Thursday, 24 February 2011

The curious case of Jermaine Pennant

A few years back, myself Kirk and Andrew left the Arsenal stadium after a mid week game. As we made our way along Avenell Road towards and past Arsenal station we noticed Jermaine Pennant leaving the stadium on foot. Wearing his post match suit and with wheelie bag trailing behind him he matched our route. At the time we found this strange that he would be alone and on foot.

Young Jermaine had joined Arsenal as a highly rated youngster aged 15; at the time a record fee of £2m was paid. A hat trick against Southampton was a highlight for Jermaine however; in the same game Robert Pires also hit a hat trick of a quality that eclipsed Pennant’s. This in a nutshell epitomised his career. Never quite making it, never quite breaking into the England set up never quite being dedicated enough. When he left Arsenal it was under a cloud, off pitch shenanigans, alcohol and dressing room discomfort where reasons bandied about.He spent time at Birmingham Liverpool, Portsmouth and Real Zaragoza, who loaned him to Stoke city.
Watching him last night against us for Stoke, I saw a nearly man who at 27 has yet to fulfil that potential shown as a teenager. Yes he has no doubt made good money over his career, and has the tattoos to prove it but is now going through the motions at a club who, inspired by Tony Pulis, play the type of bland percentage football that typifies the majority of Premiership clubs. The dull 1-0 result was the stuff that trophies are made of and I expect that Stoke were probably reasonably satisfied that the loss of three points was only at the cost of one goal in the deficit column.

Seeing Pennant at the Emirates last night wearing the non descript shirt of a non descript club made me think of that night years ago when he cut a lone figure walking home from Highbury with his future almost mapped out;  on the scrap heap at 27 due to living the life of a modern day english footballer , too little attention to detail, too much excess, with a few more years working his way down the football ladder.

Football is not rock n roll and as such can be a cruel mistress indeed.

to be someone

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