Newburn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland born centre forward Ralph Allen began his football career with junior clubs Walbottle in 1924, Elswick in 1925 and Wombwell in 1926 before trials with Hartlepools United and Sheffield Wednesday in 1927-28 proved fruitless, He played non league football for Dipton United from where he was signed by Third Division (South) club Fulham in 1928, making his Football League debut at Walsall in February 1929 and scoring his first goal on his home debut the following week in a home defeat to Newport County, after when he didn’t re-appear for The Cottagers until October. A fringe player during his time at Craven Cottage, he joined Brentford in March 1931 after 8 goals in 16 appearances at Fulham.
However he remained a fringe player at Griffin Park, contributing 3 goals in 8 appearances as they won the 1932-33 Third Division (South) Championship, and it was after a move to Charlton Athletic in October 1934 that Allen came to prominence, repaying his £650 transfer fee immediately and how… Allen scored both goals on his debut in a home win over Clapton Orient and scored in each of his first five games for Charlton, bagging 4 goals in a 6-3 win at Gillingham in December 1934 and a hat-trick in a win over Swindon Town on Christmas Day, his total of 33 goals in just 30 appearances for The Valiants included only 8 matches where he failed to find the net as Charlton won the Third Division (South) Championship. He was less prolific the following season at the higher level but still scored 15 goals in 24 appearances as Charlton sealed back to back promotions, finishing runners up in the Second Division, including a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Burnley in Charlton’s first Second Division match in August 1935.
Allen then joined Reading for £820 in the summer of 1936 but despite scoring 4 goals in his first three matches he was quickly moved on to Northampton Town in October that year after 7 goals in 11 appearances for The Royals. He again lit the blue touch paper for The Cobblers, scoring 14 goals in his first 13 matches including a hat-trick in a win over Bristol City a week before Christmas. He scored a further hat-trick against Walsall in March finishing the season with 27 goals in 31 matches and was comfortably Northampton’s leading goalscorer in the campaign. The 1937-38 campaign saw him play only around half of their matches due to an injury in February 1938 by when he had still scored 14 times in 24 games, but the following season he transferred to Torquay United in November 1938 without having regained his first team place at The County Ground.
Allen scored the only goal on his debut in a victory at Bristol Rovers and top scored for Torquay with 17 goals in 30 appearances during a single season at Plainmoor, before returning to north east non league football with Annfield Plain in the summer of 1939, soon thereafter his football career was halted by the outbreak of the Second World War.
His older brother, Jack Allen was a renowned goalscorer who won the League Championship twice with Sheffield Wednesday at the end of the 1920’s and scored the goals that won the FA Cup for Newcastle United in their 1932 victory over Arsenal at Wembley, as well as playing for Leeds United, Brentford, Bristol Rovers and Gateshead.