So, farewell then Carl Pentney. The Magpies legend has hung his gloves up following a short spell at Chelmsford City to take up a coaching post with Ipswich Town and no doubt to keep up the good work of the Goalkeeping Academy that he runs with his dad, Lloyd, the Carl Pentney Keeper Academy.
At the end of the final game of Maidenhead’s second season in the Vanarama National League after we had enjoyed the fun of the post-season awards, I was sat down with a pint and got a tap on the shoulder. “I’m leaving” said Carl. “Ok buddy, I’ll see you in July” I said. “No, I am leaving the club”. We had a hug and he was quite emotional.
I think it is fair to say that the Essex Boy enjoyed his time at York Road, other than driving around the M25 with every home game being an ‘away fixture’ for Pents!
And we’ve enjoyed having him. 200 club appearances, it was appropriate that he celebrated that milestone with a clean sheet against Chesterfield in his final game.
I miss his high-pitched estuary-English squeals to his teammates, mocked by opposition fans from around the country. I miss him warming up in a hotel corridor on an overnight away day with Aaron O’Brien throwing footballs at him. I miss hearing Alan Massey give him pelters for being on the phone to Mrs Pentney during coach trips.
For me he is the best goalkeeper I’ve seen at Maidenhead. Great shot-stopper, cat-like reactions, he earned us plenty of points in a title-winning season when every point counted.
He was always fascinated by his stats; we celebrated a clean-sheet at Leyton Orient on his 150th appearance with a selfie. Low points? His sending off for handling the ball outside the area at Havant last season meant that in his four years with the club he missed just one league game, through suspension! Such consistency of form and fitness meant that Alan Devonshire never bothered with a ‘keeper on the bench.
Above all else, a great bloke and a family guy. Those long hours spent on the M25 the only reason a man with two lovely kids would finally quit the club he loves, a club which loves him.
Going by the hours he spent playing Football Manager en route to away days he clearly has coaching ambitions; today Ipswich, next week the England job? I just can’t imagine him barking out instructions with those squeals! Good luck Pents!