Report by George Clandon, Burscough Richmond FC

A Burscough ‘sporting legend’ was remembered last week with St John’s RC church full for the funeral of Alex Blakeman.

Skilled both on the football and cricket field, the service on Friday was so well attended that dozens of people stood outside the church listening via speakers provided by the church.

A devoted family man, Alex, 60, was married to Mary, and father of four children -
Christopher, Liam, Adam and Charlotte.

He was the son-in-law of Larry Carberry, the former Ipswich Town player, who sadly passed away a couple of years ago.

Paying tribute, son Chris said: “After his family, dad’s other passion was football. The words I would use to describe dad as a footballer are ‘determined and dedicated’ and he represented Kirkby Boys and Lancashire as a youngster.

“He was also the only player to span three decades with Burscough. He first played for The Linnets in the 1977-78 season, then through the 80’s - although not continuously - and began the 1990-91 season with the club. He remembered a period when he went over two years without missing a game!

“During his time there, he played twice in the FA Cup 1st round both times ending up in goal, once against Sheffield United in front of over 14,000 spectators.

“Alex was part of the 1st Liverpool Team to win the F.A. Sunday Cup with the ‘Lobster’ in 1979, he scored in the final. He always spoke fondly of the camaraderie and togetherness amongst the team both on and off the pitch.

“He played for various other local clubs - Skelmersdale United, Formby and Maghull to name a few - but it didn’t matter what colour he was wearing, you always knew you would get 100% with Al.

“He made so many friends and memories through football, he would always know a familiar face from his playing days when watching one of the lads play.

“The numerous messages I have received from ex-players of the local junior football team Dynamo Burscough for which dad coached all fondly recall the standards and dedication dad set which they have used not just in football but also into their adult life. We have some special memories of those times especially weeks away at Butlins - it was a real community club which Al was at the heart of.

“Dad was player and then coach at Burscough Richmond which seen the club become one of the most successful teams in the league's history and is a reputation which is still continuing today.

“Alex also coached for several seasons at Southport Reserves.

“Whilst football was his first sporting love dad could also turn his hand to cricket Dad loved talking about his days playing for Burscough Cricket Club at Rees Park and later spending the afternoon at the new ground watching the club develop.

He was described as a feisty player who went for the runs, definitely not a Geoffrey Boycott!