Alan Devonshire celebrates his 64th birthday today. Surely the best value signing West Ham United have ever made, Devonshire arrived for just £5,000 in 1976, before going on to win the FA Cup in 1980, making 448 appearances in a Claret and Blue and win eight caps for England.
When West Ham United paid just £5,000 to pluck Alan Devonshire from non-league Southall in September 1976, nobody could have known just how good a deal the Hammers were getting. For that modest outlay, the Hammers secured a player who would spend 14 years in east London and go on to establish himself as one of the most talented players ever to wear a West Ham shirt.
Devonshire struck up a telepathic partnership with Trevor Brooking which would play such a pivotal role in the successes of the early 1980s.
Alongside the FA Cup final victory over Arsenal, the Hammers would win the Division Two title the following year, returning to Wembley in the League Cup final to boot, with Devonshire’s creativity to the fore.
And never more so than during that FA Cup triumph, when his run down the left flank ended with the cross that led to Brooking scoring the only goal of the game.
After the Hammers earned their place back in the top flight, Devonshire continued to excel, shaking off an injury which caused him to miss almost all of the 1984/85 season to play 47 times the next year – when West Ham secured their highest-ever league finish of third.
He might only have scored 32 times for West Ham, but he created countless chances for others during one of the Club’s golden periods.
After signing off with the Hammers in 1990, with nearly 450 appearances under his belt, Devonshire ended his career with a brief spell at Watford, before embarking on a successful career in non-league management.
Having taken the reins at Brentford Women, Maidenhead United and Hampton & Richmond Borough, he led Braintree Town in the Conference, before returning to Maidenhead and taking them to non-league football’s top tier.