ALEX WILLIAMS MBE: former Manchester City goalkeeper and community ambassador

Photography by: Hixem Barbudo Garcia and Fernando Ruiz-Galvez

Words by Harry Potts


Alex Williams-Harry-1
Alex Williams MBE
Alex Williams-1983
Alex Williams, 1983

Alex Williams was born in Moss Side in 1961, a stone’s throw away from Manchester City’s Maine Road ground. He signed for his local club in 1979. After gaining England youth honours he made his first team debut aged just 19 in 1981 and thus became the first black goalkeeper to appear in the top flight of English football. He made 125 league and cup appearances for Manchester City before Alex was forced to retire from football with s reoccurring back injury in 1987.

Alex is still at the club in the role as a ‘City in the Community Ambassador’.


“This Club changed my life. After more than 120 appearances for Manchester City as a goalkeeper, I retired from football and started my job with City in the Community so I could use the same football club that changed my life to make a positive impact on the lives of other local Manchester people.”


Alex was awarded the MBE in the 2002 New Years Honours list for his services to young people.

Alex Williams-Fernando-2
English football’s first top flight black goalkeeper


Alex Williams & Students
Hixem, Alex and Fernando

Student reflection: Fernando Ruiz-Galvez

“This Greater Mancunians photography experience with Alex Williams at the Manchester City Academy, was a fabulous opportunity to gain valuable industry experience. As a passionate follower of football, it was a privilege to work with someone who has been such a positive role model for young people across the city. Alex was really supportive of our project and a pleasure to work with.”


Alex Williams-Hixem-1
Alex Williams – ‘City Till I Die’
© All images – The Manchester College (unless otherwise stated)


Related links:

Manchester City – Sporting Heroes

Blue Moon – Statistics

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