Thursday, 28 October 2010
174 Alan Reeves
Position : Centre half (also played at right back)
Played : 1991-2 to 1994-95
Appearances : 121
Goals : 9
And so we come to a real legend. Alan actually came to the club towards the end of the previous season while still under contract to Chester City where things had gone so badly for him that they were happy to let him train with us and play for the reserves before his inevitable release in the summer. I wondered what Sutton was doing signing such an obvious lame duck but it's the biggest feather in his cap that he spotted that the struggling right back could do a job in the centre. Alan, the twin brother of striker David, started his career at Norwich but made his League debut for Gillingham on loan in 1988-89. The following season Chester bought him for £10,000 . Things went OK at first but he gradually became the crowd's whipping boy and was dropped after only 10 appearances in 1990-91.
These troubles were shrugged off immediately as Alan set about proving he was the best centre half in the division. There were no weaknesses in his game at all ; he was good in the air, quite fast , a clean tackler, a threat at setpieces and impossible to shake off if he was marking you as Preston's Tony Ellis found out. He was the first Dale player for many a year to feature in the PFA Team of the Year for our division. Alex Ferguson came to watch him but said he was too good to dump in their reserve side. The greatest single Reevesy moment was a fantastic saving tackle away at Rotherham in 1992 where the slightest misjudgement would have meant a penalty and red card. I can only remember one poor game, at home to Maidstone in April 1992 where he made errors for their two goals.
When we failed to make the play-offs in 1993-4 after a final game against Scunthorpe (where their wanker of a forward Ian Juryeff slapped him in the face after they scored and Alan just glared at him) I think we all knew Alan would be on his way. No one signed him in the summer and I remember him playing in a pre-season friendly at Nantwich and turning the air blue at every opportunity. One guy, there with his son, complained and got a blast of it himself which was a bit naughty. Five games into the season he got his move and went to Wimbledon for £300, 000 plus sell-on clauses (which never in fact materialised). It turned out to be the death blow for Sutton who paid the price for failing to replace him quickly enough.
Alan did well in his first season in the Premiership but thereafter the team's form declined and Alan's along with it. In one disastrous game he scored two own goals and conceded a penalty. In his last two seasons there he barely featured and Graham Barrow tried to bring him back but Alan was settled in the South and didn't want to return or go to Preston who were also interested. When his contract expired in 1998 he went to Swindon on a Bosman. He rapidly regained his hero status playing till he was 38. latterly as player-coach. He also redeemed himself among Wimbledon supporters by being an outspoken supporter of the AFC Wimbledon set-up.
He was assistant-manager at Brentford for a spell in 2007 but doesn't appear to be working in the game at present.
It's a boring choice perhaps but I'd have to nominate Alan as the best player I've seen at Dale.