Alvin started out with Merseyside club Everton as a schoolboy, but left in 1973 after the Goodison Park club only offered him an apprenticeship on a part-time basis, stating at the time that he “would never kick a ball for them again”. An unsuccessful trial later that summer with Queens Park Rangers was followed the very next day by one for West Ham United, where he was awarded a contract.
Alvin went on to amass 586 first-team appearances for the Hammers in a successful 19-year career at Upton Park, in which he became one of only two players, along with Billy Bonds, to be awarded two testimonials.
Alvin was given his first England cap by Ron Greenwood, who brought him to West Ham as a 14-year-old, against Brazil at Wembley in May 1981. Injury ruled him out of the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain, but he was playing some of the finest football of his career when the next England manager, Bobby Robson, included him in his squad for the 1986 edition in Mexico. Alvin played in the victory over Paraguay, but was surprisingly dropped for the next game, the quarter-final defeat by Argentina’s infamous ’Hand of God’. In total, he made 17 appearances for England.
Alvin also achieved the rare feat of scoring a hat-trick against three different Newcastle United goalkeepers, in a Football League First Division match in April 1986 which the Hammers won 8–1.
Alvin remained loyal to the Hammers despite their relegation from the top flight in 1989, and helped them gain promotion two years later. They lasted just one season back in the top flight before being relegated, only to bounce back at the first attempt. Alvin spent three more years with the Hammers in the Premier League before finally departing at the end of the 1995–96 season after nearly 20 years service.
After leaving West Ham, Alvin had a brief spell with east London neighbours Leyton Orient, before managing Southend United for two years during which they were relegated to the Third Division.
After retiring from management, he joined national radio station talkSPORT, while also being a regular pundit on Sky Sports TV football talk shows.
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