Allan Clarke

The Transfer Record: Allan Clarke

On 11 June 1968, Leicester City signed Fulham’s Allan Clarke for a British record of £150,000, nine months after the Club had first tried to sign him.
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Clarke chose Leicester in preference to Manchester United. The fee involved City’s cult hero, Frank Large, valued at £50,000, being transferred to Fulham in part exchange.

This fee not only eclipsed the Club's previous transfer record by £70,000, it also broke the existing British record of £135,000, paid by Tottenham Hotspur for World Cup winner Martin Peters. 

Clarke made his debut as a 16-year-old for Third Division Walsall in 1963 and his goalscoring feats at Fellows Park resulted in a transfer to top-flight Fulham in March 1966.

Clarke’s next two seasons at Craven Cottage saw him score 44 league goals, but he couldn’t prevent the Cottagers from being relegated in 1968.

Whilst at Fulham, he became an England Under-23s international and represented the Football League. Over six foot tall, he was a clever, fast moving and skilful footballer who was also good with his head.

Signing Clarke was a huge statement of ambition by Leicester City, but he was only at Filbert Street for one season.

In his second home game, he scored a hat-trick against Manchester City, but the Club became mired in a relegation struggle, even though the new manager Frank O’Farrell led the Foxes to that season’s FA Cup Final.

Clarke scored City’s winning goal in the semi-final against West Bromwich Albion and he was the Man of the Match in the final against Manchester City despite his side losing 1-0.

Two months later, with Leicester’s relegation confirmed, Don Revie, the Leeds United manager, paid £165,000 for Clarke’s services. 

In his nine seasons at Elland Road, his goalscoring instincts earned him the nickname ’Sniffer’, and Clarke played for England 19 times while also winning the Football League title, the FA Cup and the Inter Cities Fairs Cup (the forerunner of the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Europa League). He was also a finalist in the European Cup (now the UEFA Champions League).

He finished his playing career at Barnsley, where he was player-manager before going on to manage Leeds, Scunthorpe United, Barnsley again and Lincoln City. As a footnote, his younger brother Wayne briefly played for David Pleat’s Leicester City in 1989.

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