The last home game of 2022 saw Dartford entertain Bath City. Midfielder Luke Allen featured in our matchday programme that day. For those who missed that feature, here is the full article:
Central Midfielder, Luke Allen, arrived at Dartford in the summer of 2019 and has been an important member of the squad ever since.
Despite suffering with a few injury setbacks during his time here at Bericote Powehouse Princes Park, the Basildon-born midfielder is in high spirits when we finally managed to find the time to talk, “…I’m good thanks and am looking forward to watching the World Cup… Hopefully, England will do well and, hopefully, aren’t knocked out by the time this (our conversation) is printed!… They’re not Luke… they’ve reached the Quarter-Finals!
Having mentioned that it’s taken a while for him to find the time to sit down and answer my questions for this feature, Luke explains that he’s been so busy outside of the game and had to make a note on his calendar to sit down and message me (RE: Remainder of the squad – take note of his mindfulness and ability to schedule things ahead of time…! HaHaHa).
“I’m an Assistant Manager for a Financial Client Services company in London. It’s a busy job, but we only work 2-3 days in the office. They’re very good when it come to me having time off from having to travel into the office if I have a game… so, I can’t complain at all. I’m also in the process of buying a house, so just hoping to get that completed before Christmas.”
With a busy career outside of the game, Luke’s typical weekday is, “…quite boring to be honest. I work 9-5 then, depending on whether I’m in the office or not, I’ll try to get myself to the gym. Then I’ll sit down and watch a good TV series.”
Besides that, Luke also enjoys spending time with his friends and family and going out for meals with them. He dreams of starting a family of his own one day and looks forward to the day when he can bring his son/daughter to football games, “…that will be amazing!” And, like most of the squad, he’s also a keen golfer… “I really want to get down to single figures but, at the moment I only get out to play at least once a month. It’s a good social sport and I played with a few of the Dartford lads last year, which was good. I’m hoping that more of us can get together next year when the sun’s come out again.”
Interestingly, Luke holds the course record at London’s Junkyard Crazy Golf, where he got six hole-in-ones in a row! Ample proof that he’s not too shabby with a golf club afterall!
For the time-being though, he’s focused on getting himself fit and to play as many games as possible in order to help the Darts get promoted to the National League… “I think every footballer wants to test themselves. So, hopefully, we can get Dartford promoted and have another crack at that league again.” And, in order to prepare for each coming game, Luke admits to having a few pre-game routines. “…I like to get a quick massage before we go out onto the pitch if I can, as this helps me feel more supple and ready for the game.”
Meanwhile outside of football, he always must have “…a bowl of Weetabix for breakfast when I go abroad. I miss my Weetabix!”
So, how did this Weetabix-obsessed midfielder first get into football? “My Dad and brother got me into the sport. My brother is two years older than me, so we used to be in the garden and were super competitive. So, I’d say it all started from there.” He continues, “…Dad was a Sunday League manager when I was around 5-6. We went an entire season unbeaten and, after that, I joined the Spurs Academy. I remained there until I was 16, which was great.”
It was around the age of 15-16 that a fresh-faced Luke began thinking that a career within the sport was possible as, “…we were allowed to miss a day a week from school in order to play football!” However, the well-grounded young man always knew that it (a career in the sport) would be extremely difficult. He elaborates, “There are so many talented players around, my parents used to make sure that I had something to fall back on if it didn’t work out. I’m extremely grateful for that.”
After leaving the Spurs Academy, Luke then signed for Cambridge United where he went from their Under 18s to the first team, via a loan spell at Cambridge City. He remained with the U’s until he turned 22 then had a successful loan season with Hemel Hempstead where he helped them win the league at Step Six. His journey then took him to St Albans City, Tonbridge Angels, and Braintree Town, where he remained for two seasons and won promotion to the National League via the playoffs and, “…knocking out Dartford in the semi-final stage… SORRY!… before we beat Dowse’s Hampton & Richmond Borough in the final.”
All is forgiven Luke…! Afterall, he soon signed for Dartford and has been here ever since… This is his fourth season at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park. He’s remained with us because, “I’ve played against Dartford a few times and always thought the facilities were a level above many others. The club aspires to get promoted and that’s what I want to help them achieve… I do have personal targets which I try to reach, but I like to keep them to myself to be honest.”
Luke’s honesty is admirable and fully respected, as are his abilities as an important part of Alan Dowson’s midfield engine. One hopes that he can remain injury-free for the remainder of the season as we push to fight for promotion to the National League. And, with that, I’ll let Luke finish off with a final message to the supporters… “The support during each game means a lot to me and the boys. It gives us an extra push, so up the Darts! Just remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and we’ll need you in every game.”
By Chris Palmer