One of the most prolific strikers could have done with a Bosnon as Spurs let him slip and Blackpool…..
Full Name: Hall, Berthold Allan Couldwell
Date Of Birth : 29/03/1908
Birthplace : Deepcar, Sheffield
Died : 09/02/1983
Previous Clubs Doncaster, Middlesborough, Bradford, Lincoln, Spurs Blackpool and gainsborough
Full Imp Record
Apps : 76 (League 72 ; Goals : 68 (league 64)
Football League record :
Apps : 72 ; Goals : 64
LCFC Debut : 29/08/1931, Darlington (h) 2-0, FL Division 3N and yes of course he scored
A Yorkshireman, born in Sheffield, Alan was a goal machine and no mistake. Big strong and direct if he got the ball there was only one place he was going to put it. Job done. A fateful transfer to Blackpool apart, Alan Hall would have been as great as 66 in a season man Dixie Dean was for Everton. Alas when the Imps sold him to Spurs for a huge fee, it would be far from a tangerine dream as soon as Blackpool got hold of him. Sadly for our most deadly finisher it would be 68 years before the Bosnen ruling could help.
Alan had started his football career with Victoria Hall Juniors and Sheffield Park Labour Club before joining Doncaster Rovers at 18 in August 1926 (22 goals from 30 League appearances). He subsequently moved to Middlesborough (2 from 7) and Bradford City (4 from 11) before signing for the Imps for about £200 and the train fair in May 1931 aged 23. Manager Harry Parkes was a man on a mission , City having been beaten to the 3rd Division North championship by a point at the hands of local rivals Chesterfield a week earlier. Despite leading the league for nearly the whole season and scoring 102 goals, the Imps had lost 2-3 away in front of a huge 20,092 to concede the title and promotion. The City emptied to make the trek and the board realised the potential was vast if we could but get back into the second tier. Parkes wanted even more firepower to finish the job and promised a return to the might of Division two the following season. He certainly got that with Hall, the Herculean Howitzer was quite simply an in and out of the box instant Sincil sensation.
In his first season with City Hall fired 56 goals in 50 first team appearances, including League, cup, friendlies and two games against Wigan Borough which were expunged from the record books when the club folded mid-season. If a kid had dropped an apple in Silver Street, Hall would have instinctively volleyed the ball off the underside of the Stonebow and shook it to its very foundations. A natural born killer when it came to finishing he would charge keepers, ball in both hands, into the back of the net. Charles Pringle would supply the brains in this team but Alan Hall supplied the brawn as the Imps won our first League honour as champions of the 3rd Division North. Though we finished level on 57 points with Gateshead, our 106 goals for and only 47 against simply blew them away on goal average.
Howitzer Hall hammered four against Southport (7-0), and 3 hat tricks against Chester (4-0), Darlington (6-0) and Crewe (5-1). A run from Boxing Day saw him sandwich a brace in between two hatricks (8 in 3) on an 8 game consecutive scoring run yielding 13. The man would have scored in a Convent with his hobnail boots superglues to the church alter. Alan took a couple of weeks off before finishing the season with 12 goals and a pretty impressive half a dozen braces. Out – bloody – standing. At that time Lincoln`s urban population numbered 56,000 with at least 1in 6 enticed (8,000 – 9,000) to see the all conquering Imps each and every game. Top gates included 2 new record crowds against Wrexham (14,938) to clinch the championship with a nil nil in which Hall allegedly nearly broke the bar. A 14,178 sardine session earlier in the season against rivals Gateshead went home happy as the holy ghost of goal scoring got the winner in a 1-0 win.
In January 1932 the Imps scored an incredible 7 goals in 21 minutes with Frank Keetley getting six of them. Hall looked as his goal maker stole the show for a change. He did give us the lead of course with Riley adding a second to put us two up at half time. Our opponents hapless Halifax had been the only side to stop us scoring all season. We would win 9-1 with a ‘rhymer` of the time celebrating with “I hay toled of how Frank Keetley, shoots so well and passes neatly” of Hall who had a quiet game by his standards he added, ” I have sung of Alan Hall, who`s a terror with the ball”. Don`t give up the day job geezer. An inside forward Keetley bagged three more braces that season and six singles to finish on 18.
There has been some debate over the years as to whether Hall got 41 or 42 league goals that first season. The confusion surrounds a game at Chester, which City lost 2-1 with our goal coming from a penalty. The assumption in Cheshire was that Alan Hall got the penalty however George Whyte took our penalties at the time. The Lincoln press followed up their ‘grinsville` counterparts a day later with the error.
He also netted 23 times from his 32 League games the following season with braces against Bury (2-2) Grimsby (6-3 ) West ham (6-0) Tottenham (2-2) Charlton (2-4) Plymouth (3-0) and Nottm Forest (2-2), The highest crowd of the season was against Grimsby with 14,102 witnessing a brace from Hall along with a 6-3 seat of your britches derby. Two goals at home and one away at Tottenham tempted them to offer us a king`s ransom in the summer 1933. Not only was £3,000 a huge sum and a record fee, but it was a thousand more than Parkes had spent to assemble the entire Div 3 North championship side the year before. Hall did not want to go to be fare and his instinct was proved right, as the next 24 months would ruin his career.
Howitzer Hall was considered a little too direct for Spurs and would only play two League games for them. He was certainly a prolific scorer for their London Combination side but clearly he was not up to the finer points of the mighty first Division according to the coaches. They were happy to get their money back when recently relegated Blackpool, who were eager to return to the top flight; stumped up the cash. Despite a that huge £3,000 fee Blackpool quite simply wasted his talent throwing money at a succession of centre forwards despite him scoring in his opening two matches and bagging four goals in six games at outside right. He started 34/35 in the Central League but was only given a game when the preferred Hampson was injured. Scoring a goal in each of the three games he was selected, he would also get 17 in the central League. Stats of four league goals in 8 games were pretty creditable you would think? Worse however was to come as Blackpool transfer listed him at £1,000 and literally forced him from league football.
After Notts County and Hull made £750 bids, Hall felt that the fee was too much and in June 1935 he applied to The Football League for a reduction but the League refused to intervene. He thus returned to Lincolnshire with Gainsborough Trinity in July 1935. He would hammer 52 goals in 50 games for them during the 1935/36 season and then write again to the Football League for a reduction in the fee. Again they refused telling him to refer any interested League clubs to Blackpool. As none would pay a thousand for a grand player he was forced to play out the rest of his career at The Northolme netting a phenominal 207 goals in 209 games. Much as the Imps would love to have had him back he did get 10 goals in 29 games as a guest during the Second World War.
Alan Passed away in February 1983 of natural causes.
Season 1931/1932 :
Apps : 43 ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 45
Fours: Southport (7-0)
Hat tricks: Chester (4-0) Darlington (6-0) Crewe (5-1)
Braces: Tranmere (4-2) Doncaster (3-0) Luton (2-2) Wrexham (3-1) Accrington (2-2) Hartlepool (3-4)
Highest gate 14,938 V Wrexham 0-0 plus 14,178 V Gateshead.
Typical gate 8,000 – 9,000 (at the time the City had a population of 56,000.
Season 1932/1933 :
Apps : 33 ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 23
Braces: Bury (2-2) Grimsby (6-3) West ham (6-0) Tottenham (2-2) Charlton (2-4) Plymouth (3-0) Nottm Forest (2-2)
Highest Crowd Grimsby 14,102 (6-3)
Typical crowd 9,500 with 6 over 11k
1 Andy Graver (50/51-54/55,55/56,58/59-60/61) Apps : 289 ; Goals : 150
2 Johnny Campbell (33/34-38/39) Aps 198(0) Goals 110
3 Gordon Hobson (77/78-84/85,88/89-89/90 Aps 372 (14) Goals 105
4 John Ward (70/71-78/79,81/82) Aps 243 (20) Goals 99
5 Billy Dinsdale (26/27-30,30/31) Aps 136 Goals 103
6 Johnny Garvie (50/51-55/56) Aps 192 (0) Goals 80
7 Roy Chapman (57/58-60/61, 64/65-66/67) Aps 186 (1) Goals 81
8 Allan Hall (1931/32-1932/33) Aps 76 (0) Goals 68
9 Percy Freeman (70/71-72/73, 74/75-76/77 Aps 166 (15) Goals 76
10 Ernie Whittle (1949/50-1953/54 151 aps 64 goals