One, two – buckle our shoe; three, four – two in the door. Yep, that’s how we say Alex MacDonald was an early 2023 summer signing! Of course, what we mean is that Boro’ revealed the arrival of the Scottish winger on the same day as Neil Freeman; it being a time when many were eager to see which men would be charged with the job of keeping us in League One. Here was a 33-year-old (at the time) who was happy to trade in Gillingham at the bottom end of League Two for us. In doing so, it’d be the third time he linked up with Steve Evans too.
The Gills, to be fair, were resurgent towards the back end of the 2022-3 campaign and had hoped to secure the winger on a new deal. The lure of a higher level of football or a chance to work with Steve Evans again? We can’t tell you MacDonald’s motivations per se. But his arrival did give Boro’ an extra bit of zip and creativity out on the flanks; something that hadn’t necessarily been the case during our race for promotion from League Two. Will he cut it in the third tier? And will Boro’ do so too? How about you re-read this in April 2024 when we know…
Alex MacDonald: Before Boro’
MacDonald made the move to the Gills in summer 2020; those heady days of will-we, won’t-we football brought about by Covid-19. In his time with the club, he featured regularly and even stepped up to assist caretaker gaffer, Steve Lovell, after Steve Evans got the sack. The club who let the winger move to Kent was Mansfield Town; that being ironic in some respects as MacDonald played for Evans there too.
For the Warrington-born player, the career path started out at Burnley as a youth team member. He also turned pro at Turf Moor in 2008. But he didn’t get too many first team chances in his five years as a pro for the Clarets. It explains a number of loan spells in the years between 2008 and 2013. These included two in Scotland (Falkirk and Inverness Caledonian Thistle), as well as two separate stints down in the south west at Plymouth Argyle. In January 2013, he moved on loan to Burton Albion – before making the deal permanent at the end of the season.