Alex Wilson - Loyal Servant
Posted on 21st Apr 2023 by David Taylor
Alexander Wilson was born on 29 October 1933 in Buckie in North East Scotland and joined Pompey straight from school. He travelled to Portsmouth in 1949 for a trial and he made his debut, replacing the injured Jimmy Dickinson, at Derby back in October 1951 – it was not a happy day as Pompey were thrashed 5-0, That was followed by a 2-2 draw at the Dell in a Hampshire Senior Cup tie two days later.
Alex who could play in both full back roles would not be selected for the first team again until he made his Fratton Park debut against Derby County at Christmas 1952. His chances were few and far between in those early days as Pompey were well provided with full backs – Jimmy Stephen, Harry Ferrier, Phil Gunter, Tommy McGhee and Jack Mansell are names that roll off the tongue and Alex waited patiently for his chance.
However after only a couple of dozen games he was surprisingly named in the Scotland squad for the World Cup finals in Switzerland in 1954.
He actually played just once for his native country against Finland in a warm up game for those finals on 25th May. Scotland won the game 2-1 in Helsinki – Jackie Henderson was in the same squad.
Because of the Scottish FA’s lack of money they only took thirteen players to the finals and Alex was left at home on standby.
It was not until the 1957/58 season that Alex made a regular first team spot his own after eight years at the club and by the time he made his final appearance at Derby in April 1967 he had played 352 league games (381 in total). He then played a few games for Chelmsford in the Southern League before retiring. He was rewarded for his loyalty with a well deserved joint testimonial with Johnny Gordon.
Alex served the club for eighteen years and only Jimmy Dickinson and Alan Knight come to mind as having longer one club careers at Pompey.
Alex scored just four league goals for the club and one of those would mark the high spot of his career. It came at the County Ground, Northampton on 24th April 1965 when needing a point to avoid relegation against the already promoted Cobblers Alex struck a late equaliser to save the day. It was more the special as this was Jimmy Dickinson’s final Pompey outing and his teammates were desperate that it was not marked by relegation to the Third Division.
There are famous pictures of Jim being chaired off the pitch supported by the familiar blonde mop of Alex and mobbed by ecstatic fans.
I had the pleasure of meeting Alex all those years ago and saw him play on many occasions in the 60’s. I will remember him for being two footed but mostly his neat appearance on the pitch when others went for the more scruffy look. Thanks for the memories Alex.
Alex passed away on 29th July 2010 aged seventy six after suffering ill health. His funeral was held in Inverness on 7th August.