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Catching Up With Jon Penman

Can you remember your debut?

My debut was against Merthyr Tydfil (I think) the Saturday after I had signed on the Friday. Think I came on for the last 15 minutes in a game which we won 3 v 1. To be honest I don’t really know much about the game, I was just nervous as hell. We did go on to win the next 3 games against Stafford Rangers, Gateshead and Merthyr again.

What was your favourite moment in a Southport shirt?

There wasn’t many but to play in a senior game against Burnley was probably the highlight of my time here. I’m a massive Blackburn Rovers supporter so to play against their bitter rivals was brilliant. We won the game 1v 0 with a goal from David Gamble. Many of my mates who are Burnley supporters were also there so to get some abuse of them was pretty funny. Just wish that when I had a one v one with Marlon Beresford that I’d taken it around him and thumped it into the back of the net.. If only!! 

Who were your best friends in the dressing room?

Martin Clarke who was from Accrington and who I had played junior football with for 6yrs was probably my best mate. Also became good mates with Derek Ward who was from the Wirral. They were the lads that would encourage me the most especially when it took me a long time to fit in and score my 1st goal.

What are you most proud of in football?

Proudest and best moment was (dare I say it) when I scored in the FA Cup 1st round for Marine FC. We played Shrewsbury Town and were beaten 11 v 2 (yes 11). We were 8 v 0 down after about an hour and when I was taking the centre after the eighth had gone in I had a tear in my eye. It was embarrassing. But the 9th goal to go in was when I connected with a flighted ball into the box and I rose at the back post to head it in. It was at the end where the Marine fans were situated. When I scored some of the lads from work had made the journey down and it was them who I noticed first and to celebrate with them was fantastic. The fans that day from Marine were unbelievable.

Do you have any regrets from your time at the club?

I think the step up from North West Counties to the Conference was a bit too much for me. I left to go to Marine to play in the Northern Premier league and at that level I had no problems. In hindsight I probably should have gone to Marine first, then moved onto Southport after that.

Tell us an interesting story about your time at the club, something people might not have heard before…

My second away game was against Methyr. I met the coach at junction 19 on the M6. I got on the coach sat in the middle and started to read the newspaper. Within a minute, John McKenna the goalkeeper at the time, had come down from the back of the coach, got my newspaper and ripped it to shreds. It was only when Jimmy Blackhurst said to me that no one from Liverpool reads “The Sun” that I realised why he had done what he did. Since that day I don’t think I have read the Newspaper since. I still see his anger in his face after all this time.

What are you up to these days?

I work for a Conservatory company as a SQA Engineer and when I’m not there I am mainly doing football stuff. I help run a team in the East Lancashire league called Rimington FC. We are a good team and have won the league 6 times in the past 7 seasons. We won the West Riding County Cup beating Bay Athletic 2 v 1 which was played at Elland Rd. That was a great night and again one of the better moments I have enjoyed. When I am not at Rimington I’m taking my son (Charlie 9) to play football. He recently signed for Blackpool FC Under 9 Academy side. Hopefully he can go one step further than me and become a professional player. I keep telling him he will never be as good as his dad but my dad tells me he is definitely going to be. I have got a very understanding wife (Wendy) who I was with when I played at Southport and a very understanding daughter (Hannah 11). They know most of my life has been about football so there is never any pressure from them for me to give up.

Thanks to Jon for taking the time to talk to us