WHEN he was a schoolboy, Nettlestone-born Barry Allen was more famous as a local boxing prospect than a footballer.

At the age of 15, he couldn’t even get a game in either of the Seaview teams.

But within the space of less than ten years, Barry became the most feared striker in south coast non-league soccer.

It was no surprise when Portsmouth, Fulham, Barnsley and Luton Town all took an interest.

He was certainly good enough — but luck was against him.

It could have all happened at Craven Cottage when he had a week-long trial with Fulham.

He played for their reserves against the first team, who included Johnny Haynes, Jimmy Hill and Jim Langley — and even managed to stick one past the legendary Tony Macedo.

Sadly, he had been on the trial without the permission of his club, Ryde Sports.

Isle of Wight County Press: Barry Allen.Barry Allen.

Their fastidious secretary at the time did everything by the book and Fulham were forced to deny he had been with them.

They were keen to sign him.

Many local soccer fans still firmly believe Barry should have made it. Far less talented strikers became household names.

Prior to getting his chance at St Helens, where he teamed up with Tony Grimwade, another burgeoning young striker, Barry was an Isle of Wight, Hampshire and Southern Counties boxing champion, who attended Bishop Lovett School.

Failing to make the weight for his London semi-final probably cost him a national title.

Isle of Wight County Press: Barry Allen as promising young boxer.Barry Allen as promising young boxer.

Dare I mention his greatest schoolboy disappointment — well let’s keep it in the family, anyway.

In the Island Schools Cross-Country Championship, Barry came second to his kid brother, Keith.

It was a little embarrassing and Barry was almost frightened to go home.

Later, Barry was so proud of Keith, who went on the play in the Football League with Grimsby, Luton, Stockport and Plymouth.

After moving to Ryde Sports from St Helens, Barry just kept on scoring — and he was soon spotted by Newport.

At Church Litten, he had three amazing seasons — netting around 100 Hampshire League goals.

Isle of Wight County Press: Barry (front row, centre) was part of a good Newport side in the mid-60s.Barry (front row, centre) was part of a good Newport side in the mid-60s.

In those days, teams like Waterlooville, Gosport, Fareham Town, Salisbury and the A sides of Pompey and Saints, made it such a formidable league.

It was far superior to today’s Wessex League.

It was not all plain sailing at Newport. In this first season, Barry was quickly among the goals, but he broke his arm at Gosport.

Back in 1976, Barry told me he was unhappy how the club treated him after the accident — so much so, he left and signed for Seaview the following season.

It proved to be an epic campaign for Roy Shiner’s Seaview — winning the league and assorted cups.

In a Seaclose evening game late that season, a crowd of around 800 watched Parkhurst Old Boys take on Seaview.

Isle of Wight County Press: Barry Allen, in action for Newport.Barry Allen, in action for Newport.

It was the biggest crowd they had there, until the music festivals started. It finished Parkhurst 6, Seaview 7.

For many, it was the most entertaining game ever seen on the Island. The visitors were 4-0 up at one stage.

The Seaview forward line, probably the best ever in the Island League, who amassed 227 goals that season, consisted of Lenny Brown, Nobby Nash, Tony Grimwade, Barry and his brother, Trevor.

Barry scored the sensational winner with a stunning cannonball from at least 40 yards.

Barry told me, only last week: “It was dark and old Del Dorsett in goal didn’t see it.”

That was him being modest. Both sets of players just stood and clapped.

Isle of Wight County Press: Barry has a deep affection for Island football and cricket.Barry has a deep affection for Island football and cricket.

For the next two seasons, Barry returned to Newport and became the Hampshire League’s top striker — scoring hat-tricks like shelling peas.

On so many occasions, defenders found him just unstoppable, with his fearless running and brutal shooting.

Basingstoke were so envious of his scoring record, they offered him a deal he could not refuse.

Eventually, they added Newport’s Chris Cheverton and Barry Dyer to help take their club to new heights.

Luton spotted his talents and a scout saw him score twice and make two more.

Incredibly for Barry, Luton took it no further.

Barry moved on to Division 1 of the Southern League with Waterlooville — and he was still banging in the goals.

They were promoted and, in one season, did the double over champions Wimbledon, who were on the verge of going into the Football League.

The ‘Crazy Gang’ wanted to sign Barry, but he was around 28 and felt it was too late.

Ironically, his Island mentor, Roy Shiner, didn’t sign for Huddersfield until he was 27.

After Waterlooville, Barry spent a season at Bognor, before returning home to sign for East Cowes Vics.

During his stay, which he enjoyed, he played, was a coach and became manager.

Then, via Bembridge, he signed for Roy Shiner’s St Helens and they had a fantastic season — climaxed by winning the Hampshire Intermediate Cup.

He finally played for Seaview Reserves until he was 50.

Barry was also a fine cricketer for Bembridge — and then St Helens, when the two clubs merged.

In one game, against Westover, he bowled a hat-trick in the first over and still has the ball, specially mounted.

Amazingly, Barry’s talented cricketing son, Marc, has also achieved the same feat.

Barry’s dream for St Helens came last year when they beat highly fancied Newport to win the IW Knock-Out Cup.

He loved watching Marc, a top performer on the day, and his team mates, stun their opponents.

Another Allen family record was achieved in 1975, when the Seaview All-Star XI played the Ex-Pompey-Professionals.

Barry played alongside four of his brothers — Ernie, Ken, Trevor and Keith.

In all, Barry had six brothers and six sisters.

In 1993, Barry once made national headlines — without a football in sight!

He was pictured in the Daily Mail with Tory MP, Virginia Bottomley, who had a home in Seaview.

He was actually wearing a Margaret Thatcher mask at the time.

She did know him — but not until he took the mask off!