Monday, February 25, 2013

25 February 1967 - The Death Of Tony Allden

On 25 February 1967, Highgate United's Tony Allden was struck by lightning in an FA Amateur Cup quarterfinal against Enfield. He died the next day.

The 22-year old, 6'1" center half helped propel the small Worcestershire Combination club into the quarterfinals of  the tournament where they hosted Enfield, a Isthmian League side sitting two levels above Highgate in the English football pyramid. Enfield were clear favorites, but the stands were humming with anticipation from a capacity crowd of over 2,000 as the teams took the pitch under a heavy downpour.

But at 3:27 pm, with just under half an hour played, a bolt of lightning struck Allden, who was standing in the center circle. According to one report, Allden was left "crumpled in an aura of blue smoke." Two other players, brothers Eric and Roy Taylor, also collapsed due to shock. All three were rushed to the hospital where the Taylors soon recovered, but Allden did not. He passed away from his injuries the following afternoon.

Because of media attention, the replay drew a crowd of over 30,000, forcing its move away from Highgate's Tythebarn Lane to the larger Villa Park, where Enfield won 0-6 (they went on to win the cup over Skelsmerdale United in a final reply at Manchester City's Maine Road ground).

That April, a memorial match was played in Allden's honor between a Midlands XI and an International XI. He was also recognized with the creation of the Tony Allden Memorial Cup.


8 comments:

  1. I remember tony well as we were friends after leaving bordesley green tech school bham. we also played in some soccer teams together. great man taken so young.

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  2. Replies
    1. As far as I know, yes. I haven't seen anything that contradicts the official story.

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    2. I was there and I can tell you that the lightning bolt was just like you see in the cartoons. A jagged flash that cause ones eyes to close and when I opened mine he and several others were lying on the ground. The ground in front of Tony allden was black and steaming and there was a large hole in it. He was lying there on his back with steam coming off his body, his shirt was gone. The poor lad had no chance and I was amazed that he survived until the following day.

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    3. Hi. My dad was also there. His name was Tony law. I know it haunted him for a long time.

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  3. A very sad day. I remember it well. Highgate United were definitely underdogs and Enfield were one of the top amateur sides at the time but there no actual 'pyramid' at that time in English football.

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  4. I didn't know that about the pyramid. Thanks.

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