The grandson of former Middlesbrough manager Bruce Rioch is laying the foundations for his own successful career after an away win in Hartlepool.
But Alex Rioch’s success has been in the workshop rather than on the pitch, after he won the Guild of Bricklayers regional competition held at Hartlepool College.
The 22-year-old apprentice bricklayer at Bishop Auckland College moved to Durham City four years ago from his native Luton, where his grandad’s playing career started, and is serving a Level 3 apprenticeship with house builder Gleeson.
Bruce, 70, remains a legend among the Boro faithful after leading the club to successive promotions in the late-80s. He also captained Scotland and managed Arsenal during a 45-year career as player and manager which also took him to the Continent.
Texting his congratulations to Alex from Cornwall, where he now lives and coaches a local Sunday league team, he wrote: “Absolutely fantastic to see what you have achieved. It takes dedication, talent and sheer hard work to be successful and it is evident you have those attributes.
“Well done young man. Brilliant. Keep up the good work in preparation for the national finals in June. We’re so very proud of you.”
Alex, who was presented with trophies and prizes by the Principal of Hartlepool College Darren Hankey and the Secretary of the Northern Region of the Guild of Bricklayers Paul Briggs, said: “I was ecstatic, I was in it to win it and it just felt that better knowing all my hard work had paid off.
“My apprenticeship will be completed in August and I hope to become a self employed bricklayer and be known for a great final product.”
Alex was scouted for Luton Town when he was younger but did not make it, unlike his grandad and uncle Gregor, now academy manager at Wigan Athletic. He added: “My grandad still holds a lot of love for all the Boro fans up here.”
He will now go on to represent the North-East region at the Guild of Bricklayers national final at Brooklands College, Weybridge, in June.