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Ronnie Allen

West Bromwich Albion FC

5 appearances, 2 goals

P 5 W 4 D 0 L 1 F 13: A 6
80% successful
1952-54

disciplined: none
captaincies:
none
minutes played:
450

Ronnie Allen

Profile

Full name Ronald Allen
Born 15 January 1929 in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire [registered in Stoke on Trent, March 1929].
Attended Hanley High School
Died 9 June 2001 in Hardwick Court Nursing Home, Great Wyrley, Staffordshire, suffering with Alzheimer's Disease, aged 72 years 146 days. [registered in South Stafford, June 2001]
Height/Weight 4' 10", 7st 10lbs [1944], 5' 8", 11st [1950], 5' 8", 10st 9lbs [1957].

Source

Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990] & Tony Matthews' The Complete Footballer [2005].

Biographies It's Goals That Count - Ronnie Allen. (StanleyPaul, 1955)
 

Scoring for Port Vale and West Bromwich Albion was just a matter of routine by the time this book was published - good coverage of both clubs. - A Football Compendium, Peter J. Seddon (1999).

  The Complete Footballer: The Ronnie Allen Story - Tony Matthews (2005)

Club Career

Club(s) Played his junior football with Bucknall Boys Bridgade, Wellington Scouts and Northwood Mission in Handly. Joined Port Vale FC as an amateur in December 1944, turning professionally in March 1946 and made 123 league appearances, scoring 34 league goals. Signed for West Bromwich Albion FC on 2 March 1950 for £18,000, going onto make 405 league appearances, with 208 league goals. Joined Crystal Palace FC in May 1961, another 100 league appearances followed, along with 34 league goals. Spent the 1964-65 season as player-coach, retiring from playing in March 1965. Ending his career with a total of 276 league goals in 638 league appearances.
Club honours FA Cup winner 1953-54;
Individual honours Football League (one appearance)
Distinctions First Division Top Scorer 1954-55 (27).

Source

Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990] & Tony Matthews' The Complete Footballer [2005].

Management Career

Club(s): Joined Wolverhampton Wanderers FC as senior coach in March 1965, under Andy Beattie. Took over as manager in September 1965, sacked in November 1968, after bringing them into the First Division.  AC Bilbao in Spain on 1 March 1969 until November 1971, SC de Portugal in Portugal in April 1973, Walsall FC July to December 1973, West Bromwich Albion FC consultant from January 1977, taking over as manager from the June, until January 1978.  Then national coach of Saudi Arabia 1978, Panathinaikos FC 1980, West Bromwich Albion FC 1981-82 (general manager 1982-83), remained coach with Albion in some capacity until 1996.
Club honours: Cope del Rey winner 1968-69; La Liga runner-up 1969-70.

England Career

Player number 717th player to appear for England
Position(s) Outside-right, Centre-forward
First match No. 272, 28 May 1952, Switzerland 0 England 3, a friendly match at Hardturm Sportplatz, Zürich, aged 23 years 155 days.
Last match No. 293, 1 December 1954, England 3 West Germany 1, a friendly match at Empire Stadium, Wembley, London, aged 25 years 320 days. 
Major tournaments World Cup Finals Provisional Squads 1954, 1958;
British Championship
1953-54, 1954-55;
Team honours British Championship winners 1953-54, 1954-55;
Individual honours England B (two appearances)
Distinctions None

Beyond England

Remained with the West Bromwich Albion set-up, remaining a part-time coach until 1996. - Media

 

Ronnie Allen - Career Statistics
Squads Apps Comp.
Apps
Starts Sub on Sub off Mins. Goals Goals Av.min Comp.
Goals
Capt. Disc.
7+ 5 2 5 0 0 450 2 225 min 1 none none
Due to the fact that many matches rarely stuck to exactly ninety minutes long, allowing time for injuries, errors and substitutions.  The minutes here given can only ever be a guideline and cannot therefore be accurate, only an approximation.

 

Ronnie Allen - Match Record - All Matches
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts % W/L
Home 2 2 0 0 6 3 +3 0 0 3.00 1.50 100.0 +2
Away 3 2 0 1 7 3 +4 1 0 2.333 1.00 66.7 +1
All 5 4 0 1 13 6 +7 1 0 2.60 1.20 80.0 +3

 

Ronnie Allen - Match Record - By Type of Match
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L

WCP

1 1 0 0 4 2 +2 0 0 4.00 2.00 100.0 +1
World Cup 1 1 0 0 4 2 +2 0 0 4.00 2.00 100.0 +1
British Championship 2 2 0 0 7 4 +3 0 0 3.50 2.00 100.0 +2

Note that the 1953-54 records of the World Cup Preliminaries and British Championships are duplicated, and one set is therefore deducted from the grand total.

Friendly 3 2 0 1 6 2 +4 1 0 2.00 0.667 66.7 +1
All 5 4 0 1 13 6 +7 1 0 2.60 1.20 80.0 +3

 

Ronnie Allen - Match Record - Tournament Matches

World Cup Preliminary Competition

Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
WCP/BC 1953-54 1 1 0 0 4 2 +2 0 0 4.00 2.00 100.0 +1
WCP All 1 1 0 0 4 2 +2 0 0 4.00 2.00 100.0 +1
British Championship Competition
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
BC/WCP 1953-54 1 1 0 0 4 2 +2 0 0 4.00 2.00 100.0 +1
BC 1954-55 1 1 0 0 3 2 +1 0 0 3.00 2.00 100.0 +1
BC All 2 2 0 0 7 4 +3 0 0 3.50 2.00 100.0 +2
All Competition
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
WC 1 1 0 0 4 2 +2 0 0 4.00 2.00 100.0 +1
BC 2 2 0 0 7 4 +3 0 0 3.50 2.00 100.0 +2
Note that the 1953-54 records of the World Cup preliminaries and British Championships are duplicated, and one set is therefore deducted from the grand total.
All 2 2 0 0 7 4 +3 0 0 3.50 2.00 100.0 +2

 

Ronnie Allen - Match History
 Club:  West Bromwich Albion F.C. - 5 full caps

Coach: Walter Winterbottom - 5 full capsx

Age 23
- 270 18 May 1952 - Italy 1 England 1, Stadio Comunale di Firenze, Firenze Tour AD squad member
- 271 25 May 1952 - Austria 2 England 3, Praterstadion, Prater, Wien AW
1 272 28 May 1952 - Switzerland 0 England 3, Hardturm Sportplatz, Zürich. AW Start 7
Age 25
1 b 3 March 1954 - England B 1 Scotland B 1, Roker Park, Sunderland Fr HD Start 9
2 285 3 April 1954 - Scotland 2 England 4, Hampden Park, Glasgow BC/
WCP
AW Start 68 9
3 286 16 May 1954 - Yugoslavia 1 England 0, Stadion JNA, Beograd Tour AL Start 9
2 b 22 May 1954 - Switzerland B 2 England B 0, Basel AL Start off ? 9
- 287 23 May 1954 - Hungary 7 England 1, Népstadion, Budapest AL squad member
May 1st 1954 was the date set by FIFA for a list of forty names to be submitted, from which the final 22 could be selected for each country's World Cup squad. England's list appeared on April 22 1954, nine days ahead of the deadline. 18 were destined not to make the final cut, including Ronnie Allen.
4 292 10 November 1954 - England 3 Wales 2, Empire Stadium, Wembley BC HW Start 9
5 293 1 December 1954 - England 3 West Germany 1, Empire Stadium, Wembley Fr HW Start 48 9
Age 29
England's selectors announced their forty-man squad from whom the final 22 would be selected, on April 22 1958. The 18 players who failed to make the cut on May 28 included, once again, Ronnie Allen.

Notes

There is a persuasive theory that the footballing visionary Ronnie Allen was born too soon to enjoy the full fruits of his remarkable talent.  The slim, nimble Midlander, who scored freely for West Bromwich Albion throughout the 1950s but was selected for England with mortifying infrequency, was a thoughtful centre-forward who dared to be different in an era when any wearer of a No 9 shirt was expected to rely rather more on sheer power than subtlety.

Allen, who was the only man to score at Football League level in each of the 20 seasons which immediately followed the Second World War, was a free spirit who roamed at will, dropping deep to avoid his markers and confusing them by unpredictable absences from his front-line beat.

He was blessed with a delicate touch on the ball, was full of guile and possessed the speed to make the most of his wonderful deftness. A few far-sighted souls trumpeted him as the complete footballer, and surely he must have thrived in more enlightened times, but to many of the closed minds who ruled his country's archaic selection committee in the Allen heyday, he was a dangerous maverick and not to be trusted. Accordingly, after playing his fifth game for England, in which he scored against the reigning world champions, West Germany, at Wembley in December 1954. Allen was cast into the international wilderness at the age of 25. It was hardly a coincidence that the flamboyant Len Shackleton, an eccentric showman who disdained all attempts at regimenting his extravagant gifts, should be discarded for good on the same sad day.

As a schoolboy Allen, who did not take up soccer until he was 13 and majored in rugby even after that, had planned to be a chemist. But after his exceptional aptitude for the round-ball game became apparent, he joined Port Vale of the Third Division South as an amateur in 1944 and thereafter made rapid progress.

He made his debut for the Burslem club as an outside-left in 1944, lining up in a wartime competition alongside the brilliant Irish inside-forward Peter Doherty, who was playing as a guest. At that point Allen stood only 4ft 10in tall and weighed 7st 12lb, but as he gained in stature so did his game mature, and he turned professional in 1946. Always versatile, he served Vale in all forward positions except the central one, in which he was destined to excel, as well as turning out in both wing-half slots and at full-back. Duly the young man's exceptional prowess was noted by England's top clubs of the day and in March 1950 he signed for West Bromwich Albion in an £18,000 transaction which was completed just ahead of the transfer deadline. The Baggies had not been back in the top flight for long and when they experienced a goal drought early in 1951/52, their manager Jack Smith switched Allen from right wing to centre-forward with fabulous results. That term the newly converted marksman scored 35 goals in League and FA Cup and, at season's end, he was rewarded with his first full cap.

Over subsequent campaigns Allen was encouraged by Albion's imaginative new boss, Vic Buckingham, to use his bountiful all-round ability to the full. Thus, instead of leading the front line in conventional spearhead fashion, he roamed elusively, confusing opponents with his pacy dribbling and cute distribution, and it is fair to say that he tasted success as a deep-lying centre-forward even before that revolutionary role was showcased so fabulously by the magnificent Hungarian Nandor Hidegkuti. With Allen hugely prolific, West Bromwich became one of the leading sides in the land, rivalling the likes of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United in the chase for top honours. Indeed, in 1953/54 they almost entered soccer folklore by becoming the first team during the 20th century to lift the League and FA Cup double, eventually finishing as title runners-up to Wolves but triumphing over Preston North End at Wembley.

Fittingly, in view of his form all season, Allen was Albion's brightest star on their big day, scoring twice in their 3-2 victory and keeping a characteristically cool head at one moment of high drama. With the Midlanders trailing 2-1, they were awarded a penalty and their dapper No 9 strode up to take it. Twice a divot on the spot caused the ball to roll away and twice, in the midst of unbearable tension, he replaced it. Then he scuffed his shot and, as he later recalled: "The ball seemed to take an hour to reach the net." It got there, though, and Allen was the hero. However, even though he topped the First Division goal chart in 1954/55, the England selectors remained unmoved. Allen himself was philosophical, continuing to supply Albion with goals, 231 of them in 457 senior outings, before joining Crystal Palace, aged 32, in May 1961.

Still he offered a potent threat, employing his vast experience to telling effect and helping the Selhurst Park club rise to Division Two in 1963/64. Allen retired from playing, as a 36-year-old, in 1965 and in the following January he entered management with Wolverhampton Wanderers, then struggling in the Second Division. The rookie boss proved an able coach and an astute judge of players, buying the extrovert centre-forward Derek Dougan and wing-half Mike Bailey in the course of leading his new charges to promotion to the top flight in 1967. Life among the elite proved difficult, though, and Allen was sacked in November 1968. Undeterred, he took his belief in free-flowing, flexible football to Spain, learning the language and leading Athletic Bilbao to glory in the Spanish Cup. After narrowly missing a League title, Bilbao were pipped by Atletico Madrid on goal average, he guided the fortunes of Sporting Lisbon, Walsall and, briefly, his beloved West Bromwich, before accepting a lucrative assignment to run the Saudi Arabia national side.

Allen did well enough with the Saudis, then sojourned briefly in Greece with Panathinaikos before returning to the Hawthorns and leading the Baggies to the semi- finals of both major domestic cups in 1981/82. There followed a stint as general manager and he remained a part-time coach with the club until 1996, even playing in one final game, a testimonial at Cheltenham, as a 66-year-old in 1995. Allen, whose son Russell started with Albion before serving Tranmere Rovers and Mansfield Town in the 1970s, was one of the most influential figures in Hawthorns history. What a shame that he was offered so few opportunities to shine on a wider stage. - The Independent Obituaries

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CG