Jesse Pennington

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Jesse Pennington
Jesse Pennington 1912.jpg
Personal information
Date of birth (1883-08-23)23 August 1883
Place of birth West Bromwich, England
Date of death 5 September 1970(1970-09-05) (aged 87)
Place of death Kidderminster, England
Playing position Left-back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1903–1922 West Bromwich Albion 455 (0)
National team
1907–1920 England 25 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Jesse Pennington (23 August 1883 – 5 September 1970) was an English football player in the early part of the 20th century. He was nicknamed "Peerless Pennington".

Born in West Bromwich, Pennington was a left-back for West Bromwich Albion for 19 years, from March 1903 to May 1922. Although his career was interrupted by World War I, Pennington made 455 league appearances for the club, captaining them to the league title in 1919–1920. He had also been a part of the team promoted from the Second Division in 1911 and had received an FA Cup runners-up medal in 1912.

During World War I, with regular league play suspended, Pennington was employed in Coventry to work in a munitions factory. While in the city he made a number of guest appearances for Coventry City F.C. in the 1918–19 Football League Midland Section, a temporary wartime division operating while the main league was suspended.[1]

On the international front, Pennington earned 25 caps for England between 18 March 1907 and 10 April 1920, captaining the side in his last two matches. At the time of his final cap he was, at 36 years and 231 days, England's oldest capped outfield player. This record has since been exceeded by Stanley Matthews, Leslie Compton and Stuart Pearce.

After retiring, he worked as a scout for West Bromwich Albion from 1950 to 1960 and was made a life member of the club in 1969, a year before he died in Kidderminster. Pennington was named as one of West Bromwich Albion's 16 greatest players in a poll organised as part of the club's 125th anniversary celebrations in 2004.[2]

Until the shop was bought by the Co-operative in 1934, Pennington also owned a fishing tackle shop at 33 Smethwick High Street,[3] where his family had lived since 1911.[4]

The Bioletti scandal[edit]

In 1913, Pennington was approached by Pascoe Bioletti who offered £5 per player for Albion corruptly to endeavour not to win their forthcoming game against Everton F.C. on 29 November.[5] Pascoe's son, William Alfred Bioletti, was operator of a football betting business in Geneva.

Pennington alerted the police and after the game, which ended in a draw, he met Bioletti, ostensibly for the payoff, at which point the police moved in to arrest Bioletti. Bioletti was sentenced to 5 months' imprisonment in 1914.


  1. ^ Brassington, David (1989). Singers to Sky Blues: The story of Coventry City Football Club (2 ed.). Buckingham: Sporting and Leisure Press Limited. p. 29. ISBN 9780860234524.
  2. ^ "The wraps come off 125th anniversary mural". West Bromwich Albion F.C. 17 November 2004. Archived from the original on 2 February 2008. Retrieved 26 February 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ Image reference PHS/2690, Sandwell Community History and Archives Service
  4. ^ 1911 Census
  5. ^ Sharpe, G. (2003). Free the Manchester United One: The Inside Story of Football's Greatest Scam. London: Robson Books. ISBN 1-86105-633-8. p.5

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