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When Keith Bowen arrived at Colchester United in 1983 he'd already heard a whisper that Alec Chamberlain, his new club's young goalkeeper, was one to watch for the future.
Says Keith: "Alec was Mike Walker's deputy at the time, but he'd made his first team debut a few weeks earlier done really well, and it had been noted.
"I watched him play a few reserve games and was really impressed, so it came as no surprise to me when Alec was given another run out at the end of the season, and then established himself as Colchester's number one the following season.
"Following someone like Mike Walker was a tall order - he'd been a fantastic servant to the club, and whoever took over had a hard act to follow," said Keith. "But it is a tribute to Alec that the club didn't feel the need to look around and sign someone, that he took his chance, and quickly became just as popular with the fans as Mike had been.
"All Alec's team-mates at Colchester knew he had a good future in the game, we knew he'd go on to play at the highest level, and that's of course, precisely what he did - playing in all four divisions.
Keith and Alec soon became good friends - a friendship that continued after both players left Colchester and continues to this day. Indeed, Keith was Best Man when Alec married Jane in 1987.
"Alec's a terrific guy and a great example to anyone who aspires to be a professional footballer," said Keith.
"He's been lucky during his career in that to a large extent he's avoided injuries, but quite simply he's been a very good goalkeeper and most importantly a very consistent goalkeeper for 22 years. The fact he's still good enough to play in Watford's first team approaching his 41st birthday says it all really.
"He trains hard, he leads a clean lifestyle, takes his work very seriously and looks after himself - and that's why he's had such a good career in the game, and that's why he's going to make such an excellent goalkeeping coach in the years to come.
"And maybe for all those reasons he's always been popular at all the clubs he's been at - from Colchester to Watford. Supporters appreciate players with Alec's honest attitude, and I know as someone who often comes along to Vicarage Road that he commands great respect from his team-mates and the Watford supporters.
"That loyalty and honesty is why his testimonial will be well supported - I know the supporters of Watford will want to pay tribute to all Alec's done during his time at Vicarage Road."
Written by Peter Jones, of the PR consultancy Red Alert Media.