Macclesfield boss Alexander, 53, dies

EQUALITY campaigners last night led tributes to Keith Alexander, one of Britain’s first black managers, after the Macclesfield Town boss died suddenly, aged 53.

Alexander passed away shortly after returning home from his team’s League Two defeat to Notts County on Tuesday evening.

The cause of death is not known, but Alexander needed four months off work after a brain aneurysm in 2003 and missed a match last month due to illness.

Piara Powar, the director of anti-racism organisation Kick It Out, called his death “a tragedy for English football”, adding: “He was a pioneering figure and a role model for aspiring coaches and managers, whatever their racial background.”

Alexander, one of only two black managers in the league, excelled with unglamorous sides on limited resources. He led Lincoln to the fourth-tier play-offs in a record four successive seasons before his lengthy illness. Short spells at Peterborough and Bury followed, before taking charge of Macclesfield in February 2008. As recently as January he signed a new two-year contract.

“We’re absolutely devastated,” said chairman Mike Rance. “I spoke to Keith after our game at Notts County – he was in good spirits. He went home and collapsed. Tragically, he never recovered.”