It's been a little over 2 days since I found out the information and only now do I feel able to write something properly about Ali and how he was not only a colleague but a dear friend.
There will be memories and stories that will fill entire websites however I wanted to add online a couple of mine. Working on Boro commentary "at base" every single Thanks at the end of the show, the off-air chat on talkback and the appreciation for the rest of his colleagues was a craft of the highest order. He cared where very few do.
When ISDN lines failed to grounds, keeping the station on-air meant a combination of trails and highlights and other audio, often the line would re-connect with 10" on the audio left - the ability to get back on air live with nothing more than seconds audio was an incredible skill that few possess. I laughed yesterday as Eddie reminissed about Ali's timing when crossing to the Pool's match when the "2 mins" without fail almost certainly became 10 as Ali asked Maddo "one final thing before you go".
His interest and help in making others become stronger and better people within their careers was flawless. As was the often unmentioned work with the MFC Foundation, Former Players Association and the likes of the TJFA who like us all will miss him lots. We would regularly share good old fashioned goss about things going on (though perhaps maybe that confession shouldnt even be on here).
We knew how each other worked during our years of working on commentary together and despite early changes in staff at the start of the season I still felt privilaged to work on the midweek matches with him when the "A Team" were on. On the illness outbreak we spoke about how we could finally do a Boro game on Saturday on FM once he was back, something I really really wish had been able to be fulfilled.
So I commemorate this amazing person in the only way I know howAli Brownlee BBC Tees Steel River Tribute