Chris Wilder leads the tributes for Alan Hodgkinson as he retires
Tomorrow will be an emotional day for a true football legend.
Goalkeeping coach Alan Hodgkinson MBE is our guest of honour tomorrow as he retires at the age of 76 and after 60 years of football for club and country. One of the great gentleman of the game Alan will be presented with special mementoes as he comes out of the tunnel on a matchday one more time, with Manager Chris Wilder, goalkeeper Wayne Brown and Alan's former Sheffield United colleague Ted Hemsley making the presentations.
Chris Wilder led the tributes to a man he has the utmost admiration for:
"Alan is a total professional, has so much experience and has the absolute respect of everyone in the game at all levels. I am very proud to consider him a personal friend and to have worked alongside him. He was here when I first arrived and over the years has always been there for me and for all of us, passing on advice or just there to talk to.
"The people he has helped and worked with over the years reads like a Who's Who of football but one thing I really like about him is that he has the same attitude whatever level of football he is working at. He has worked at big clubs like Manchester United and Sheffield United, and with national sides for years but whenever he goes and whatever team he has been involved with he has stayed the same honest hard working professional.
"He knows that he is always welcome here and I expect to see him popping in and being about the place still. I know he has enjoyed his time at Oxford as much as any during his fantastic career."
Alan, who will be joined by his wife Brenda tomorrow is looking forward to the day:
"I have loved my time at Oxford. I was lucky enough to work at national level and with clubs like Manchester United and Rangers, but the support that Oxford get is magnificent and the club means the world to me. I have made so many friends among the staff and the supporters and I wish them the very best of luck in getting up into the next division."
"I have taught and coached all over the world but I will never forget that play-off day at Wembley. 33,000 people there and to see all those jubilant Oxford fans was wonderful. The Oxford fans have been unbelievable since I came here and I am so proud to have worked for them and want to thank them for everything they have done for me."
Read a wonderful four page interview with Alan in the matchday programme tomorrow.