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Club News

MINUTE'S APPLAUSE TO HONOUR ALEX TAIT

29 January 2019

ON Saturday Burton Albion will pay tribute to former Brewers player-manager Alex Tait who passed away recently aged 85.

There will be a minute’s applause prior to kick off to honour an important figure in the club’s history.

A talented forward, Tait played for Newcastle United, Bristol City and Doncaster Rovers before he finished his career with three seasons with Burton Albion.

Described as “carroty-mopped, skilful and full of dash” Alex became a part-time professional at Newcastle United in 1951 at the age of 18, combining playing with training to be a school teacher and sports coach.

He became the first player from the North East to appear for the England youth side, netting four goals in a 6-0 victory over Wales in March 1952.

He made his full Newcastle United debut in 1954/55 season. It wasn’t though until the 1956/7 season that he made a real impression after getting a run in the side in place of centre forward John Keeble.

He is one of only three players to have netted a hat-trick for Newcastle in derby games against Sunderland, the other two being Peter Beardsley and Kevin Nolan.

But in 1960 Tait, frustrated at the lack of opportunities at Newcastle, left for Bristol City where he enjoyed the most productive spell of his career scoring 44 goals in 136 appearances.

He had a season at Doncaster Rovers in 1964/5 before being signed by Peter Taylor at Burton Albion in the summer of 1965. When Taylor left to join up with Brian Clough at Hartlepool soon after, Tait was handed the manager’s role.

Inheriting a strike forced that consisted of the legendary Stan Round and Richie Barker, Tait took Albion to a third-place finish in the Southern League First Division winning promotion to the Southern Premier.

Round scored 59 goals that season, Barker 56 but Tait chipped in with 13 – five of them coming crucially in May to secure promotion.

Under Tait, Albion were unbeaten at home all season and scored 121 goals in 46 games.

Playing against some of the giants of non-league football, Albion were always going to struggle in the Premier Division, but the Brewers held their heads above water with a 15th place finish in 1966/67 with Tait playing 40 times and chipping in with seven goals.

But with financial woes restricting Tait’s options it would prove even harder for the Brewers in the 1967/68 season and Albion would only just avoid relegation. Tait, who played 33 times that campaign decided to call it a day and Ian King took over as manager.

In total Tait made 120 appearances for the Brewers in three seasons, and presided over a promotion and two years in non-league’s top flight.

After retiring from football, Tait lived in Tutbury and went on to become deputy headmaster at Allestree Woodlands School.

Alex Tait (far right) is pictured in the summer of 1966 with his new signings Pat Edwards, Fred Potter and Gerry Carver.


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