Allen: Talent Finder Supreme

And Here’s Why Wolves’ Directors Were Extra Pleased….

Bailey, Dougan, Hibbitt, Munro, Parkin….the names of Ronnie Allen’s signings trip happily off the tongues of Wolves supporters.

But there is another, lesser-known aspect of the promotion-winning boss’s two and a half seasons in official charge that is almost as praiseworthy; namely, that he was well in profit on his transfer dealings at Molineux.

Hard though it is to comprehend given the quality of the talent he recruited, Allen (above) was around £75,000 up on player movement after taking over from Stan Cullis’s interim successor, Andy Beattie.

More than offsetting the £355,000 of club money he spent on fees, the former Albion forward raised £427,000 on movement In the opposite direction.

Top of the incomings was the small fortune Liverpool invested in making Alun Evans English football’s first £100,000 teenager.

Another windfall had already come from Merseyside with Ernie Hunt’s £80,000 exit to Everton and the appetite to find goal-scoring forwards meant Bolton were happy to splash out £65,000 to take winger Terry Wharton to his home-town club.

We should also factor in the fees of £27,500 apiece for Hugh McIlmoyle and Bob Hatton because they effectively lined Wolves’ pockets ready for the decisive and crowd-pleasing splurge on Derek Dougan in March, 1967.

Allen also signed Dave Burnside (£20,000), Mike Kenning (£40,000), Frank Wignall (£50,000) and Alan Boswell (£20,000) but the book-balancing came from getting rid of Dave MacLaren (£10,000), Ken Knighton (£20,000), Ron Flowers (£5,000), Graham Hawkins (£30,000), Pat Buckley (£30,000), Fred Davies (£12,000), Burnside (£12,000) and Glen Andrews (£8,000).

Lest we forget, the sums splashed out on the stars listed at the top of this piece were £40,000 (Bailey), £55,000 (Munro), a club record £80,000 (Parkin), £60,000 (Dougan) and the ridiculously paltry £5,000 on Hibbitt.

t’s fair to say Allen had an expert eye for a player and we should also provide a reminder of what he achieved with his bought and inherited players.

Kenny Hibbitt – not the worst £5,000 worth in the world!

Initially in a caretaker role, he took over a newly-relegated team who had just lost an early-season game 9-3 at Southampton in September, 1965, and led them to a final placing of sixth in Division Two in his first few months in charge.

After being officially given the job, he then took Wolves to promotion in his first full season in charge as runners-up to Coventry and oversaw consolidation back in the top flight in the form of an 18th-place finish, his side having also spectacularly won a tournament in America in the meantime.

*Was there a strong possibility of Ronnie Allen not coming to Wolves at all? Charles Bamforth has been researching the club’s mid-1960s manager pursuit – and come up with some little-known information, which we will be posting soon.