top of page

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 stayed at the club in his full-time role as ambassador at City in the Community (CITC). As a champion of the community, he inspired back street kids like him to turn their lives around through City’s pioneering charity programme. Alex retired in 2023, after 33 years with the charity.

Alex Williams, 1983

Alex keeping goal against Man Utd in 1989

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 Williams

Alex Williams-1983.jpg

Photography by Hixem Barbudo Garcia and Fernando Ruiz-Galvez

Alex was awarded the MBE in the 2002 New Year’s Honours list for his services to young people. In 2023 his autobiography, 'You Saw Me Standing Alone' was published. The book depicts his lonely battle against racists who targeted one of the game’s first modern-day black goalkeepers.


Alex Williams - Autobiography

THE SHOOT: Manchester City Academy Stadium

The base for the club's community project work

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-Students-1.jpg

Hixem, Alex & Fernando

Related links:

bottom of page