from (a nice piece on one of the LOI's greatest, he's got some stories to tell).

Hale bids farewell

Legendary Waterford soccer icon Alfie Hale is severing his links with the game after a lifetime’s involvement in football both at home and abroad.

"It’s time now to enjoy myself and I intend to give a lot more time to my golf,” Hale told the Waterford News & Star as he announced his intention to retire from football after almost half a century of active involvement in the game as both a player and manager.

Hale, who won 14 full international caps, intends helping Ferrybank and Tramore underage sides on an informal basis.

Alfie had just completed a three-year stint with junior side Tramore AFC during which he guided them to their first Premier Division title in their 50-year history.

International recognition came early for the 64-year-old businessman who runs a sports shop and a chain of pubs in his home city. He won the first of two international caps at schoolboy level against West Germany in 1957 and was only 17 when he made his League of Ireland debut with Waterford.

Hale missed the 1959 FAI Cup final through injury as the Blues lost out to St. Patrick’s Athletic after a replay.

The following year he moved across the water to join Aston Villa for £4,500, a considerable fee in those days. During a six-year stay in England he scored 66 goals and also saw service with Doncaster Rovers and Newport County.

“My six years in England proved an education in life as well as in football. I played with and against some of the greatest players of the day and I met a lot of marvellous people along the way,” he recalls.

He returned to Waterford just as the club - then based at Kilcohan Park - were about to embark on their most successful spell in their history.

Alfie was player-manager of the side when they pipped Cork Hibernians in dramatic circumstances at Flower Lodge (now Pairc Ui Rinn) to claim a fifth league crown in seven seasons.

Two years later, he helped another now-defunct club from Leeside, Cork Celtic, to league glory. He later saw action with St. Patrick’s Athletic and Limerick before hanging up his boots.

He took charge of Thurles Town in the late seventies during their short sojourn in the League of Ireland and returned to take the reins at his home town club in 1982.

During his time in charge of Cobh Ramblers he introduced a teenage Roy Keane to senior football.

Hale later had a second spell in charge of Waterford before moving on to Kilkenny City.

The Hale family is steeped in Waterford soccer tradition. His father, also called Alfie, played with Waterford during their debut season in the League in 1930 and a few years later his uncles Tom and John joined his father in an all-Hale half-back line in a league game at home to Bohemians.

His brothers Dixie, Harry and the late George also served St. Joseph’s and Waterford.

“Football has always been about sheer enjoyment to me and I loved every minute,” he remarked.