Meet the expert, Alex Reid: From the football premier league to the RFU - Ruck

Meet the expert, Alex Reid: From the football premier league to the RFU

The world class match official fitness series 

Along with our partners at ACME Whistles we spoke to the RFU’s Match Official Strength & Conditioning Coach, Alex Reid, whose career has taken her from Harrods to Spurs and now to the RFU.  

Alex is passionate about high-performance sport and has been applying that to the RFU match officials since 2009. 

In the first of this series of interviews Alex tells us about her background. 

“I’ve been very lucky in my career. I did my degree in America from ‘91 to ‘95, then after graduating got a job at Harrods in Knightsbridge, around the time Mr Al Fayed bought Fulham Football Club.  

“My job was in occupational health at Harrods, and I was doing all the physiological measurements and screening for the executives within the business. 

“I then got the opportunity to work with Fulham FC, when Mr Al Fayed recruited Kevin Keegan and Ray Wilkins as his ‘dream team’ managers to take us to the Premier League, it was at a time when the club was very ambitious. They were looking to take a really big step for the club.  

“We did all the pre-signing medicals at the time when Kevin and Ray were brought in to develop and expand the club. I was asked to do physiological intervention with the players, including ECGs and arranging scans. Back then this was quite a revolutionary thing. 

“I always had a passion for sport. I went to America on a full NCAA Division 1 basketball scholarship, so I was always in a high-performance environment. I love sport and wanted to be involved in it. 

“I was basically full time at Fulham and over time as managers came and went, the club recruited Jean Tigana, the French legend.  He introduced some more revolutionary concepts to the club, similar to Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.  Tigana had his own fitness trainer, Roger Propos who really helped me understand about being pedantic; expecting the best and demanding the best from the athletes that you work with. 

“We were breaking new ground in football because when I first started at Fulham, if you got injured, you literally sat on the sidelines, reading the paper! 

“It was the era when the guys would go down the pub after training in the morning and a very different world to how it is now.  

“But I started to bring in heart rate monitoring and strength testing and fitness testing and provide reports to the coaching staff. So, it really elevated things.  

“I had about seven years at Fulham FC and over that time I ended up being the head strength and conditioning coach in the Premier League with Chris Coleman. 

“I was then recruited to go to Tottenham Hotspur FC, where I spent four years. Jaques Santini was the manager, but only for about five or six weeks before he was sacked. 

“When Santini left, many of the coaching staff was cleared out, but I survived. Then Martin Jol became the manager, and he asked me to be the head strength and conditioning coach.  

“This was the era with Jermaine Jenas, Michael Carrick, Jermaine Defoe, Robbie Keane, Paul Robinson, Jamie Redknapp, Edgar Davids, Ledley King – a really great cohort of players.  

“We should have qualified for The Champions League when I was head strength & conditioning coach, we needed a result against West Ham in the last game of the season and the team got sick, so completely under-performed: it was the famous lasagna-gate game.   

“I absolutely loved working at both clubs and ended up having 10 years in professional football.” 

In the next feature, Alex takes us through how she has changed the way referees approach fitness. 

To find out more about refereeing and get your first referee’s whistle, visit