Born in Forest Gate, Alan started his career at West Ham in 1974, when he was the youngest player ever to be named on the teamsheet at the age of 16. In 1979 he moved to Birmingham City where he stayed until 1983 when he joined local rivals Aston Villa. A change of managers saw him transferred again to Charlton Athletic in the following year.
Alan was capped at schoolboy level for England and was a regular in the England youth team. While at Birmingham City, he won his only England U-21 cap against Switzerland in 1980. He was selected for the England B squad in 1981 but a fractured kneecap ended his involvement with England.
In 1987 after moving to Brighton Hove & Albion He helped them achievepromotion to the Second Division. Then in 1990 he returned to Charlton as a coach, where he stayed for the next 16 years.
In 2006, Alan was hotly tipped for the next England job, but this went to Steve McClaren and in December 2006 he joined West Ham as manager. Now Alan is a regular football pundit.