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Cyril’s proud to have given Alec his big opportunity

The manager who gave Alec Chamberlain his big break in professional football says it is no surprise whatsoever that he is still holding his own in the Championship at 41.

Cyril Lea was Colchester United’s manager back in 1983, when he decided that Alec deserved a chance to prove himself – and said he was spot on with his judgement.

“When Alec arrived from Ipswich he came highly recommended and fulfilled all expectation,” said Cyril, who now works as a scout for Rushden and Diamonds.

“For the first year he was number two to Mike Walker, who was a Colchester legend, but was coming towards the end of his career. Mike still wanted to carry on, but I felt it was the right thing to give Alec a chance, and he never let me down.

“Mike was a hard act to follow, and had hardly missed a match for 10 years, but I made the right decision.

“Alec started the season as first choice, and took to it like duck to water,” said Cyril. “He became an excellent goalkeeper, and that has been proved in the moves he’s had during his career.

“It’s been no surprise to me that he went all the way to Division One, as it then was, with Luton, and was such an inspiration when Watford made it all the way to the Premiership.

“He’s a great character, and he has always worked hard – as a team player, and in looking after himself, and he still looks good now, and it’s a credit to him that he can still play for Watford in the Championship a month from his 41st birthday.

“I have many happy memories of working with Alec: he was modest, never big headed, and – as I say – he was hard working. If you work hard you can go all the way, and Alec got his rewards.

“I’m delighted for Alec and for his family that he’s been given a Testimonial by Watford, it’s thoroughly deserved and I wish him every success,” said Cyril.

“I also wish him every success for the future. I know he’s keen to do coaching, and I have no doubt he’ll be very good – he has lots to pass on to young goalkeepers, and he’ll command the utmost respect.”

Written by Peter Jones, of the PR consultancy Red Alert Media.

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