privilege to work with.

"He was strong, sensible, commanded respect throughout the game and was unique in many ways."

Macclesfield are scheduled to play Hereford at Edgar Street on Saturday but the match could be postponed.

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.

"I know what Keith would have wanted, but it will be his family's decision."

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.

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.

"It goes without saying that our thoughts are with Helen and the family at this extremely difficult time."

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