So proud of 'brilliant' Andy AlleyneBy Mike Pyle
June 28, 2012
The family of “brilliant husband, brilliant father, brilliant granddad” Andy Alleyne say they have been touched by the messages of support following the former Royals player’s death last week.
Mr Alleyne was the first black man ever to play for Reading and cemented his place in the history books by scoring a goal from the halfway line on his debut.
The Calcot man died last week, aged just 61, after a lengthy battle against cancer, leaving his wife Maureen, sons Adrian, Andrew and Anthony and daughter Tia.
Mrs Alleyne said: “Walking through town everyone’s been saying, ‘we’re so sorry’. We’ve lost a really good person and all his friends that have come round, they say they’ve lost a really dear, valuable friend. I read the comments on the getreading website and it makes you cry but it warms your heart.
“He was brilliant around the home. He would always give the children sound advice which has stood them in good stead.
“He was a brilliant husband, a brilliant father and a brilliant granddad – he only just had his first grandchild, he was over the moon with that.”
Mr Alleyne was born in Barbados but came to the UK to live in Bath when he was a child. He then moved to Reading and grew up in Tilehurst, going to Coley Primary School, Oxford Road Community School and Alfred Sutton Boys School.
School friend Trevor Prince told the Reading Post: “He was always a genius at sport. We were a very good sporting year at Alfred Sutton but he stood out. I played football with him all the way through and he was a genuine nice lad.
“He had blistering pace. He played front in those days. He was an inside forward, we didn’t really have midfielders then.”
Mr Alleyne was always a keen sportsman and played football and rugby to a high standard. He got his big break at Reading FC in 1972 and won his place in fans’ hearts by scoring a free kick from the halfway line on his debut against Southport.
Mrs Alleyne said: “It was brilliant. To see it the next day in the Post – ‘new boy saves the day, scores from 50 yards’ – he loved that.”
Mr Alleyne, who was just 5ft 5in tall and got the nickname ‘Pocket Rocket’ played for Reading as a right back from 1972 to 1976. After that he went on to play for several other local teams including Wokingham Town, South Reading, Dee Road and others.
He was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 on a trip to Barbados where he and Mrs Alleyne had been hoping to get a house.
His son Anthony said: “He tried to get his point across to us – he knew the end was coming and he tried to get us ready for the worst.
“We just said, ‘no, no, no – you’ll carry on for ages’, but if he hadn’t done the things he did we’d all be chasing our tails now, we wouldn’t know what to do without him.”
People from all over Reading have paid tribute to Mr Alleyne. Robert Cluston said: “My gran lived next door to the Alleynes and when I visited it was a joy to be allowed to go next door and play footy.
“Lovely family, always about the family and ready to help gran and granddad anytime. My thoughts go out to the Alleyne family.”
Trevor Chivers said: “We played football together at several local sides through the years including Newbury Town and Reading Argyle.
“It was while we were at Reading Argyle that one of my fondest memories of Andy occurred – it was Sunday morning at Prospect Park and Spike Gardener was taking charge of the team.
“We all met in the changing rooms at 10am and by 10.20am Andy had not made an appearance. Spike announced the team, a few minutes later in walked Andy.
“The conversation went as follows – ‘Morning.’ says Andy. ‘Morning Andy, you’re late,’ says Spike. ‘I’m here now,’ says Andy. ‘I’ve just announced the team, Andy, and as you weren’t here you’re sub,’ says Spike. ‘Well, un-sub me, man,’ says Andy.
“And if my memory serves me correctly Spike did just that!”
A service will be held in Mr Alleyne’s memory at The Reading Globe in Portman Road, West Reading, from 1pm on Wednesday, July 4.