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Gary Alexander and John Mackie enjoying life at Ryman South outfit Greenwich Borough

PUBLISHED: 15:00 06 January 2017

Josh Koroma looks to keep the ball for Leyton Orient against Greenwich Borough in pre-season (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Josh Koroma looks to keep the ball for Leyton Orient against Greenwich Borough in pre-season (pic: Simon O'Connor).

07958 573219 simon.oconnor@virgin.net

Former Leyton Orient pair have achieved huge success at DGS Marine Stadium club since taking over in December 2015

Clapton players (red and white) shake hands with Greenwich Borough before their London Senior Cup tie (pic: Elliot Byrne).Clapton players (red and white) shake hands with Greenwich Borough before their London Senior Cup tie (pic: Elliot Byrne).

Former Leyton Orient forward Gary Alexander was back in east London last month, though not to see his old club, but to manage his current one against Essex Senior League outfit Clapton.

The 37-year-old has been in charge of Greenwich Borough for just over a year now and enjoyed great success.

Alexander took the reins in December 2015 with Boro second in the Southern Counties East Football League and now they are third in the Ryman South.

“I started playing at Greenwich. When I quit professional football I came home and needed a game,” said the ex-West Ham United striker.

“Thankfully the chairman Perry Skinner took me in and it has grown on me and this is my third season here now.

“It was around this time last year when I got given the job. Going from being eight points behind the Southern Counties League leaders to now being third in the Ryman South is a great turnaround.”

Greenwich have enjoyed an upturn in results since Alexander was appointed manager with John Mackie his assistant.

John Mackie (red) shakes hands with Gary Alexander before the pair faced off at Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road back in May for a 'Play With A Legend' match - both are part of the managerial set-up at Ryman South club Greenwich Borough (pic: Play With A Legend).John Mackie (red) shakes hands with Gary Alexander before the pair faced off at Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road back in May for a 'Play With A Legend' match - both are part of the managerial set-up at Ryman South club Greenwich Borough (pic: Play With A Legend).

The pair were a crucial component of the Orient team that gained promotion from League Two in May 2006.

Boro’s title triumph last season would have brought back memories for the duo, but management was not something always on Alexander’s mind.

It was during his time at Crawley when the Londoner began to think about what he could do after his playing career.

Alexander took charge of the Red Devils for a short period at the end of November in 2013 after the sacking of Ritchie Barker and it gave him a taste for management.

He added: “I’ve been given the opportunity by Greenwich to be the number one, but I had a week or so at Crawley when I was a player.

“Martin Hinshelwood and I had a game together and I really enjoyed that. I did actually think ‘I like this.’

“I got the opportunity while I was still playing to take over at Greenwich, but it is difficult to combine both.

“Gradually I’m weaning my way out of playing. I have to every now and then, but it is not something I want to do. I want to concentrate on the management side of the game.”

Alexander got his boots on again recently when Greenwich played Clapton in the first round of the London Senior Cup on December 13.

With Tons Ultras boycotting home games due to an increase in ticket prices at the Old Spotted Dog without warning and the introduction of invasive security checks, Boro played in front of a crowd of 28.

The former O’s forward admitted it was a shame, although was delighted to claim a 5-2 victory on the night.

“It would have been nice to see a crowd. I think they were all outside because a few rockets were going off,” laughed Alexander.

“But it was nice to get a result. It is an intimidating place to go so I imagine it is even worse when there are 300 or 400 fans there.

“People say it is a tough place so it was nice to go there and a good experience for a few of the youngsters. It was great to get out of there with a result.”

After a tricky period during the start of December, Alexander and Mackie could well give Greenwich another promotion.

The south London club are two points behind leaders Dorking Wanderers, although firmly in the play-off positions and have former O’s Bradley Pritchard and Charlie MacDonald in their squad.

Greenwich host Molesey tomorrow (Saturday) looking to make it four wins in a row, but Orient fans tempted to pay Alexander and Mackie a visit may not fancy a trip on this weekend with Barnet visiting Brisbane Road.

However, on Tuesday January 17, Boro host South Park and it could be worth checking out the former O’s duo impressing in non-league.

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