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In 1993 Alec became a free agent, and decided it was time to move on from Luton. It will come as no surprise that there were no shortage of takers for his services.
Among them was the former England defender Terry Butcher, who knew Alec from their time at Ipswich Town together - Butcher as one of Europe's best defenders, Alec as a young goalkeeper.
A couple of phone calls and a meeting later, Alec was heading to the North East: a fresh footballing challenge was only part of the story, because the move was a big upheaval for the family. Explained wife Jane: "We lived in Northampton, and had lots of friends in and around the area, but also our parents and family weren't too far away - then all of a sudden we're heading up North, away from everyone to an area we didn't know, and we didn't know anyone up their either.
"But that's all part and parcel of being married to a footballer, you never know where destiny might take you. Sunderland was a big club with lots of potential, and it was a good opportunity for Alec, so off we went..."
Alec stayed at Sunderland for three years, and won the respect of a set of supporters who know their football, and where you have to earn their favour.
Alas, Butcher didn't last too long at Roker Park (this was before they moved to the Stadium of Light). Peter Reid took over, and although, in Alec's third and final season he was out of favour for a few months, Alec returned to the team and helped them gain promotion to the Premiership, with some outstanding performances.
But as manager Reid prepared for the Premiership campaign, he could not guarantee Alec a regular place in the team, and so he decided yet again it was time to move on. Again, there was no shortage of interest.
The Chamberlain's were keen to move back South after four years in the North East, so when Alec had the chance to go and talk with Graham Taylor at Watford he was keen to see what was on offer.
The rest, as they say, is history...
Written by Peter Jones, of the PR consultancy Red Alert Media.