Jermaine Pennant’s footballing ability is often overshadowed by his stormy past. His most notorious incidents came at Arsenal where in January of 2005; he wrapped his Mercedes-Benz around a lamppost after previously being banned for 16 months because of a drink-driving incident.
When he joined them at the age of 16, he was the country’s most expensive teenager but unable to convince Arsene Wenger – Pennant was loaned out to Watford and then Leeds United.
His arrest and subsequent imprisonment for the “lamppost offence” came at a time where he was about to sign for Birmingham City, a move which eventually went through. Knowing he must repay the manager and the board for the faith in which they had shown in him, Pennant enjoyed arguably the best spell of his career making 38 appearances for the midlands club. He went some way in suppressing the notoriety brought about by wearing an electronic tag and such performances earned him many plaudits.
A £6.7 million move to Liverpool was next in his nomadic career where he would again flatter to deceive – a good start at Anfield offered so much promise but eventually fizzled out, leaving many to ponder whether he was simply a peripheral question that would remain unanswered.
He went to Spain to try and forget the past, but after falling out of favour he seemed to simply forget the time. Fined for turning up late 3 times in 2 weeks – his fresh start began to depict a faint trace of his past.
So perhaps a loan move to Stoke from Real Zaragoza is the last chance for one of football’s enigmas?
Tony Pulis certainly seems delighted to be giving him the opportunity saying: said: “It shows the way the club’s moved on but we’ve got to make sure they come in and have the same attitude as the rest of the players. If they do that then hopefully they’ll make us a better team.” Having scored a mere 34 league goals last season, he also added “We’ve always struggled to score since we got promoted.”
He feels that Pennant may provide for his other deadline day signing Eidur Gudjohnsen but the Potters boss must try and eradicate the sort of behaviour that ensured his Anfield exit was not looked upon as a huge loss.
The manager’s dressing room row with former striker James Beattie after Stoke’s defeat to Arsenal, where he reacted furiously to Beattie’s objections to extra training, shows he will not stand and watch his side hindered by “bad-boy” antics. And at 27 years old, surely Pennant himself will want to perform in a bid to prove his true worth without blemishing it with off field antics.
Ultimately, only time will tell as to whether the move will be beneficial to both club and a player looking to re-invigorate early promise but one thing is for sure, the Premier League will again be coloured by his flamboyant character.