FORMER Spalding United chairman Alan Porter has led the tributes to ex-Tulip Keith Alexander, who died on Wednesday.
The footballing world was shocked by the sudden death of Macclesfield Town boss Alexander, who passed away after arriving home from a League Two match at Notts County.
Porter, who was Spalding supremo during the 53-year-old's sole season at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field in 1982/83, said it was an honour to have known such a great man.
He said: "Like everybody else I'm shocked and saddened to hear of Keith's passing.
"He was one of the most valued and experience players to have ever played for Spalding during my time as chairman.
"Keith was a lovely guy both on and off the field and will be sorely missed by a lot of people."
Alexander formed a lethal strike partnership with soon-to-be Leeds United striker Carl Shutt in his only Spalding season.
The frontman scored a total of 18 goals in the Northern Counties (East) League as the Tulips won 25 of their 53 matches.
He was also St Lucian international, scored the winning goal for Stamford in their FA Vase win at Wembley in 1980 and acted as an expert for BBC Radio Lincolnshire over the years.
His impressive career also led to spells with Boston United, Barnet, Grimsby, Stockport, Lincoln City and Mansfield before he took over as Lincoln manager for the first time in 1993.
After spells with Ilkeston and Northwich, he returned to Sincil Bank in 2002 with the club in administration and on the verge of folding, and led them to four successive League Two play-off campaigns - the only manager to achieve that feat.
In November 2003 he collapsed with a double aneurysm, revealing afterwards that he had to be brought back to life three times.
Alexander left Lincoln by mutual consent shortly after a defeat against Grimsby in 2006 and moved to Peterborough United, but left in January 2007.
He took the position of director of football at Bury before being appointed Macclesfield manager in February 2008, agreeing a two-year contract extension in January of this year.
Fondly loved by the footballing world, the England national side sported black armbands during their 3-1 Wembley win over Egypt last Wednesday night as a mark of respect to his passing.
That feeling was summed up by Lincoln chairman Steff Wright, who said: "Keith was an absolute professional, a gentleman, but more than anything else Keith was a great guy."