Sale Sharks are deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved kit man Alan Blease at the age of 69, following a second short battle with cancer.
Alan, or ‘Bleasy’ as he was affectionately known throughout the rugby community, passed away on Wednesday 8th of July 2020 surrounded by his family. He is survived by his two daughters Beccy and Jo and his three grandchildren, Koby, Chloe and Belle.
Originally a geography teacher at Whalley Range High School in Manchester, Alan joined the club as a 22-year-old in 1973, where he played as a prop for Sale’s 2nd XV before going on to devote his life to the rugby club. He stopped playing in 1990 when he was asked by Fran Cotton to be Chairman of Selectors, a role he undertook with his customary calm organisation until the beginning of the professional era at Heywood Road.
During a career spanning 47 years, ‘Bleasy’ has held almost every position at Sale Rugby Club including Player, Team Manager and most significantly, Head Kit Man. Alan, who was the longest serving kit man in Premiership Rugby’s history, embraced this role alongside his best friend and life-long colleague Robbie Dickson. The pair would go on to reach legendary status at the club and across the rugby fraternity due to their unique friendship, working relationship and commitment to the club and game of Rugby Union.
Alan was not only influential in his role at Sale on a day-to-day basis but in developing the culture that the club prides itself on today, enjoying a fantastic relationship with all staff and players, past and present. ‘Bleasy’ will be dearly missed by everyone at Sale Sharks.
Speaking on behalf of everybody connected with the club, Sharks Director of Rugby and life-long friend Steve Diamond said:
“There are so many meaningless words traded around like ‘legend’ and ‘family’ in this day and age, especially within sport. On this occasion, I can say that Alan Blease is a true legend of Sale Rugby. ‘Bleasy’ was one of the elders of the unique rugby family we possess here at Sale and everybody has their own story to tell about such a great man. I’m sure some of these tales will be revealed over a pint or game of rugby in the near future, but for the moment our thoughts are with Alan’s daughters, Jo and Beccy at this extremely difficult time.”
We ask that supporters respect the privacy of Alan’s family at this time. If appropriate the club will share further details of Alan’s funeral publicly, however if you would like to send any messages of support to Alans family please email email@example.com
As a mark of remembrance, Sale Sharks will hold a minutes silence at our first available home fixture, and the players kit will be emblazoned with Alan’s initials for the remainder of the 2019/20 Season.