A true Falkirk FC legend and great man to boot

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Despite my devotion to the mighty Falkirk Bairns I usually avoid writing about the boys in navy blue because my friend Michael White is the main man when it comes to local football history.

In addition, I normally write about folk when they are long gone and not still in harness, but this week I am making an exception because the man in question is exceptional in every way. Step forward Alex Totten, a man whose career I have followed since the 1960s admiring not only his service to Scottish football but especially to the team and town of Falkirk.

Alex first kicked a ball in his home village of Dennyloanhead inspired by the great Alex Parker, right back in the 1957 cup winning team and surely Falkirk’s greatest ever player. Like me, young Alex was at Hampden that day but he was dreaming of emulating his hero.

Playing for Denny High School he made a great start by winning several schoolboy caps for Scotland which brought many signing offers including one from Manchester United.

But it was Liverpool, then beginning a rise to fame and fortune, that won the race and in 1960 Alex came under the guidance of the great Bill Shankly.

It was a team full of stars and although he found it impossible to break into the first team what he learned in his years at Anfield prepared him for all that was to follow.

He returned to Scotland in 1964 playing for Dundee and then Dunfermline, both teams enjoying great success, before signing for his boyhood Brockville heroes in 1969 in the great team managed by Willie Cunningham including Tiger McLaughlin, John Markie, Jim Shirra and of course ‘Fergie’ who like Alex Parker became a lifelong friend.

A spell with Queen of the South followed and then in 1980 it was off to Alloa as player, then manager at the early age of 34.

A very good footballer he went on to become a great manager progressing his career at many clubs and bringing success to every one he managed.

Success with the Wasps brought him to the attention of his old Brockville employers and he returned to manage the part-time Bairns Falkirk for the first time in 1982. while continuing to work as a sales representative with Goodyear.

His reputation continued to grow and after rescuing the Bairns he was lured to Ibrox by manager Jock Wallace as his assistant.

It was a full-time post at one of the biggest clubs in the land with more than a hint that he was being groomed for the Manager’s chair.

Two great years followed before the David Murray and Souness revolution changed everything and Alex was once again on the move.

The next decade brought very successful spells at St Johnstone, where he was named Premiership Manager of the Year in 1991, and then Kilmarnock before his return to Brockville in 1996 for a second period as Falkirk manager which included the move from Brockville to Westfield and another bitter sweet moment in 1997 when a famously kilted Alex watched his brave Bairns fall 1-0 to Kilmarnock in the Cup Final.

After six very successful years Alex was appointed Director of Football and later Commercial Manager, a job he still does today. In the year 2000 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by Falkirk fans, the only person ever to be honoured in this way.

These last 23 years in his “spiritual home” have certainly cemented his reputation as one of the greatest ever servants of this great club - a true Falkirk legend and a great man. Happy Birthday Alex, and many more of them.