Birmingham & Black Country

Footballer hit by lightning in Highgate United match remembered

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Media captionFootballer killed by lightning 50 years ago honoured by club

A stand has been named in memory of a footballer who was killed by lightning whilst playing 50 years ago.

Defender Tony Allden, 23, died as he played for West Midlands club Highgate United in an FA Amateur Cup quarter-final.

The renamed Tony Allden Stand at Highgate was unveiled at 14:00 GMT.

On 25 February 1967, opponents Enfield were wining 1-0 when the game was stopped in the 28th minute when recently married Mr Allden was struck.

Enfield went on to win the rearranged match 6-0 at Villa Park, which was watched by a crowd of 30,000 with proceeds going to the player's family.

Image copyright BPM Media
Image caption This Highgate United photo included Tony Allden (back row, fourth from left), Eric Taylor (back row, eighth from left) and Roy Taylor (front row, fifth from left)
Image caption Eric Taylor (left) and younger brother Roy, who were taken to hospital and treated for shock, returned to the club ahead of the anniversary

More than 3,000 were at the original game involving the Solihull club.

Team-mate Roy Taylor said: "The chances of it happening must be millions to one... [there was] just a flash and a lot of the players went down like a pack of cards."

Mr Taylor and brother Eric, another former Highgate player, were taken to hospital and treated for shock.

Image caption BBC TV presenter David Coleman, who was introducing rugby coverage at Twickenham, told viewers lightning had stopped the Highgate match

Ken Barnett, who was at the Highgate game and played football and cricket with Mr Allden, said: "Obviously I was heartbroken really because he was a good mate of mine and he didn't deserve to have his life cut that short... from a freak incident."

Image caption A crowd of 30,000 saw the rearranged game at Villa Park, which Enfield won 6-0
Image caption The Highgate players wore the Aston Villa strip during the rearranged game
Image caption A plaque was unveiled before Highgate's Midland Football League Premier Division game with Long Eaton United

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