London born right half Alec Stacey moved north as a child and began his football career with Grove House Lads Club in Manchester in 1924, he then played for New Mills in 1925 before joining Cheshire League Northwich Victoria. Stacey was secured by Dick Ray, the Leeds United manager, from Northwich Victoria in 1926. In October 1927 Stacey was secured by Dick Ray, the Leeds United manager, from Northwich where he was understudy to the brilliant Willis Edwards. Naturally, he had few opportunities of gaining first-class experience, his Football League debut coming at Oldham Athletic in March 1928, the first of only 20 appearances he made during his first five seasons at Elland Road.
He was merely regarded as a useful, reliable player until the 1932-33 season, when his big chance came due to Edwards suffering from cartilage trouble, and having to undergo an operation. Stacey rose finely to the occasion, and, coming into the team after the first match of the season, played in 19 games up to the end of the year. He proved himself a finer half back than ever anyone had expected, and often revealed talent of a high order both in attack and defence. Always a sturdily built player, he put on a good deal of weight during the off season, building to thirteen stone, but at the beginning of the 1933-34 season, when Edwards was again unfit, Stacey for a couple of months played better than ever, so that he could not be dropped, even though Edwards was fit again. He had two or three indifferent matches, however, and gave way to Edwards for the game with Liverpool at Anfield on 11th November 1933, having played the first twelve games of the season.
It did not take long for Sheffield United, who had just signed Charlie Wilkinson, another Leeds United reserve team player of note, in a bid to strengthen their defence, to move in to also secure Stacey’s signature in mid November 1933 after 51 appearances for Leeds United. Understudying Edwards had always been a thankless task and because of his loyalty, he was rewarded by the club when he was one of the seven Leeds United players who had recently received cheques in lieu of a benefit after being the backbone of United’s Central League side for over six years. In those seasons he has shown many clever touches in his play, with his outstanding qualities being the thrusting support he gave to the attack, which he followed up strongly, and his unflagging energy and shrewd covering in defence. Had his opportunity come earlier in his career, he might have become a player of considerable note, and these were the reasons that Sheffield United thought he was the man they needed.
Unfortunately for Stacey and The Blades Stacey suffered a broken leg the following April and he didn’t return to action until January 1935. He played four FA Cup ties in earlier rounds as The Blades went to Wembley losing the 1936 FA Cup Final to Arsenal but again injury ended his season at the end of January, and he played only twice more in 1936-37. His last senior game for The Blades was in January 1937 and he was not retained at the end of that season. He played scored three goals in 69 appearances whilst at Bramall Lane, before dropping into non league football with Kidderminster Harriers. He did return to Elland Road and played one game at right half as a wartime guest in the 1940-41 North Regional League in a 5-2 win against Huddersfield Town at Elland Road on 14th September 1940.
NB in the photograph he stands back left alongside George Milburn. In front of Stacey is Harry Duggan and alongside him is Tom Cochrane.