Alec Graham - from boy supporter to general manager
Last updated at 20:46, Thursday, 16 August 2012
What began as a birthday present quickly turned into a love affair for Workington Reds’ new general manager Alec Graham.
Back then, on November 16, 1968, seeing Brian Tinnion and Billy Griffin score in a 2-0 FA Cup win over Suncthorpe Utd, was enough to see the kid from Portinscale instantly hooked.
But it wasn’t easy for the young man to follow football as his dad Gordon, an avid angler, preferred trout fishing to watching 22 men kicking a ball.
Although Alec himself enjoyed spending hours with his dad trying to land their tea, his real passion was always what went on between 3pm and 5pm on a Saturday at Borough Park.
“I have always loved football,” says the man charged with improving Workington’s off-field position.
“But we only had a black and white telly when I was growing up, and in the Lake District the reception was poor.
“It made watching Match of the Day very difficult. You could hardly see the picture.
“I pestered my dad for a long time to take me to a game, and for one birthday we went.
“It was a special time to see a real football match live, and I knew then that Workington were my team.
“The atmosphere was something I had never experienced.”
From that winning start to life at Borough Park, Alec has gone on to hold numerous positions at the club.
Starting as secretary of the National Supporters’ Club during his days studying history and politics at De Montfort University, he moved up to the boardroom six years ago.
Director with responsibility for working with the press and looking after visiting officials on match days was a position that Alec held until he quit earlier this month to take over as general manager. He also left a job working for car dealer Arnold Clark to help improve Workington’s off-field standing.
The new position will see him work closely with potential sponsors in an effort to bring revenue into the club.
He will also work from Borough Park throughout the day, with an emphasis on administration, but Alec’s primary challenge is the project that will see a new stand built. Meeting with Allerdale council chiefs about lease issues is a priority.
Alec says: “I didn’t want to leave the board of directors, but it is something I had to do.
“I couldn’t be a director and an employee, because then it gets complicated.
“Being general manager is a great opportunity to do something positive for the club I have supported all my life.
“I am Workington Reds through and through, and will do my best to achieve my goals.
“Working on the plans for a new stand is very important, because this will be an incredible legacy for the club.
“There is still some way to go in terms of securing the funding, but that will come once our lease for Borough Park is agreed and signed.
“The club is in the middle of important talks with the council, but things are coming together.
“We are entering an exciting time for this football club, but with a lack of modern facilities, we are at a disadvantage to other clubs in this league.
“Once the stand is built we can generate significantly more money through renting rooms for functions, which will bring us closer to the clubs we are competing with.”
Another objective is to increase the level of support for Reds on the terraces.
At a time when support for local butchers and bakers is at an all-time high, Alec is urging more people to get down to matches.
“There is nothing better than supporting your local club and being at a match,” he says.
“The manager and players are not untouchable at this level, which is part of the charm.
“Supporting Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool is easy, but it really means something to be part of a non-league crowd.
“The standard of football is great, the atmosphere can be exciting, and helping your local club, can make a real difference.”
Workington kick off their new season at home to Stalybridge Celtic tomorrow (3pm ko).
An adult ticket is £12, with U16s paying £5 and concessions £7.
First published at 19:22, Thursday, 16 August 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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