Hatters Heroes

Luton Town – The Legends Series – Keith Allen

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For the latest in our ongoing series covering those who have achieved legendary status among the support, we feature another former Luton figure who became a fans favourite.

Following on from those already covered – John Moore, David Preece, Mal Donaghy, Brian Lewis, Bruce Rioch, Fred Jardine, Brian Horton, Kevin Nicholls, Tony Read, Steve Foster, Mike Keen, Ian Buxton, Lars Elstrup, Peter Anderson, Graham French, Alan West, David Moss, Terry Branston, John Aston, Paul Futcher, John Ryan, Syd Owen, Marvin Johnson, Malcolm MacDonald, Bob Hatton, Steve Buckley,Chris Coyne, Ron Baynham, John Still, Jack Bannister, Ricky Hill, Chris Nicholl, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, Don Givens, Gordon Turner, Brian Stein, Jesse Pye, Raddy Antic, Joe Payne, Max Dougan, Alan Slough, Ray Whittaker, Dave Pacey, Milija Aleksic, Ron Davies, Sandy Davie John O’Rourke, Les Sealey, Bob Morton and Wally Shanks, Gordon Riddick, Billy Bingham, Herbert Moody, Adrian Alston and Reg Pearce

The latest ex-Hatter to be granted status in our legends hall of fame is Keith Allen as nominated by Joe Fountain.

Keith Allen was one of the first players, as a six-year-old I can remember Luton signing.

I can remember scanning the back pages of the local evening paper and reading about this blond forward who the Hatters had signed from another team nicknamed the Hatters, Stockport County, and he was a player, who I, like so many others, was to admire during his time at Kenilworth Road.

Indeed, I reckon Keith holds a record that might one day be broken but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t, of being the only Luton Town player who was born on the Isle of Wight, please correct me if I’m wrong.

Keith wasn’t one of those footballers who had an easy ride in the game before he joined Luton.

His first professional club was Portsmouth but, during a two year period with the south coast club, he never made a single appearance.

Moving to Grimsby Town, in 1964, things didn’t get much better with Keith making just 6 league appeances, scoring a solitary goal, before a move to Stockport County.

While at Stockport, Keith blossomed making 49 league appearances and scoring 15 goals during two-season spell, a spell which saw Stockport County storm to promotion from Division 4.

In 1967, on the back of his spell with Stockport, Keith was signed by Luton Town and went on to make 137 league appearances scoring 36 league goals, before his surprise departure, to Plymouth Argyle, in 1970.

While at Kenilworth Road, Keith was to play in two promotion winning teams and his 100% style of play saw the likes of Bruce Rioch and Malcolm MacDonald thrive.

One particular incident, involving Keith, will always have a place in the Hatters folklore.

In a Division 3 match, against his former club, Stockport County, in April 1969, somebody in the crowd blew a whistle and, naturally, Keith thought it was the referee and calmly caught the ball, only to see the referee point to the penalty spot, a strange incident but one with a humourous edge.

Researching into Keith’s background, it appears that Keith had SIX brothers, all of whom played football at some level or other, a wonderful achievement.

On leaving Luton Town, Keith moved to Plymouth where he enjoyed a further three seasons before opting to retire from the game.

Keith Allen – Mini Fact File

Name – Keith ‘Spider’ Allen

Date of Birth – 09-November-1943

Place of Birth – Newport, Isle of Wight, England

Position – Forward

Youth Career – Ryde Sports

Playing Career – Portsmouth, Grimsby Town, Stockport County, Luton Town, Plymouth Argyle

If you feel able to share any of your thoughts or memories on the Hatters career of Keith Allen, please feel free to do so in the comment facility beneath this article.

If you can think of anyone who deserves nominating for coverage in this ongoing series, please drop their name into the comment facility beneath this article.

My thanks go to those who have already nominated faces from the past, they will all be covered, in time.

Next up in the series will be Jimmy Ryan as suggested by Peter Walker.


Previous article by Mad Hatter

Luton – The Legends Series – Reg Pearce

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  • Billy says:

    Back in the day Keith was one of my favourite players and although I don’t remember the Stockport penalty I do remember another one. He took a penalty at the Kenilworth Road open terrace end and I was standing in the Oak Road. He decided power was the order of the day and over the bar it went and it continued its upper trajectory until clearing the ground. Sorry Keith these things just stick in your mind 👍

  • Con Hope says:

    What about Rodney Fern

  • Con Hope says:

    We swapped Derek Kevan the former WBA & England striker with Stockport to get Keith!

  • Chris winter says:

    My fondest memories of Keith are his running style which is shambolic and his running into 2or 3 defenders and coming out with the ball after the melee.like Billy my memory says that incident was John Moore in a derby against the scum setting off a riot and bottles darts an sharpened pennies being thrown I was in the middle of it !!! But after all these years maybe all our memories are hazy.

  • Tony Byfield says:

    I remember a cup tie against Ware Town, we fielded a weakened team and were really struggling 0-0 at half time. Keith Allen came on after the break and scored a hat trick
    He would always give 100% and was really unerrated by the Manager at the time.

    • Mad Hatter says:

      brave move, back in them days, making the substitution at half time bearing in mind there was only the one sub allowed.

  • Victor Crisp says:

    I wish to nominate George Cummins a very clever inside forward. Being born in 1936 I had the pleasure of watching him play many times in Luton’s colours. Not only could he score goals but he could stick the ball to his feet as he went passed many opponents. Also a great passer of the ball. He deserved his 19 caps he won playing for the Republic of Ireland. I was able to watch virtually every game from after the war until 1958 when the RAF sent me overseas.

  • John Ellingham says:

    A question re Keith Allen. Didn’t he once score a hat trick after coming on as substitute in a cup game?

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