DOB: 22 May 1946
Number: 15 1965-1976
Captain: 1973 - 1976
Best and Fairest: 1972 - 1974
Victorian state representative - 1968, 1972, 1975 (4 games)
Night Series winner 1971
Life Member - 1975
Team of the Century emergency
150 Heroes selection
MFC Hall of Fame - 2003
Games: 226 (266 total)
Goals: 160 (174 total)
Statistical categories led
Most games in jumper 15
Signed two weeks before the 1964 Grand Final after also training with Richmond and St Kilda, Neil Stanley Alves was initially considered too lightweight to play VFL football by Norm Smith. The coach sent him home from his first training session for acting "like a chook with its head chopped off". He had been signed and sacked within an hour. Having already been rejected by Collingwood, St. Kilda and Richmond, Alves persisted - showing up uninvited to training the next night - and Smith set him the task of putting on a stone before the start of pre-season training. He succeeded, kept his spot on the list and early the next season broke into the side.
One of the best on ground in his debut, Alves went on to play 13 games in his rookie season. The side bombed out in 1966 and finished second last with just four wins but their rapidly emerging winger was one of only four players to play all twenty games for the year.
By now one of the Demons most famous names, Alves finished second in the 1967 Best and Fairest, won the Outstanding Service Trophy for 1968 and was appointed vice-captain in 1969 - another wooden spoon campaign.
He won his second Outstanding Service Trophy in 1970, and was chosen by Football Life magazine along with Keith Greig as their wingers of the 70s. It was an amazing achievement for a player in a side that hadn't even had a sniff of finals for nearly five years.
Robbie Flower later named Alves on the wing of his greatest ever side. He said his teammate "was elusive, skilled and clever - and had a decent measure of rat cunning to boot".
Numerous awards, and four seasons as captain were a fitting tribute to his persistence and to Smith's decision to persevere with the youngster and put him on a special gym program to build his slender body.
Alves won his first Best and Fairest award in 1972 and was appointed captain the next year but had a poor season when coach Ian Ridley tried him as a second rover instead in his customary position on the wing. The mistake was corrected in the last few weeks, and back on the wing he added another "Bluey" to his collection in 1974.
In 1975 he was beaten to the Brownlow Medal by just one vote but suffered more coach issues in 1976 where he fought a running battle with coach Bob Skilton as Melbourne were having their best season since 1964. Alves claims the club sacked him at the end of the year, initially causing him to retire. After refusing North Melbourne, Essendon, Carlton and Collingwood permission to interview him, they then tried to trade him to the Blues for Robert Walls. Alves walked out of the club in disgust and announced he would never play for the Demons again, citing a personal matter as the between himself and the club and was quoted as saying "I can no longer play with Melbourne on principle, and if it means I don't play football, well that's that". It was rumoured that he'd fallen out with Skilton over criticism of his play several times during the year.
With both Collingwood and North Melbourne keen on his services he chose North, but Melbourne kept some hope of retaining him. With a boardroom split over whether to let him go or keep him the Demons refused a clearance. Melbourne initially rejected North's offer of a substantial cash payment and a swap of a choice of senior players, including Sam Kekovich and future Brisbane Bears coach Paul Feltham, demanding $40,000 or a deal involving Keith Grieg, Wayne Schimmelbusch or David Dench. After reporting North to the league for allegedly interviewing Alves without permission, the Roos escaped with a $2000 fine but got Alves for free.
He had a delayed start to 1977, appearing for Sandringham in a VFA practice match while waiting for his clearance. Melbourne even issued a token suspension, citing his criticism of the club and refusal to train. Once Alves made it to North Melbourne he played finals and won a premiership. After playing in the '77 flag, Alves remained at North Melbourne as a runner under Ron Barassi. In 1980 he was assistant coach of the ACT team beat a Victorian B team.
When Barassi returned to the Demons in 1981, Alves followed him as an assistant coach and remained in the position in the late 80s, eventually moving into the media and working in radio before spending four years as a specialist coach at St. Kilda. He was promoted to the senior role to replace Ken Sheldon and led his side to a losing Grand Final in 1997. The next year he was sacked later after a losing finals effort against the Dees. He resisted an offer from an group opposed to Joseph Gutnick to return to the club and run for president against Gutnick in 2001.
Alves is currently a special comments man with 774 ABC Melbourne's football coverage. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2008.
His brother Mark also played for the Demons.
Also shown as from Seaford
Inside Football - 01/07/1972
Age - 31/01/1973
Age - 26/07/1973
Age - 03/11/1976
Age - 25/11/1976
Age - 20/01/1977
Age - 21/01/1977
Age - 16/03/1977
Age - 07/04/1977
Age - 14/04/1977
Football Record 2000 Grand Final
Age - 29/05/2001