Ayr United in mourning as legendary player Alex Ingram dies at the age of 77

Ayr United are mourning the loss of one of their favorite sons with the death of club legend Alex Ingram.

Known to fans by his nickname Dixie, Ingram was hailed as one of the bravest players he ever knew by former team-mate Jim McSherry.

Fearsome Alex was Ally MacLeod’s first signing from Queen’s Park after he was promoted to the manager’s chair in the summer of 1966.

It was a partnership that transformed the club’s fortunes as Ayr quickly went from strugglers to become the leading part-time club in Scotland.

McSherry recalled: “Dixie was magnificent in the air for someone who wasn’t as tall as many people perhaps thought.

“Centre-halves and goalkeepers – as Alan Rough would testify – were terrified by him.

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“He was known for his bravery and would relish a challenge. I never knew him to be injured.

“He would play on with missing teeth and cut eyes and opponents always knew they were in a game when Dixie was on the field.

“His wife Jean and the family have been close friends of mine and my heart goes out to them.”

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Davie Wells, a team-mate for almost 10 years, described Alex as a gentleman off the park – but someone who took no prisoners on it.

He recalled: “I remember a game against Motherwell when Dixie got crocked in a challenge by big Willie McVie.

“He had blood pouring from his head and Ally wanted to take him off at half-time.

“Dixie was having none of it and insisted on getting his head stitched up and going back for the second half.

“Let’s just say he put in a hard tackle on McVie as soon as he was back out on the pitch.

“Anyone who played against Dixie knew they were in a game. He was tenacious and never shirked a challenge.”

Alex and Jean Ingram in the Ayr United boardroom
Alex and Jean Ingram in the Ayr United boardroom

Dixie was Ayr’s leading scorer in their promotion-winning season 1968-69 and had a close affinity with supporters.

Young fans in Prestwick formed the Alex Ingram Fan Club and Alex took time out to meet them at their base on Angus Avenue.

In November 1969, he played for the Scottish League against the Irish League at Ibrox and the following month was sold to Nottingham Forest for £40,000.

Alex still kept in touch with his young Ayr fans and he sent Forest match programs north which are still cherished to this day.

Only a year after signing for Forest, Dixie returned to Ayr in a £15,000 deal and scored on his debut, a 2-1 home win over Morton on New Year’s Day 1971.

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He continued to torment defenses who dreaded their jousts with his all-action style which never gave them a moment’s peace.

Ayr reached their first ever Scottish Cup semi-final in April 1973, losing 2-0 to Rangers at Hampden.

It was almost a dream start when Dixie headed home a Wells free-kick in the first minute but the goal was controversially disallowed for offside, a decision that still rankles with fans.

Alex presented Michael Moffat with a gift to celebrate him hitting 50 goals for the Honest Men
Alex presented Michael Moffat with a gift to celebrate him hitting 50 goals for the Honest Men

When Ayr took their place in Scotland’s new Premier Division in August 1975, Ingram had the honor of kicking off their top-flight status in a 1-1 draw against Motherwell.

Dixie was released at the end of season 1976-77 with 117 goals to his credit which leaves him fourth in Ayr’s all-time top scorer charts behind only Peter Price, Sam McMillan and Terry McGibbons.

He launched his own motoring business in Ayr in 1974 and later opened outlets in Stranraer, Irvine and Paisley. In 2000, The Ingram Motoring Group Ltd moved to Heathfield where his son Malcolm is the managing director.

Dixie was inducted into the Ayr United Hall of Fame in 2008 and continued his links with the club by becoming vice-chairman. He became an honorary president of the club alongside Donald Cameron, Bill Barr and Andrew Charters.

Sadly, Alex passed away in the early hours of this morning at the age of 77 after fighting a heroic battle with dementia and Alzheimer’s over the last 10 years.

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He is survived by wife Jean, son Malcolm and daughters Alison and Susan.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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