Linnets Legends - Brian Pendlebury
No series of articles on Linnets Legends would be complete without the late Brian Pendlebury. "Pengy" was a local lad who kept goal for Runcorn from the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s. Under Cyril Lello, Brian became a first class keeper and as early as 1959 he was pulling in the league scouts. A report in the programme of 19 December 1959 claimed that “A scout from Sheffield Wednesday was at Canal Street last Saturday watching Brian Pendlebury, but although it was such a needle match, Brian was not called upon to produce any of the grand saves we all know he is capable of.”
Brian was born in Sandbach but lived in Runcorn for most of his life. He played for Runcorn Amateurs and for the Preston Youth side. He also had representative honours for the Chester & Disrict Youth team as well as the Cheshire Youth team. When Cyril Lello left and Jack Boothway took over as manager, Pengy still remained the first choice keeper, winning the Cheshire League title in 1962/63 and also medals in the Cheshire Senior Cup.
Although he lost his place for a period to Jimmy Cumbes in 1965 he regained the keepers spot when Cumbes was transferred to Tranmere after a magnificent display in the Cheshire Senior Cup Final that year. Brian was part of the historic team that defeated Notts County in 1967 and continued to play in goals up until 1970/71 when he was finally replaced by Alec Clarke (interesting to note that Alec Clarke scored a penalty for the Linnets against New Brighton at the start of the 1971/72 season! Few could remember the last time a goalkeeper had scored for Runcorn but the belief was that Dick Williams had done so in the 1930s!). Can anybody come up with a list of goalkeepers who have scored for the Linnets over the years? We all remember Peter Eales letting Dagenham’s keeper score at Canal Street!
In 1982 Brian did a series of interviews with Dave Bettley for the Weekly News looking back at the match with Notts County, which he regarded as his greatest moment in football. He recalls touring the pubs and never paying for a drink and how they ended up on the stage at the Red Admiral to tumultuous applause! Those were certainly the days and nobody deserves to be a Linnets Legend more than Brian Pendlebury for his dedication to the club over a dozen years.
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