Marylebone, London born goalkeeper Reg Allen signed for Queen’s Park Rangers in May 1938 after playing junior football for Corona Football Club in the Hanwell and District League where a QPR supporter spotted him and recommended him to the club, and he made his QPR debut at Crystal Palace in an FA Cup tie in November 1938. He was known as one of the best goalkeepers of his era. Allen went on to make 216 appearances for QPR, 36 of which were prior to the abandonment of peacetime football due to the outbreak of the Second World War, his career being impacted by the War years where he was a prisoner of war in North Africa after being captured while on a commando raid in July 1941. While in German hands, Allen played in many six-a-side games, typically as centre forward to help gain a different insight to the game.
At the end of the War Allen returned to Loftus Road and played in 10 FA Cup matches in the 1945-46 season as The Hoops managed to get to the Fifth Round, where they were knocked out by Brentford. He was then a near ever present in the first four post war League seasons and a member of the 1948 QPR team that won the Third Division (South) Championship.
Allen was transferred to Manchester United on 6th June 1950 for £11,000, a then world-record fee for a goalkeeper. With his signing, Jack Crompton, then the first choice keeper at United, was reduced to a back-up role. Allen played his last game for Manchester United on 4th October 1952 after 80 appearances, when Crompton managed to reclaim the number 1 jersey, along with promising, young ‘keeper Ray Wood, and he joined Altrincham in 1953. Allen retired from football within five years. A testimonial game for Allen took place between QPR and Manchester United on 29th March 1954, raising in the region of £1,800 for his testimonial fund.
NB in the photograph, Allen makes a save in a match at Aston Villa on 4th September 1950, on his 6th appearance for Manchester United, who won the match 3-1.