Born in Derby 4 March 1959, Alan started his football career at his home club Derby County under the Management of Dave Mackay. He made his league debut for Lincoln on loan under George Kerr and after his loan period returned to Derby where Tommy Docherty had taken over and gave Cork a free transfer to Wimbledon under Dario Gradi. As a player, Cork spent fourteen years at Wimbledon from 1978. A wily striker, he is Wimbledon's all time record goal scorer, scoring 145 league goals for the Dons. Cork also holds the record for most league games played plus most goals scored in one game and most goals in one season. All this helped the Dons progress from Division 4 to Division 1 (now the Premiership). Cork is one of the few players to have scored in all divisions from 4,3,2,1, and the Premiership. He worked under Dave Bassett, Ray Harford, Peter Withe and Joe Kinnear as well as Bobby Gould. As a member of the ‘Crazy Gang' Cork will be remembered for his part in the 1988 FA Cup triumph over Liverpool.
Cork then decided to join Dave Bassett at Sheffield United, where he became a hero for the Blades fans when he scored in the memorable all Steel semi final at Wembley, with the famous beard that he continued to grow and refused to shave off until they were knocked out.
After moving on to his final club Fulham, Cork decided to hang up his boots and move into football management. He was quickly offered his first job by Ian Branfoot as Director of School of Excellence and Youth Team Coach. After Ian Branfoot left the club Micky Adams took over as Manager and Cork became his assistant, and success was swiftly followed by gaining promotion from Division 3 to 2.
Cork moved to Swansea with Adams, who after a brief period left, leaving Cork in charge. Having been in the bottom three of the table, Cork brought confidence into the team and wins followed saving them from relegation.
Cork then had a brief period at Chesham United as Manager, before joining Micky Adams at Brighton & Hove Albion, where they gained promotion. Sam Hamman, his old Chairman from Wimbledon then offered him the position of Assistant Manager at Cardiff City which now reunited him with his old manager Bobby Gould. Cork took over as Manager, where he continued to work wonders at Ninian Park battling it out at the top of the table for an automatic promotion place to Division Two which they eventually won through a second place finish, remaining unbeaten at home all season. The next season brought more success as they beat Leeds United in the FA Cup third round and he received Manager of the Month for November.
After leaving Cardiff City Cork was reunited as Assistant Manager to Adams at Leicester City Football Club where promotion was gained to the Premier League. Cork & Adams then moved on to another Midlands Club, Coventry City.