Ralph Allen was playing for Dipton United when signed by Fulham in 1928. After 8 goals in 16 games for the Cottagers, he moved to Brentford in March 1931 for a fee of £275. 3 successful seasons at Brentford, were followed by a move to Charlton Athletic in October 1934 for £650. At Charlton he averaged almost a goal a game, scoring 47 goals in only 52 league appearances. He still holds the Charlton record for league goals in one season, a feat made more impressive by the fact that he didn't join them until October.
In June 1936, Allen moved on again, this time to Reading for a fee of £828, but moved to Northampton Town in October 1936 after only 10 league games in which he scored 7 times. He stayed for just over 2 years at Northampton, before moving to Torquay United in November 1938 in exchange (and as a direct replacement for) Jack Haycox. He scored on his United debut, netting the only goal in a 1-0 win away to Bristol Rovers on 12 November, and remained a regular for the rest of the season. As throughout his career, Allen was scoring regularly (15 goals in 28 league games) when the Second World War began and drew an early close to a career that started late and saw Allen score a total of 122 goals in 171 league appearances.