City has renamed a pitch at the CFA in honour of former goalkeeper, Alex Williams MBE, before his retirement.

Following his successful playing career, Williams became Head of City in the Community (CITC) in 1990, shaping the charity into one of the largest and most impactful football foundations in the country.

‘The Alex Williams Community Pitch’ has been unveiled in celebration of the positive impact Williams has had across Greater Manchester for over 33 years, and the legacy his work leaves behind.

Known for its bright blue colour, the chosen pitch is already home to many of City in the Community football programmes and is the only area of the City Football Academy with public access.

The surprise plaque unveiling took place during a Soccer School session with local youngsters front and centre.

Commenting on the day, Williams said: “It was a total surprise! I knew they’d have one or two things lined up for me to do, but I never could have imagined that they’d rename a pitch here at the City Football Academy after me – and of all of them it’s the blue community pitch, which is really fitting! I’m honoured.

“Over the 30-odd years we’ve given many opportunities to local young people and it’s nice to know that this pitch will be part of providing more opportunities in the future.

“I’m just very humbled and it’s great to know it’ll be here for years to come.”

Following retirement from his full-time role at City in the Community, Williams will take on a non-executive role as Life President for the charity, meaning he is welcome at any meeting or event of his choosing.

City has also announced that it will be dedicating it home fixture against Fulham on Saturday to Williams in thanks. Activities will include an on-pitch presentation with a guard of honour, made up of local children, before kick-off.

Born in Moss Side, Manchester, Williams has devoted over three decades to improving the lives of people in Greater Manchester, during which time he has helped to grow the charity from a team of just 12, to an outfit of over 100.

Williams’ work and dedication to charity was recognised with his award of the MBE in 2002, presented by now King Charles III. He has also maintained a special relationship with the Official Supporters Club, travelling the country to support their meetings and fundraising efforts.

City Football Group’s Group Chief Operating Officer, Roel de Vries, recognises the impact Alex has had in Manchester, and the legacy he will leave, commenting: “Manchester City was built upon community values and, for 33 years, Alex Williams has personified the heartbeat of our Club.

“His impact across this city is beyond measure and I know that his legacy, along with the stories told by the people whose lives he has changed, will continue for many years to come.

“I speak on behalf of the whole of Manchester City when I say, thank you, Alex. Thank you for your compassion, your vision, and your commitment to our community.

“We wish Alex all the best for his retirement.”

Before joining City in the Community, Williams’ successful playing career began at Manchester City in 1979, where he helped the Club to two Youth Cup finals and became a key member of the England side that won the UEFA U21 trophy. He was voted as a member of the PFA Team of the Year in 1984 and aided the Club’s promotion back to the top tier the following year.

In conversation with Alex Williams | Man City podcast

After spells with Queen of the South and Port Vale, Alex retired from playing and set up the community programme at Port Vale. Alex returned to Manchester City in 1990 to formalise and lead the Club’s community programme; he has remained at the forefront ever since.

General Secretary of the Manchester City Official Supporters Club, Kevin Parker, added: “To City fans of a certain age, and I am one of them, Alex has always been what City in the Community is all about. Alex was the reason the Official Supporters Clubs increased our membership fees to give £1 per member to CITC fundraising; just one example of how he has tangibly grown our charity.

“For me, he is Mr Manchester City and is very much worthy of all the praise and thanks he receives.

“Enjoy your retirement Alex and thank you from everyone at the Official Supporters Clubs.”

The Club and City in the Community wish to thank Alex and his wife Julie for all that they have done to support so many people and over such an extended period and wish Alex well in his well-earned retirement.

Earlier this month, Alex Williams released his autobiography. You Saw Me Standing Alone depicts his lonely battle against racists who targeted one of the game’s first modern-day black goalkeepers.

You Saw Me Standing Alone is available from priced at £15. Part of proceeds will be donated to City in the Community.

For more information about CITC, visit