Published: 08/09/2010 00:00 - Updated: 22/11/2011 09:49

Alex went south and came back a cult hero

Alex Wilson
Alex Wilson

ALTYRE pensioner Alex Wilson, whose professional football career spanned almost two decades, has died aged 76.

Mr Wilson spent almost all of his career at Portsmouth FC and is best-remembered by fans of the club for scoring the goal which saved them from relegation in 1965.

Born in Buckie in 1933, he was a keen football fan and played regularly for Buckie Thistle. It was whilst playing for the Jags that he was spotted by scouts from Portsmouth.

He signed for the Fratton Park club after he left school in 1949 and moved to the Hampshire city. The club put him in lodgings with a fellow Scottish player and, as well as his football apprenticeship, also put him through training as a panel beater with a local car firm.

He played mainly at left-back but was also regarded as being a capable right-back.

At the time, Portsmouth were the reigning First Division champions and they retained this title in the 1949-50 season. Pompey continued to be a strong side in the early 1950s and Mr Wilson was part of the sides which finished fourth in 1952 and third in 1955.

It was in this period that he won his first and only Scotland cap when he was part of a side which beat Finland 2-1 in Helsinki.

He was named in the squad for the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland but, as a reserve player, did not travel to the tournament.

Portsmouth's fortunes changed in the late 1950s. The club was relegated to the Second Division in 1959 and then to the Third in 1961.

However, Mr Wilson still enjoyed some notable successes at the club.

He was a key member of the side which won the Third Division title in 1962.

In 1965 he had what many Pompey fans consider to be his finest moment with the club..

On the last day of the season, Portsmouth were 1-0 down to Northampton and facing relegation when in the 86th minute Mr Wilson scored the goal which drew the game and kept them in the Second Division.

He stayed at the club until 1967 when he left following testimonial games with Arsenal and Stoke City. In total he spent 18 years at Fratton Park, making 381 appearances.

However, his love of playing football remained. He spent one season at Essex club Chelmsford City, helping them to take the Southern League championship, and regularly made himself available for amateur and charity games.

After leaving professional football he went into the printing industry. It was through this work that he met his wife Doreen, a native of Gosport, whom he married in 1977.

Mr Wilson returned to the North in 1988 and settled in Altyre. He enjoyed life in the area and was a keen gardener, runner and member of Forres Accordion and Fiddle Club. He was also an animal lover and kept peacocks as well as a duck and a cat.

He died on July 28 after a long fight with Alzheimer's disease and his funeral was in Inverness on August 6. He is survived by his wife and two children from a previous marriage.

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