The community legacy left by Alan Slough
- Credit: Contributed
The sad passing of former Torquay United assistant manager and community hero Alan Slough prompted tributes from across the football world.
A top-class midfielder in his playing days, Slough represented Luton, Fulham, Peterborough United and Millwall before joining the Plainmoor ranks as assistant to Bruce Rioch in 1982.
Alan settled down to life in Torbay and became a huge community figure over the next three decades, teaching countless youngsters to play the beautiful game, along with his dedication to the Christian faith.
A proud family man, Alan’s wife Anne cared for him during a long battle with illness, and the outpouring of love and tributes to Anne, their two sons, Andy and Chris, daughters-in-law, plus six grandchildren is a measure of the respect and affection with which he was held.
“The tributes have been amazing, he was very well loved,” said Anne. “We have all been devastated but I said to the family that it is just wonderful to hear the things people have said about Alan.
“As a family, we can’t thank people enough.
“Both my sons have had so many messages that we could hardly keep up with it all. Family friends have been receiving messages as well and Alan would have loved that.
“Our two sons are in their 40s now and Chris has three boys, Charlie, Louie and Alfie. Andy has a step-son, Cameron, who is our grandson as well, and two little granddaughters, Eva and Lily - they all adored their grandad.”
After a glittering career in the professional game, Alan wanted to give something back to the sport he loved, running soccer schools across Torbay for the next generation of football enthusiasts.
They became the stuff of legend, often with his sons helping out on the side, and many phrases that became part of the Alan Slough coaching philosophy, none better than ‘show me your silky skills’.
Football is definitely in the genes, as grandson Louie is taking his first steps in the professional game with Torquay United.
“Alan used to run the soccer schools all over the place,” said Anne. “The main one was at the YMCA, Chris and Andy would help out, and also our grandsons when they got older.
“He coached so many youngsters in Torbay and even when he went into hospital recently after a funny turn, the doctor who rang me for an update actually said that Alan used to teach him football.
“A doctor at our local surgery also said the same when we went to see him a year ago because Alan was battling a form of Parkinson’s Disease.
“Quite often, we would be walking down the street and people would come over and say ‘hello Alan, do you remember me, I used to attend your soccer schools’.
“For a long time, the parents he had taught in the past would then bring their kids for coaching.
“He also ran a soccer school at Windmill Hill in Torquay, one at the English Riviera Centre in the summer holidays, residentials at schools and teaching with South Devon College.
“Eventually, illness meant he had to pack it in, which was a real shame.”
Along with his amazing contribution to football as a player and coach, Alan was a dedicated Christian and founded the Christians in Sport football team, who played in the South Devon League, with Alan still the best player on the pitch, despite being much older than many of his opponents.
“We are both Christians, attending Preston Baptist Church, which is where the funeral will be,” said Anne. “He loved playing for Christians in Sport, and both our sons played in the same team, which was really special for Alan.
“He ran that team for a few years and Fred Stapleton, a lovely Christian man, helped Alan as well. It was a special time for all of us.”
From the whole of Torbay to Alan Slough, thank-you for so many amazing memories.