RIP Allen Gauden.
Allan began his professional football career at Sunderland, in spring 1962, having joined the club in the summer of 1961 as a youth team player and member of the groundstaff.
He made his first-team début in the 1965-66 season and has the accolade of being Sunderland’s first-ever substitute. The midfielder made fifty-one appearances for the Black Cats before moving to Darlington for a £5,000 fee in October 1968.
Allan signed for Grimsby for £2,000 in February 1972 and made seventeen appearances during the remainder of the 1971-72 season, which ended with the Mariners as Division Four champions. He joined Hartlepool United, who were managed at the time by Len Ashurst, in August 1973.
Ashurst replaced Andy Nelson as Gillingham manager after the 1973-74 season and paid his former club £5,000 to bring Gauden to Priestfield in December 1974. Allan made his début for us in a 3-1 third tier home victory against Crystal Palace at the end of the month, scoring our third goal in a game watched by an all-ticket crowd of 14,565 that included over 5,000 visiting supporters.
Ashurst said afterwards, “I was delighted with Allan Gauden’s début. I knew he was a good player when I bought him and I know that he’ll be a valuable asset to us”. 1975-76 proved to be Gauden’s only full campaign with the Gills. He played twenty-two times in all competitions, scoring once, in a 1-1 home draw against Halifax Town, but only made nine appearances following Ashurst’s resignation in October 1975 to take over at Sheffield Wednesday.
His final match was as a substitute in a 1-0 FA Cup Second Round defeat against Brighton and Hove Albion on 13 December 1975. At the end of 1975-76 Allan called time on his professional career and returned to the north-east, where he played for Blyth Spartans, Gateshead and Willington. He also managed Willington and Durham City.
Our thoughts and condolences are with Allan's family, friends and loved ones.