Tommy Allen (footballer, born 1897)

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Tommy Allen
Personal information
Full nameThomas Allen
Date of birth(1897-05-01)1 May 1897
Place of birth Moxley, England
Date of death 10 May 1968(1968-05-10) (aged 71)
Place of death Walsall, England
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) [1]
Playing position(s) Goalkeeper
Youth career
Wednesday Old Park Works
Bilston United
Hickman's Institute
Wolverhampton Wanderers (wartime)
Senior career*
YearsTeamApps(Gls)
1919–1920 Sunderland 19 (0)
1920–1928 Southampton 291 (0)
1928–1932 Coventry City 154 (0)
1932–1933 Accrington Stanley 35 (0)
1933–1934 Northampton Town 19 (0)
1934–1936 Kidderminster Harriers
1936–1938 Cradley Heath
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Thomas Allen (1 May 1897 – 10 May 1968) was an English professional goalkeeper who played for Southampton in the 1920s and later for Coventry City.

Contents

Playing career

Early career

He was born in Moxley and played his youth football for various local sides including Bilston United. During World War I he played for Wolverhampton Wanderers before joining First Division side Sunderland in May 1919. At Roker Park he was seen as a fine prospect and during Sunderland's first post-war season he vied for the 'keeper's shirt with Leslie Scott and James Dempster, making 19 league appearances. At the end of the season the Sunderland management failed to include his name on the list of players retained for the following season [2] and he was quickly snapped up by Southampton for their first Football League season.

Southampton

He soon became the backbone of The Saints' defence and in his first season Southampton narrowly missed out on promotion. In the 1921–22 season he kept 26 clean sheets as Southampton took the Division Three South title on goal average from Plymouth Argyle. Saints total of only 21 goals conceded in a 42 match season was a Football League record which stood until 1979 and remains a record for Southampton. Allen did not concede a goal in any of the final seven games of the season and by the time his defence was finally breached by Leeds United on 28 August 1922 he had gone 845 minutes without conceding a goal. [3]

He was a tall, slightly built man and according to Holley & Chalk's "Alphabet of the Saints" "his agility was often described as miraculous". His slender build was frequently the targe of banter in the dressing room; players in the bath would cry out in mock alarm: "Look out, the plug's pulled – we don't want to lose Tom down the drain!" [1]

Saints struggled to make any impact in the Second Division but enjoyed some exciting runs in the FA Cup. In 1923 they got through each of the first three rounds after replays (over First Division Newcastle United, Chelsea [4] and Second division Bury), before going out to West Ham United after a second replay. In the first Fourth Round match against West Ham at The Dell Allen was injured as he bravely thwarted Vic Watson and was replaced in the replays by veteran 'keeper Herbert Lock. [5]

In 1925 the Saints defeated Liverpool 1–0 in Round Four to reach the semi-final where they came up against another First Division side, Sheffield United. In the match played at Stamford Bridge on 28 March 1925, Saints' defender Tom Parker had a dreadful afternoon, first scoring an own-goal, then suffering a rare miss from the penalty spot (shooting straight at the 'keeper) before a mix-up between him and goalkeeper Allen gave Sheffield their second goal. [6]

Southampton were again drawn against Liverpool in the third round of the FA Cup in January 1926. In the first match, at The Dell, Allen collided with his teammate Michael Keeping and had to leave the pitch with bruised ribs. Arthur Bradford took over in goal for the remainder of the match, which ended goalless. For the replay (lost 1–0), Allen was replaced by Len Hill, who kept his place until Allen returned to the team at the end of February. [7]

In 1927 Saints again reached the semi-final defeating Newcastle United on the way. [8] In the semi-final match, played at Stamford Bridge on 26 March 1927, Saints were eliminated 2–1 by Arsenal with Saints' goal coming from Bill Rawlings. In this match, Saints came up against their former star full-back Tom Parker who had had a nightmare in Saints' previous semi-final appearance two years earlier. This time Parker was on the winning side as Arsenal moved on to Wembley, losing to Cardiff City in the final. [9]

In the early part of the 1927–28 season, Allen was injured and new signing George Thompson took over for eight matches, before Allen's return to fitness in November. In June 1928, Allen moved on to Coventry City at the same time as Bill Henderson, with Bill Stoddart moving the other way in exchange. [10] In his eight seasons with the Saints he made 323 (291 League, 32 Cup) appearances, which remains a club record for a goalkeeper. [1]

Later career

After four seasons at Coventry City, he signed for Accrington Stanley, where he spent the 1932–33 season. Now aged 36 he was nearing his 500th League game, a milestone he reached in his first game with next club, Northampton Town, where he remained for the 1933–34 season. This was followed by three years with Kidderminster Harriers and a spell at Cradley Heath.

He retired from football in 1938, after which he settled in his home town of Moxley; he died in Walsall on 10 May 1968 shortly after his 71st birthday.

Honours

Southampton

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The 1899–1900 season was the 15th since the foundation of Southampton F.C. and their sixth in league football, as members of the Southern League.

The 1900–01 season was the 16th since the foundation of Southampton F.C. and their seventh in league football, as members of the Southern League.

The 1901–02 season was the 17th since the foundation of Southampton F.C. and their eighth in league football, as members of the Southern League.

The 1920–21 season was the 26th season of competitive football by Southampton, and the club's first in the Football League. At the end of the previous season, Southampton were one of a host of Southern League clubs elected to make up the new Third Division, finishing second in the inaugural season behind champions Crystal Palace. The Saints began the season strongly, winning seven of their first ten games to begin a lengthy run at the top of the league table until the end of the year. The club began to lose against several teams lower in the table in December, dropping a position as Palace continued to win the majority of their games. Southampton finished the season in second place with 19 wins, 16 draws and seven losses, four points behind the champions and one point ahead of third-placed Queens Park Rangers.

The 1921–22 season was the 27th season of competitive football by Southampton, and the club's second in the Football League. After finishing second in the league the previous season, Southampton achieved promotion to the Second Division as champions of the newly regionalised Third Division South. Following a false start to the campaign, the Saints quickly asserted their dominance in the league when they went on a club record 19-game unbeaten run until the end of 1921. The club also remained unbeaten at The Dell for the entirety of the league season, as well as conceding a Football League record low 21 goals in 42 games, which remained in place until the 1978–79 season. Southampton finished atop the league table with 23 wins, 15 draws and four losses, ahead of runners-up Plymouth Argyle only on goal average.

The 1922–23 season was the 28th season of competitive football by Southampton, and the club's first in the Second Division of the Football League. Having secured promotion from the Third Division South as champions the previous season, the largely unchanged Saints team avoided relegation comfortably and finished in the middle of the league table in their first season as a second-flight club. After a poor start to the campaign in which they picked up only one point from their first five matches, Southampton began to improve in form and move up from the Second Division relegation zone. The club picked up several wins over higher-placed opponents challenging for the division's two promotion places, allowing them to finish mid-table. Southampton finished in 11th place with 14 wins, 14 draws and 14 losses, and an even goal average.

The 1924–25 season was the 30th season of competitive football by Southampton, and the club's third in the Second Division of the Football League. Following the 1923–24 season, in which the club finished just three points shy of the First Division promotion places in fifth place, the Saints dropped two positions to finish seventh in the league. As with the last season, Southampton began their Second Division campaign poorly and found themselves at the bottom of the table after two losses in their first three games. The side continued to struggle to pick up wins, but steadily began making their way up the table over the next few months. A number of wins over the Christmas period and an eight-game unbeaten run at the end of the season helped Southampton finish in seventh place with 13 wins, 18 draws and 11 losses.

The 1931–32 season was the 37th season of competitive football by Southampton, and the club's tenth in the Second Division of the Football League. After finishing in the top half of the Second Division league table for the past three seasons, the Saints struggled to challenge in 1931–32 and ended up finishing in 14th place, closer to relegation than promotion. Southampton's first season with manager George Kay started strongly, as the team picked up four wins in their first five matches and reached the top of the Second Division league table for the first time in the club's history. Form quickly deteriorated, however, and the club was briefly involved in a fight for survival in the new year. After picking up a few more wins, Southampton secured their safety and finished in 14th place with 14 wins, 14 draws and 14 losses.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (1992). The Alphabet of the Saints. ACL & Polar Publishing. p. 11. ISBN   0-9514862-3-3.
  2. "Thomas Allen profile". Archived from the original on 5 June 2011.
  3. Bull, David; Brunskell, Bob (2000). Match of the Millennium. Hagiology Publishing. pp. 40–41. ISBN   0-9534474-1-3.
  4. Giant killers 1923
  5. Match of the Millennium. pp. 42–43.
  6. Match of the Millennium. pp. 44–45.
  7. Chalk, Gary; Holley, Duncan (1987). Saints – A complete record. Breedon Books. pp. 74–75. ISBN   0-907969-22-4.
  8. Giant Killers 1927
  9. Match of the Millennium. pp. 48–49.
  10. The Alphabet of the Saints. p. 324.