Tony Allen (footballer)
Tony Allen (left), with Eric Welsh and Colin Gie, Hellenic FC Cape Town, 1973
|Full name||Anthony Allen|
|Date of birth||27 November 1939|
|Place of birth||Stoke-on-Trent, England|
|Playing position||Left back|
|Stoke Boy's Brigade|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only
Anthony Allen (born 27 November 1939) is an English former footballer who played most of his club career as a left back for Stoke City between 1957 and 1970. He also made three appearances for England in 1959, before his twentieth birthday.
Allen was born in Stoke-on-Trent, and after playing football for his schools and the Boys Brigade, he was signed by Stoke City as an amateur, before turning professional on his seventeenth birthday in November 1956. He instantly became a regular under Frank Taylor establishing himself at Left back with ease. Although playing outside the top division, his talents were soon spotted by the England selectors. After winning caps at youth and under-23 levels, he was called up for the full international side for a British Home Championship match against Wales in place of Jimmy Armfield on 17 October 1959. The match was drawn 1–1 and Allen was retained for the next two matches, against Sweden (a 2–3 defeat) and Northern Ireland (won 2–1). For the next international match the following April, Ray Wilson was preferred at left-back, remaining first choice for most of the next decade. Although he received further caps at under-23 level (earning seven in all) Allen was never selected again for the full England eleven. He remains one of only two players of modern times (the other being Nick Pickering) to have only played for England while still in his teens.
Under new manager Tony Waddington he became a vital member of 'Waddington's wall' a tactic which helped Stoke stave of the threat of relegation in 1960–61 and then gain promotion in 1962–63 by winning the Second Division title. He was ever-present throughout the 1960–61 and 1961–62 seasons, and only missed one game in the promotion season. In this period, he clocked up a run of 148 consecutive appearances, which remains a Stoke record. Stoke finished their first season back in the First Division in 17th place, and also reached the final of the League Cup in 1964, where they were defeated by Leicester City 4–3 on aggregate.
In 1967, Allen was involved in an incident which led to a major change in the International Laws of Association Football. On 13 May 1967, Stoke City visited Old Trafford to play Manchester United. Paddy Crerand of United had an altercation with Peter Dobing of Stoke, which was dealt with by referee Pat Partridge holding Crerand close, such that his head was over the referee's shoulder. Unknown to the official, TV cameras picked up Crerand's action of spitting over his shoulder at Allen. Crerand and Dobing were cautioned for their confrontation, but Partridge had not seen the spitting incident. Partridge later received a letter from the Football League, asking for his observations on the incident, in response to many complaints received. Partridge was unable to respond with conclusive evidence, but nevertheless the International Board changed the Laws of the Game to put spitting on a par with violent conduct, and therefore a dismissible offence.
Midway through the 1966–67 season Allen's pace began to desert him, so Waddington switch him to centre back alongside Maurice Setters this allowed him to prolong his career until Willie Stevenson was signed from Liverpool in 1967. After drifting in and out of the side for 18 months, Allen left Stoke in October 1970, when he moved to Bury for a fee of £10,000. He was given a joint testimonial match along with Eric Skeels against Derby County in February 1969.
After a year with the Gigg Lane club, he moved to Cape Town to play for Hellenic. He returned to England in October 1973, and ended his playing career with non-league Nantwich Town after a spell with Stafford Rangers.
|Club||Season||Division||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Total|
|Stoke City||1957–58||Second Division||34||0||5||0||–||39||0|
- Matthews, Tony (1994). The Encyclopaedia of Stoke City. Lion Press. ISBN 0-9524151-0-0.
- Stoke City 101 Golden Greats. Desert Islands Books. 2002. ISBN 1-874287554.
- "335 - Wales 1-1 England, Saturday, 17th October 1959, British Home Championship, Ninian Park, Cardiff | englandstats.com". www.englandstats.com. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- "336 - England 2-3 Sweden, Wednesday, 28th October 1959, Friendly, Wembley Stadium, London | englandstats.com". www.englandstats.com. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- "337 - England 2-1 Northern Ireland, Wednesday, 18th November 1959, British Home Championship, Wembley Stadium, London | englandstats.com". www.englandstats.com. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- Graham Betts (2006). England: Player by player. Green Umbrella Publishing. p. 11. ISBN 1-905009-63-1.
- "Ex-Stoke and England star Tony Allen teaches junior football team". The Sentinel. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Tony Allen profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
- Allen, Tony at National-Football-Teams.com