On Wednesday 3rd March 2010, Macclesfield Town manager Keith Alexander sadly passed away.
At the time, Kick It Out chair Lord Herman Ouseley expressed his sadness at Keith's tragic passing, and underlined his incredible achievements both on and off the field of play.
"The footballing community lost one of the sport’s true pioneers with the sad passing of Keith Alexander.
"Some may know, but alas far more will not, the true impact that Keith had on the sport he loved in over 30 years of service as a player, manager and leader of men.
"Keith spent over two decades as a player, a centre-forward plying his trade predominantly in English football’s lower leagues, and his playing achievements included scoring in a Wembley final and representing St Lucia, the country of his parents’ birth.
"In the immediate aftermath of the news, much was made of Keith’s position as one of the first black managers in English football and, whilst the significance of this cannot and should not be underestimated, it must not distract from the other numerous and varied ways in which Keith left a lasting impression on us all.
"In my role as the chair of an organisation which Keith wholeheartedly supported from its inception, I was fortunate enough to work closely with him on a number of occasions, and I know that the high esteem in which I held him was shared by all those he encountered.
"When Keith’s health issues first came to light several years ago, his incredible recovery embodied all that was inspiring about the man, and underlined his refusal to allow anything, be it narrow-mindedness or his own physical wellbeing, to stand in the way of his goal.
"Quite aside from his role as a breaker of boundaries, the sheer fact that Keith was able to endure in the notoriously ruthless world of football management for some 18 years speaks volumes as to the knowledge, ability and passion of the man.
"His accomplishments in that time were hugely impressive, especially when set against an almost constant backdrop of shoestring budgets, which Keith saw merely as an opportunity to utilise his considerable gift for uncovering hidden talent in unglamorous settings rarely visited by managers with healthier bank balances at their disposal.
"In many ways, that ability encapsulates Keith’s contribution to the sport. His infectious enthusiasm and willingness to go the extra mile will have left an indelible impression on every club he managed.
"His subsequent success undoubtedly paved the way not just for black managers, but for any manager with enough savvy to recognise that his was an example worth following.
"That he was unable to develop his contribution and legacy further is a genuine tragedy, but there can be no doubt that Keith’s achievements will resonate not just now, but for generations to come."