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Alex Stepney

Alex was a Mitcham lad who came through the Tooting Colts and Reserves at the time of the great Terrors side of 1958-59 which all but beat Nottingham Forest at Sandy Lane in the never to be forgotten FA Cup third round proper tie.


In the 1960-61 season he had moved up to the Second Team and had 24 outings for them. In the second half of the 1961-62 campaign he made 14 appearances for the First Eleven. His last season at Sandy Lane was in 1962-63, where he played 47 times, but also suffered the worst injury of his career when he broke his wrist at Kingstonian. In those days there were no substitutes and Alex played on the wing for half of the match.


In his final season he received Cup Winners medals in two minor cup competitions namely the Surrey Senior Shield Final which was carried over from the previous campaign where Woking were defeated 2-1 at Sandy Lane and the Surrey Invitation Cup Final which was also carried over from 1961-62 when Guildford City were beaten 4-2 (aet) also at Sandy Lane. Alex also went close to lifting the Isthmian League Championship that season but we had to settle for third place with near neighbours Wimbledon the Champions. He also played in the club’s record victory which came in February 1963 against Welton Rovers a 11-0 home victory in an Amateur Cup second round tie.

In the close season he turned professional with Millwall, as a token of goodwill Millwall sent a team to Sandy Lane to face Tooting & Mitcham. A small price to pay for such an outstanding talent. After three seasons at the Den he moved to Chelsea for a record fee for a goalkeeper at the time. Alex was only at Stamford Bridge for a few months and then moved to Manchester United in May 1966 for a then world record fee for a goalkeeper.


He would win the League Championship with the Reds in 1967 and the European Cup the following season when they beat Benfica at Wembley. His one England Cap came at Wembley in 1968 in a 3-1 victory against Sweden. He was also third choice keeper in the 1970 England World Cup squad.  He left Manchester United in 1979 and went onto do a variety of things. Alex Stepney would come back to the Club in April 2008 to be Guest Speaker at the Club Dinner to celebrate Tooting & Mitcham’s 75th anniversary.

Article written by Ian Bullock TMUFC Members Club Vice President

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