Devonshire in 2011
|Full name||Alan Ernest Devonshire1|
|Date of birth||13 April 1956|
|Place of birth||Park Royal, Middlesex, England|
|Current club||Braintree Town (manager)|
|1976–1990||West Ham United||358||(29)|
|2003–2011||Hampton & Richmond Borough|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Alan Ernest Devonshire (born 13 April 1956) is an English former footballer who is the current manager of Braintree Town. He was a wide midfielder who played for West Ham United and Watford where he finished his career. Devonshire won eight caps for England between 1980 and 1983. He subsequently became a manager with Maidenhead United, Hampton & Richmond Borough and his current club, Braintree Town.
Born in Park Royal, then a part of Middlesex, Devonshire had been a schoolboy footballer but had been turned away by Crystal Palace at age 14 for being too small.2 He returned to Selhurst Park two years later and played a couple of youth team games but was again released by the club, this time by former West Ham player and Palace manager, Malcolm Allison. Devonshire started playing for non-league Southall and in doing so came to the attention of league clubs such as Reading, Southampton, and Brentford.2 By day he worked as a fork-lift truck driver at the Hoover Factory in Perivale, London. During this time he was spotted playing for Southall by West Ham United scouts, Eddie Baily and Charlie Faulkner who recommended him to West Ham manager, Ron Greenwood. Devonshire signed for West Ham United in 1976 for a fee of £5,000, a transfer which has led to him being referred to as "West Ham's best ever buy".2
Devonshire's made his debut for West Ham on 27 October 1976 in a League Cup tie against Queens Park Rangers, in which West Ham lost 2–0.3 He made his League debut three days later on 30 October 1976 against West Bromwich Albion, where he played in a 3–0 defeat. He soon became a fans' favourite, who referred to him by his nickname "Dev". His workman-like attitude was one to which the fans could relate. He also enhanced his rapport with supporters by travelling to home game on the London Underground from his West London home.2
He played 29 games in all competitions, without scoring, in his first season, the 1976-77 season. It was a poor season for West Ham who finished only two points above a relegation place in 17th place in the First Division.4 The following season, the 1977-78 season saw Devonshire's first goals for the club, in a 3-3 at Upton Park on 12 November 1977.5 It also saw him play 38 games in all competitions, scoring three goals. Unfortunately for West Ham his efforts could not prevent them from relegation to the Second Division after they finished in 20th place.6 The 1978-79 season saw West Ham rebuilding their side following relegation. Devonshire was a regular member of the side which finished 5th in the Second Division. He had played 41 of a possible 42 league games that season and was voted Hammer of the Season.7 8 West Ham failed to gain promotion again in the 1979-80 season. They did however reach the 1980 FA Cup Final where Devonshire collected an FA Cup winner's medal as West Ham beat favourites Arsenal 1–0 at Wembley with a single goal from Trevor Brooking from a cross by Devonshire. He had also scored a goal in a semi-final replay at Elland Road in a 2-1 win against Everton.910 2
In the 1980-81 season Devonshire's career flourished. His partnership with Trevor Brooking formed the cornerstone of West Ham's push for promotion back to the First Division. He also played in European football for the first time and was a member of the side which reached to 1981 League Cup Final. He collected a Second Division title medal as they won promotion, losing only four games.11 Devonshire continued to be a regular member of the West Ham side in the First Division until a game on 7 January 1984. Playing against Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup, he snapped three ligaments in his right knee. He tried to make a comeback in March 1985 in two cup games against Wimbledon but again broke down. It was 19 months from his first injury to his full return, in a game against Birmingham City on 17 August 1985.7 His long spell out injured had resulted in him losing some of his pace but still maintaining his ability to pass the ball well. He made the final pass for many of the goals scored by team mates, Tony Cottee and Frank McAvennie in the 1985-86 season as West Ham finished third in the First Division.12
Injury struck Devonshire again in the first game of the 1987-88 season. Just 15 minutes in a game against Queens Park Rangers, he snapped his Achilles tendon. This forced him out of the game for over a year and by the time of his return the West Ham team were in decline. The 1988-89 season saw him play only 20 league game without scoring as West Ham were relegated back to the Second Division.13 For the 1989-90 season manager John Lyall was replaced by Lou Macari who undertook the rebuilding of the West Ham side. Devonshire was rarely used making only seven league appearances that season. Macari was replaced in the same season by Billy Bonds who granted Devonshire a free transfer in May 1990.11 His last appearance for West Ham came on 14 February 1990 when he was a substitute for Gary Strodder in a 6-0 away defeat to Oldham Athletic in a League Cup semi-final. His performance, and that of other experienced West Ham players, Liam Brady, Phil Parkes, Alvin Martin and Julian Dicks, was described as "embarrassingly helpless" in a game known as the "St. Valentine's Day massacre".14 15 16 Devonshire had played 448 competitive games over 14 years, scoring 32 goals. 7
In 1990 Devonshire signed for Watford, where he played for two years before retiring as a player in 1992.
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|1976–77||West Ham United||First Division||27||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||27||0|
Devonshire was selected to play for England by his former manager at West Ham, Ron Greenwood. He made his debut on 20 May 1980 in a 1-1 draw against Northern Ireland.17 Greenwood selected him again on 31 May 1980 in a friendly game against Australia, which England won 2-1.18 Unfortunately for Devonshire his position and style of play were also those of Glenn Hoddle who was preferred as an international selection. He would have to wait two years for his next cap, on 25 May 1982 in a 2-0 win against Netherlands. Another game followed on 2 June 1982, a 1-1 draw against Iceland. Both of these games were warm-up games before the 1982 World Cup. Devonshire was omitted from the final squad for the tournament. New England manager, Bobby Robson attempting to rebuild an aging England team, selected Devonshire in October 1982. The game, against West Germany finished 2-1 to the Germans in a bad defeat for England.17 His final two appearances, against Greece and Luxembourg came towards the end of 1983 and were Devonshire's only appearances in competitive international games, the games being qualifiers for the 1984 UEFA European Football Championship.19
As manager of Hampton & Richmond, he took the club from Isthmian League Division One South to the play-off-final of the Conference South. In his first season he guided them to fifth place in the Isthmian Division One South which due to re-organization of the leagues was enough to see the club promoted to the Isthmian League Premier Division. He then guided the club to a sixth placed finish in their debut season at that level missing out on the play-offs on goal difference on the final day of the season. The 2005–06 season would see Devonshire take the team into the play-offs. Having won a dramatic play-off semi-final on penalties away to Heybridge Swifts the team then faced Fisher Athletic away who beat Hampton 3–0. Devonshire finally managed to get Hampton & Richmond Borough promoted the following season in style by bringing the Isthmian Premier Division title to the Beveree. In their debut season in the Conference South he has managed to guide his team to third place in the league and into the play-offs for the Conference National.
- As of 26 August 2013.21
|Braintree Town||23 May 2011||Present||103||40||23||40||38.83|
He has a race horse named after him.22
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2005). The PFA Premier & Football League Players' Records 1946–2005. Queen Anne Press. p. 168. ISBN 1-85291-665-6.
- Hogg 1995, p. 54.
- "Game played on 27 Oct 1976". Westhamstats.info. 27 October 1976. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
- "Welcome to the Wonderful World of West Ham United Statistics 1st Division 1976-77". www.westhamstats.info. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "Game played 12 November 1977". www.westhamstats.info. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "Welcome to the Wonderful World of West Ham United Statistics 1st Division". www.westhamstats.info. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- "Welcome to the Wonderful World of West Ham United Statistics Alan Devonshire". www.westhamstats.info. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- "Welcome to the Wonderful World of West Ham United Statistics 1978-79". www.westhamstats.info. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
- "Game played on 16 Apr 1980". www.westhamstats.info. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
- "When the Hammers shocked Arsenal". BBC Sport. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
- Hogg 1995, p. 55.
- "Welcome to the Wonderful World of West Ham United Statistics - 1st Division 1985-86". www.westhamstats.info. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- "Welcome to the Wonderful World of West Ham United Statistics - 1st Division 1988-89". www.westhamstats.info. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- Blows 2000, p. 174.
- Smyth, Rob (15 January 2010). "The Joy of Six: League Cup semi-finals". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- "Game played on 14 Feb 1990". www.westhamstats.info. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- "Alan Devonshire England". www.englandfc.com. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- Rudd, Matthew. "England". www.sportingheroes.net. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- "Luxemburg v England 16 November 1983". www.11v11.com. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- Waldon, Jonathan (23 May 2011). "Devonshire looking forward to Iron challenge". Braintree & Witham Times. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
- "Alan Devonshire – Managerial statistics". www.soccerbase.com. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- "A horse to make Hammers happy (From This Is Local London)". Thisislocallondon.co.uk. 5 June 2008. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
- Hogg, Tony (1995). West Ham Who's Who. Independent UK Sports publications. ISBN 1-899429-01-8.
- Blows, Kirk (2000). The Essential History of West Ham United. Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 0-7472-7036-8.