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Former England centre half Terry Butcher first met Alec when the two of them were at Ipswich Town together.
Terry was just establishing himself as a formidable centre half for Ipswich and England, Alec was a young goalkeeper, who clearly made an impression with the first teamers at Portman Road, even though he never played alongside them.
Indeed, such was the impression Alec made, Terry signed him when he was made manager of Sunderland in 1992.
"I always rated him as an excellent 'keeper, no doubt about it, and when I heard he was available I had no hesitation in signing him," said Terry, now Motherwell's manager and a BBC football pundit.
"I'd obviously known him at Ipswich, and followed his progress when he moved to Colchester United, which was just down the road, and was delighted that he'd quickly established himself in the team and made the goalkeeping position his own after Mike Walker retired.
"He then did really well at Luton, so as I say, I had no hesitation in making him an offer to come and play for me at Sunderland, and he didn't let me down at all."
So what, in Terry's opinion, has made Alec such a special player over 20 years?
"That's easy - he's a terrific player, he's a level headed character, he's always looked after himself well, he has a great attitude, and he comes from a lovely family. All in all, a top class professional.
"He was a great player to have in the dressing room, he's quite a character, and commands enormous respect," said Terry. "As a manager he's one of those players you can hang your hat on - you know he'll never let you down.
And Terry is among the many former colleagues who has given his full support to Alec's testimonial year.
"I'm delighted he's been awarded a testimonial by Watford, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy, and I wish him every success. He deserves it."
Written by Peter Jones, of the PR consultancy Red Alert Media.