Alex Russell, probably best remembered in Devon for his time at Torquay United, made around forty appearances for Exeter City as the club won promotion from League Two and consolidated in League One. Originally on the books of Liverpool Alex, the son of a well-known lower-division footballer of the 1960s and 1970s, had also played for the likes of Rochdale, Cambridge United and Bristol City before arriving at St James’ Park. He later coached at Tranmere Rovers and Oldham Athletic prior to moving to Australia.
Alex is the son of Alex Russell senior who appeared in the Football League for Crewe, Tranmere, Blackburn and - most notably - Southport between 1963 and 1974. Alex junior, born towards the end of his father’s second spell at Southport, was briefly associated with Liverpool before moving into non-league with Morecambe and Burscough ahead of joining Rochdale for £4,000 in July 1994. After four seasons at Spotland, including a brief loan spell in Northern Ireland with Glenavon, Alex had clocked-up over a hundred league appearances when joining Cambridge United in August 1998. Helping his new club gain promotion in his first season, Alex made 81 league appearances in three seasons contributing eight goals along the way.
Joining his former manager Roy McFarland at Torquay United in August 2001, Alex enjoyed the most productive phase of his career at Plainmoor making over 150 league appearances and emerging as a key performer when the Gulls won promotion in 2004. Ready for the biggest move of his career, Alex agreed a deal with Bristol City in June 2005 where, after an injury-hit first campaign, he helped the Robins win promotion to the Championship in 2007. After a couple of Championship appearances, Alex had loan stints at Northampton and Cheltenham before agreeing a permanent deal with the Gloucestershire club in June 2008.
With Cheltenham facing relegation from League One, and Alex seeking a new club for 2009/10, he arrived at St James’ Park on loan in February 2009. Making his Grecians debut against Darlington on 28 February, Alex played a further six times up until the end of March 2009 as City moved towards eventual promotion from League Two.
Signing a permanent deal in July 2009, Alex scored Exeter’s goal in the opening day defeat at Leeds and went on to make 32 competitive appearances during the club’s first season In League One.
Now aged thirty-seven, Alex left Exeter City in May 2010 and, after a trial with New England Revolution, appeared for Bath City before making a Football League comeback with Yeovil Town. After a farewell appearance against Hartlepool in April 2011, Alex returned to Bath City for a season in the Conference before playing for Clevedon Town and entering coaching at Bristol City. He then worked with Rob Edwards at Tranmere Rovers and Lee Johnson at Oldham Athletic ahead of returning to his roots with a coaching stint at Southport. Next, moving back to Bristol, Alex worked for ex-Bristol City and Exeter City player Joe Burnell’s letting agency and played a few games - aged forty plus - for Shepton Mallet and Bristol Manor Farm. He later headed to Queensland to work at a football academy run by former Torquay United colleague Jamie Gosling whilst continuing to play for Leichhardt Lions into his late forties.
League 36; Cups 3 (39)