December 4, 2009 8:50:00 AM
"Roll Tide, Redden."
Regardless of which college football team you love, those words have a familiar ring if you live in Columbus or in West Alabama.
That''s because Alan Redden just might be the area''s biggest fan of the University of Alabama.
He holds that title even though he drives a truck for his business, Redden Satellite, that has lettering outlined in blue and orange -- the colors or archrival Auburn.
"Everywhere I go with the van people ask me, ''What''s wrong with your van?'' " Redden said. "There''s a woman (an Auburn fan) who works (at State Termite and Pest Control) across the street (from Redden Satellite on Gardner Boulevard) who said to me when she saw the van, ''I love the colors on your van.'' "
Redden and his mother, Sandra, will be two of many local Alabama fans who will be occupied for most of Saturday afternoon watching on television when No. 2 Alabama take on No. 1 Florida in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. (WCBI).
Redden, 47, has a unique tie to Alabama. Guy Redden, of Sulligent, Ala., played football at Alabama in 1904-05. His son, Jake, was an offensive lineman for the Crimson Tide in 1937-38. The 1938 team lost to California 13-0 in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
Jake Redden also played in the first football game played in the Magnolia Bowl on Sept. 2, 1933, in Columbus. Vernon (Ala.) beat the Lee High Generals 7-0.
Alan''s love for football continued with his father, Johnny, who played football at Vernon High. His father met his mother, the former Sandra Patton, of Columbus, and they helped strengthen the tradition of Alabama football in the family.
The family''s office and homes are decorated with pictures recognizing the accomplishments of Guy and Jake. One picture from 1903 shows Guy in an Alabama baseball uniform, while another, from 1935, shows Jake, who earned the nickname "Big Bad," in a team photo with Paul Bryant, who went on to coach the Crimson Tide and earn the nickname "Bear."
Alan Redden played football for two years at Caldwell High, but he said he wasn''t blessed with the size of his father or his grandfather. His son, J.C., is a member of the eighth-grade football team at New Hope.
Redden said he enjoys the friendly banter he has with fans of the football teams at Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi when he goes out on jobs. He said he "lives and breathes" Alabama football and tries to attend two to four games each year.
The festivities surrounding Saturday''s game might be a little more subdued because Redden said he is dieting, but that won''t prevent him from enjoying another chapter in Alabama''s already storied football tradition.
"I think it''s going to be close," Redden said of Saturday''s game. "I think it will be within seven points, but I am picking Alabama to win 21-17. If they can contain (Florida quarterback) Tim Tebow, they will be OK. If he is able to run, we''ll be in trouble. If we can contain Tebow and if (Alabama running back) Mark Ingram has a good game there is no doubt we will win."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
2. Ole Miss earns NCAA bid; Southern Mississippi left out COLLEGE SPORTS