John (Jack) Allen was born in Newcastle upon Tyne on 31st January 1903. He joined Leeds United in 1923 but only played in two games before moving onto Brentford in August 1924. A centre-forward he scored 24 goals in 54 games over the next two seasons.
In March 1927 Allen signed for Sheffield Wednesday. He was a great success and he was the club's leading scorer for the next two seasons. He also helped the club win the First Division league title in 1928-29 and 1929-30 seasons. Allen scored 76 goals in 104 appearances for Wednesday.
Allen joined Newcastle United in June 1931. His first season was slightly disappointing and scored only 12 league goals in the 1931-32 season. Newcastle only finished in 11th place that year. However, they had a good FA Cup run and they beat Blackpool (1-0), Southport (9-0), Leicester City (3-1), Watford (5-0) and Chelsea (2-1) to reach the final against Arsenal at Wembley Stadium. Allen scored five goals on the way to the final.
Arsenal scored first, eleven minutes after the start, when Bob John headed in a centre by Joe Hulme. Just before half-time Jimmy Richardson chased what appeared to be a lost cause, when David Davidson sent a long ball up the right wing. When the ball appeared to bounce over the line, the Arsenal defence instinctively relaxed. Richardson managed to hook the ball into the middle and Allen was able to head home. Despite the protests, the referee W. P. Harper, awarded the goal. David Jack missed an easy chance midway through the second-half and soon afterwards Allen scored again to win the game for Newcastle 2-1.
In the 1932-33 season Newcastle United finished in 5th place. Allen scored 19 goals in 36 league games that season. The following year he moved to Bristol Rovers, but he only played in six games before being transferred to Gateshead.