Obituary: Alex Main, highly-respected Highland journalist and football manager

Journalist and football manager Alex Main has died at the age of 86
Journalist and football manager Alex Main has died at the age of 86
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A Highland personality who was one of the best reporters in the area as well as a highly successful football manager has died at the age of 86.

Alex Main was the doyen of the Highland Press world and won 14 trophies as manager of former Highland League side Caledonian.

Married to Ella, he has two sons, Alan and Richard and two grandchildren, Nicolas and Leah.

Alex began his career in journalism in 1947 with the Inverness Courier and went on to work for the Highland News, Football Times, Press and Journal, Daily Mail, ­Daily Express, the Scotsman and finally back to the Courier. He retired on 25 April 1997.

He is a former winner of the Barron Trophy, which recognises lifetime achievement in journalism. He was also awarded life membership of the National Union of Journalists. He was a keen golfer and a former captain of ­Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club.

However, he was probably best known for his football exploits. He was a left sided half back with both Inverness Clachnacuddin and Caley, beginning his footballing career with Clach Rangers.

He was a member of the ­Caledonian FC Committee before emerging as manager of the club. He went on to win an impressive 14 trophies, including four league titles. With his writing skills, he wrote a history of Caledonian FC in 1986 – Caley All the Way – The First Hundred Years.

Gordon Fyfe, chairman of the Highlands and Islands Media Awards judging panel, knew Alex as a fellow journalist, golf partner and as a player under Alex at Caledonian for ten years.

He said: “Alex was focused on being the best at everything he did, from his journalism to his golf and his football.

“His 50 years of service to journalism in the Highlands and Islands is without equal. His fairness, accuracy, impressive network of contacts and nose for a story singled him out as a top reporter.

“His success as a football manager was entirely down to his good judgement of players, creating a great team spirit on and off the pitch and his fairness and loyalty to his players. He loved to win, but always with style and a sense of fair play. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”

John Ross, chairman of the Highlands and Islands Press Ball and former Highlands and Islands correspondent with The Scotsman, said: “Alex was one of the finest journalists in an era of fierce competitiveness in the newspaper industry. He was hugely respected by his colleagues, but also those he wrote about.

“Such was his contribution to journalism in the Highlands and Islands, he was made an honorary member of the Press Ball. There is also a trophy presented annually in his honour to encourage and reward young journalists and promote the high standards of accuracy, fairness and balance for which Alex was known.”

Under Alex, Caledonian won the Highland League in 1976-77, 77-78 and again in 1981-82, 1982-83.

The club won the Rothman’s Football Yearbook non-league team of the year in 1981-82. In 1982-83 they won 23 and drew seven games in being undefeated in winning the title.

Alex’s most able lieutenant was skipper Peter Corbett, whom he signed from Clachnacuddin in 1976.

Peter, who went on to ­manage Caley during a 14-year association with the club, described Alex as one of the most successful managers in the history of the Highland League.

He said: “His record of success was unbelievable. He was old school – a real gent. His approach was simple. He knew a good player, he was organised, he was firm but always fair and he allowed the players to express themselves on the park. I cannot thank him enough for the success he brought to Caledonian. He will be fondly remembered by everyone associated with the club.”