South Hylton, Sunderland, County Durham born centre half Allenby Chilton began his football career with Washington Colliery, being transferred in January 1937 to Seaham Colliery, joining Liverpool as an amateur in the summer of 1938, without playing a senior game for The Reds. It was from there that Manchester United signed him in November 1938, his Football League debut coming at Charlton Athletic on 2nd September 1939, the final fixture of the subsequently abandoned 1939-40 football season a day before the outbreak of the Second World War. During the War he made guest appearances for Airdrieonians, Cardiff City, Hartlepools United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United and Charlton Athletic, whom he helped to win the War Cup South Final in 1944. He served in the Durham Light Infantry and saw active service in the Normandy Landings also in 1944.
With the resumption of peacetime football he played in Manchester United’s 1946 FA Cup campaign and missed only one match in each of the first two post war League campaigns, the first under new manager Matt Busby, as Manchester United finished runners up in the League Championship both seasons. In 1947-48 he was part of the United team that triumphed in the FA Cup Final when Blackpool were beaten 4-2 in the Final at Wembley. The following season Chilton was an ever present as United again finished runners up in the League Championship and also reached the FA Cup semi final, where they lost to eventual winners Wolverhampton Wanderers in a replay at Goodison Park. He also played in United’s FA Charity Shield defeat to Arsenal.
Chilton was first capped for England in October 1950, playing in a 4-1 win over Northern Ireland at Windsor Park, Belfast, and he won his only other cap exactly a year later in a 2-2 draw with France at Highbury. He was also a non playing member of England’s 1954 World Cup Final squad in Switzerland. He was a key member of Busby’s 1951-52 League championship winning team, when he was an ever present, as he was for the following two seasons. He almost joined Stoke City on 18th August 1952 after the clubs agreed terms, but Chilton could not decide personal terms. He was made club captain during the 1953-54 season. Having missed just 13 games in nine seasons at United and with 175 consecutive appearances to his name, Chilton requested a rest from first team action in February 1955. He was replaced by Mark Jones, one of the rising Busby Babes, and never returned to first team action.
After 3 goals in 392 appearances for United, he joined Grimsby Town as player-manager in March 1955. He was an ever present as they won the Third Division (North) Championship in 1955-56 before retiring from playing after 67 matches for Grimsby in October 1956. continuing his role as manager until April 1959. Chilton became the manager of Wigan Athletic in May 1960, lasting only a season. He then scouted for Hartlepools United in 1961-62, stepping up to become their manager in July 1962, staying until May 1963 when he eventually retired from football.
NB the photograph was taken at Burden Park on 11th September 1954 ahead of United’s match at Bolton Wanderers, which finished a 1-1 draw.