Ronald “Ronnie” Allen was born in Fenton, Staffordshire in England, on January 15, 1929. In high school he played rugby although his true passion was football where he would play in local football clubs until he signed at age 15 with Port Vale FC, with whom he would debut in the first team at age 16, playing the Third Division South. In 1947, he joined the Royal Air Force, where he would play for the division’s football team.
By the end of the 1949-50 season, he would be transferred to West Bromwich Albion, for a transfer fee of £20000, making him the most expensive transfer in the club’s history and one of the most expensive in football history until that date if we consider that the record was for Johnny Morris to Derby County for £24000 in 1949.
Allen was a striker who did not stand out for a strong physique but used his speed and ease to to find spaces in the opposition’s defense as well as having a mobility that made him a very difficult attacker to defend against. To this he added a strong shot that led him to be compared to the legend of Real Madrid and Hungarian football, Ferenc Puskas.
In his debut with the Baggies’ jersey he began to score and that was just a small hint of what was to come as he would be the club’s second all-time top scorer with 234 goals, some as important as those scored in the 1954 FA Cup final (he scored twice) and the FA Charity Shield (scored a hat-trick).
Additionally, he is the eighth player with the most appearances for West Brom with 458. In 1961, he would go to Crystal Palace which was in the Third Division and after a few seasons he would retire from professional football.
In 1965, Allen would join as coach of Wolverhampton although after the relegation of the club, he would take over as manager. With the Wolves he would make a return to the First Division just a couple of seasons later. In 1969, he would be hired by Athletic Club de Bilbao where he would have a great first season, finishing second in the Spanish league just one point behind the champion, Atlético de Madrid.
He would only stay two years in Spain, from where he would later try his luck in Portugal, with Sporting Clube de Lisboa, where he had a brief stint, and then return to England where he would coach Walsall FC. In less than a year, he was already back at The Hawthorns, as a sort of adviser to the scouting section, where he recommended the signing of Cyrille Regis from the non-professional league.
It should be noted that Regis would become one of the legends of the Baggies. He would also assume the position of manager in West Brom although for only a few months since he received an offer from Saudi Arabia to be an advisor to the national team of that country.
A couple of years later, he would return to train in Europe, more specifically at Panathinaikos in Greece before taking the position of West Brom manager again until 1982. Allen would remain connected to the club of his life as a coach, advisor or scout until 1996. On June 9, 2001, he died at age 72 in Great Wyrley, Staffordshire.