Alex Rae

Where Are They Now: Alex Rae

by Ashley Houghton

Former midfielder making his way in coaching.

Former Sunderland midfielder Alex Rae played over 100 times for the Black Cats in his five years on Wearside.

He was part of the side that broke records in 1998-99 by winning Division One with 105 points scoring two goals in that campaign, both in a 7-0 thrashing of Oxford United.

And, though, Rae was sold to Wolverhampton Wanderers at the start of the 2001-02 Premiership campaign, he holds special memories of his time at the Stadium of Light.

I went to Wolves but I felt as if I had a lot more to give to Sunderland

- Alex Rae

“It was my fondest memory when we won the league and did the open top bus tour through town in front of 200,000 people.

“I went to Wolves but I felt as if I had a lot more to give to Sunderland.

“Obviously Peter Reid decided to accept the bid and as a player you tend to know that your writing is on the wall with that sort of thing.

“We just finished seventh and I’d played about 30-odd games in the Premiership so I’d played about nine-tenths of the games.

“I went to Wolves, though, and managed to win promotion for the first time in 20 years at the club.”

After leaving Wolves, Rae returned to his native Scotland and his boyhood club Rangers before moving on to Dundee as player-manager.

And the former Black Cat told that the move back home prepared him for his future in football.

“I went back to my boyhood team, which was Rangers, who I love with a passion, and I won the league there so it really did work well.

“I got kicked out of Rangers as a kid as an apprentice so it was full circle to go back there and win the league, you couldn’t make it up.

“Then I did a stint as a player-manager and I loved it, absolutely loved it - I loved the challenge of it all,” he explained.

“The first couple of seasons I had a 44% win rate and there’s not many who can boast that, even now.

“It was under very difficult circumstances because they [Dundee] had just come out of administration.

“I loved it that’s why I go up and down the country and I’m still involved in football now because it’s in my blood.

Playing is where it’s at and I don’t think, as a player, you appreciate what you have until it’s gone

- Rae looks back

“Even when I’m out of work I go and play 5-a-side with the journalists so I can give them a good kicking for some of the comments they made about me ten years ago.”

Since leaving Dundee, Rae has worked as a scout for different clubs before taking up a role as first-team coach under Paul Ince at Blackpool.

“I’m at Blackpool at the moment with Paul Ince, it’s a good job, and it’s good to be involved at that level but it doesn’t get anywhere near playing - playing is where it’s at and I don’t think, as a player, you appreciate what you have until it’s gone.

“Prior to getting back in at Blackpool I was doing a bit of scouting to get about and see all the levels but it’s not the coal face and the challenge of setting up a team and being organised and trying to get three points.

“I love the game, it’s brilliant, I hope to get the longevity in the game. I think it’s all about trying to stay in it and get to the highest level possible.”