This article forms part of our Total Duds feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how bad a deal the club got.
Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope may have just missed out on the Premier League Golden Glove in 2019/20, his 15 clean sheets one short of Manchester City’s Ederson, but that hasn’t stopped Chelsea from taking a rather keen interest in the England international (as per 90min.com).
Just as he made his country’s World Cup squad two years ago, fellow ‘keeper Tom Heaton also earned a major tournament call-up as a Clarets player when he was selected by Roy Hodgson for the Three Lions’ Euro 2016 squad.
Burnley haven’t always had such glittering luck with the goalkeeping position, though. In 2008, Owen Coyle landed Peruvian number one Diego Penny from Coronel Bolognesi in his homeland and was thrown straight into the team on the opening day of the Championship season, when the Clarets travelled to Sheffield Wednesday.
Burnley’s signing of Diego Penny went wrong from the start
Inside the first five minutes of his debut in England, he conceded twice and Burnley were hammered 4-1 at Hillsborough (as per BBC). Despite Coyle being hugely determined to land the giant goalkeeper, who is just under two metres tall, he was benched for the next game and did not make another appearance all season, with Brian Jensen instead the Clarets’ number one as they ended the campaign with a first promotion to the Premier League.
To Penny’s credit, though, he did not kick up a fuss, instead proving to be a very popular figure away from the football pitch with his Turf Moor team-mates (as per The Athletic). His patience paid off as he was given a couple of League Cup appearances in 2009/10, a 2-1 extra time win over Hartlepool and a 3-2 defeat to Barnsley. Four goal conceded in two games against lower-league opposition wasn’t the strongest case to make in terms of displacing Jensen.
The Peruvian can always claim to be a Premier League player, though, replacing ‘The Beast’ after the Clarets’ first choice went off injured against Wigan in October 2009. It was 1-1 when Penny took to the pitch…and 3-1 to the Latics at full-time (as per The Athletic).
The end of Diego Penny’s time at Burnley
Coyle’s contentious departure for Bolton midway through that season and the subsequent appointment of Brian Laws proved a fateful moment in the giant goalkeeper’s career in Lancashire. The new manager signed Lee Grant and banished Penny to train with the reserve team (as per The Athletic).
Did Diego Penny deserve more of a chance at Burnley?
That was the trigger for the Peruvian to call time on his stay at Burnley, returning home to join Juan Aurich in August 2010 on a free transfer. In two years at Turf Moor, he only made four appearances, failed to keep a clean sheet and conceded nine goals (as per TransferMarkt).
Penny’s attitude may have been commendable – he even managed to be circumspect about his treatment from Laws – but on the rare occasions that he got his chance, he wasn’t able to make the most of it, hence a low-key departure after two underwhelming years in England.
Burnley fans, do you feel that Penny simply wasn’t good enough for the Clarets? Have your say by commenting below!
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