Alan Frame Remembered

By The Drum, Administrator

March 8, 2007 | 5 min read

A pupil of Uddingston Grammar Alan could have easily have been a golf professional and was offered an assistant professionals job when he was just sixteen. But his parents wanted him to finish his education so, just to annoy them, he decided that he would give up on golf and become a top class squash player. And like most things, when he decided to do something, that’s what he did.

He toured the world with his good friend Mark MacLean, who rose to seventh in the world. Alan returned home, to play and captain the Scottish Team, managing them at the 1989 World Championships in Singapore and several other home and European tournaments.

Alan’s career as a professional squash coach saw him working at Marco’s Leisure in Edinburgh where he recruited and grew a team to take on the establishment. Starting out in Division 2 Alan led them on riotous trips to Dumfries, Elgin and Inverness before moving in to conquer Division1 in 1988 and 1990.

Dressed up in suits and ties for match days with comic noses a requirement of any team member who lost, life was never dull for the capacity crowds at Forthill, Bridge of Allan and Edinburgh Sports Club. Europe was next with Alan taking the team to 5th in the European Cup, achieved by displaying the kilts at the tournament dinner then wearing them for the Sunday morning play-off’s.

When he moved to Glasgow, Alan and sporting partner in crime William Boswell repeated the trick with Newlands, within a couple of years becoming Champions of Scotland, finishing with 10 titles in a row – one better than his beloved Rangers.

His last claim to squash fame was the defeat of a young Peter Nicol, soon to become the World Number One, only Alan forgetting that Peter was 11 at the time.

Alan worked for the Marcos Group, becoming the manager of Marcos Leisure Complex in Glasgow, but he was always looking for an angle. In 1989 he set up a Sports Events & Promotion Company with Derek Linden and his friend and best man, William Stark.

Frame Stark Partnership managed to blag their first client – an early Sports Drink product. Making it up as they went along (start of a recurring Framey theme here) they delivered a mailshot campaign that produced a 96 percent response rate. A result that Alan, very recently, still rated as one of his highlights and a result that indicated that there was something special here, but with both William and Derek knowing that it was absolutely rock all to do with them. They’ re the first to admit that they were there simply to correct Alan’s spelling mistakes and collect the money at the events they organised together.

With the help of Jim McBlane, Alan carried on the company and left his job at Marcos confident that he would be successful.

Shortly after, Alan Cunningham joined him from Stakis and the company became Frame Cunningham and moved from a portacabin to a business centre in deepest Maryhill. The client list consisted of a local telecom company and the Scottish Football Squad, quickly followed by Laser Quest.

At the first meeting with the Scottish Squad in the Cameron House Hotel the two Alan’s were told by Craig Brown that he would talk about Frame Cunningham – ‘you’ll only have to answer a few questions’.

The Alans stood in front of their heroes. Craig said, ‘Well this is Alan and Alan. Boys, why don’t you tell us about yourselves?’

Alan Frame stepped forward – ‘Good to meet you all. I’d like to hand you over to Alan Cunningham and he can tell you what we are going to do for you.’ It was one of the only meetings that Framey was silent in.

The work led to a contract with the Scottish Sun and then onto the Daily Record who offered Frame Cunningham the chance of producing their first TV Advert. A visit to Waterstones for a book on how to make a TV advert followed. Frame Cunningham grew – they went from three staff to eight within a year and then a move to the City Centre. Alan wanted to challenge the Edinburgh agencies – show that a Glasgow agency could do things even better. Despite the fact that there were no ‘Creatives’ in the agency the accounts mounted up – Global Video, the University of Dundee, Cutty Sark Whisky, the Sunday Mail, Stakis Casinos, to name a few. Each designer and copywriter was moulded by Alan’s creative vision – he strove to be the best and he wanted them to challenge themselves. After almost twelve years together Alan Cunningham parted company and Alan went on to ‘Create Something Great’ at Frame. Just a few months ago he climbed Kilimanjaro for charity – if he were still with us Everest would probably be next.

One thing’s for certain – his vitality and spirit will live on. Alan was a tough competitor. In life, sport and business he wanted to be the best, and in all fields he achieved just that. There is disbelief from all who knew him that he is no longer with us, that he won’t just breeze in and take over the room again.

His family and partner Lesley’s wishes for no black ties at his funeral showed that we should not mourn Alan. Rather celebrate a unique individual who touched so many people’s hearts.

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