Burslem, Staffordshire born centre forward Messina “Dick” Allman is one of the more peculiarly named footballers of his era but also one of the great journeymen of his time. He began his football career with Burslem Higherhave before signing for hometown professional Second Division club Burslem Port Vale in April 1903, making his debut at Nantwich in an FA Cup tie that November. His Football League debut followed against Stockport County a week later and he became a regular in the Vale starting line up the following season, being their leading goalscorer in 1904-05 with before he transferred to Southern League Reading in May 1905 after 11 goals in 36 appearances.
He scored 10 goals in 25 Southern League games in 1905-06 and then 7 goals in 36 games in 1906-07 and while at Reading he scored six goals in what was possibly the club’s first match against foreign opposition a 13-5 win over Parisien Athletique on 20th September 1905, but he departed Elm Park for Portsmouth in the 1907 close season after 63 appearances, but he soon moved on to Plymouth Argyle in December 1907 after finding his first team opportunities at Fratton Park limited, having made just a single appearance for Pompey.
He scored seven times in his 21 matches for Argyle and helped The Pilgrims to finish as Southern League runners-up in 1907-08 before leaving at the end of the season returned to The Potteries to join Stoke, but made no first team appearances for them in a season at The Victoria Ground. His next move was to Liverpool in July 1908, but again he found opportunities limited and played just once for The Reds’ first eleven at home to Bristol City on 13th March 1909 in a match the visitors won 2-1.
Released in September 1909, he joined Birmingham and District League club Wrexham and scored the winning goal for Wrexham in their 1910 Welsh Cup Final 2-1 victory over Chester. After 19 goals in 38 appearances for The Dragons, a move to Central Alliance club Grantham soon thereafter lasted a season, and he returned to Wales with Welsh League club Ton Pentre in 1911. In view of the drift in his career over some seasons it’s perhaps a surprise that he then returned to Football League action when he joined Second Division Leicester Fosse in November 1911, and he scored 3 times in 7 appearances for The Fossils into January 1912 before losing his place, probably because he was one of the six Leicester Fosse players to leave the field early during the notorious weather-beaten match at Grimsby Town in January 1912, although he never appeared on a winning side in his 7 appearances for Leicester Fosse.
Joining Southern League club Croydon Common in June 1912, Allman embarked on the longest single spell of his career at any club, spending four seasons with The Commoners including the 1915-16 wartime league season which proved the club’s final competitive season before folding with the onset of the First World War having forced the suspension of peacetime football in the summer of 1915. In that time he scored 23 goals in 86 Southern League and FA Cup appearances as well as scoring 4 times in 32 wartime matches for Croydon Common in 1915-16, indeed Allman played in Croydon Common’s last ever match, scoring the club’s final goal in a 1-1 draw at Clapton Orient in April 1916.
During the War Allman served as a Gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery, and he also played onee for Watford in 1916 as a wartime guest, and scored 4 goals in 18 appearances for Arsenal during the 1916-17 season. Still fit enough aged 36 after hostilities had ended, he joined Southern League Crystal Palace in June 1919 and scored in his only appearance for Palace deputising at centre half in their 1919-20 campaign. He finished his career by joining Kent League club Maidstone United in the 1920 close season before his eventual retirement.