Blackpool have clinched the signing of Shrewsbury Town defender, Matthew Pennington on an initial two year deal, with an option for a third, as announced by the club’s official website.
The 28-year-old former Everton player joins the Seasiders after opting not to extend his contract at the Montgomery Waters Meadow Stadium and will officially become a Blackpool player on July 1.
Pennington has been a key member of Shrewsbury’s squad, arriving on a permanent deal from the Toffees in the Summer of 2021 after a successful loan spell during the previous season. The defender made a total of 101 appearances, scoring nine goals.
The defender turned down a new contract with the Shrews and was linked with moves to several clubs including Reading, Portsmouth and Championship outfit, Birmingham City this summer, before agreeing to sign for Neil Critchley’s side.
Pennington becomes Blackpool’s second new recruit of the close season, following Charlton midfielder Albie Morgan’s arrival earlier this month.
A graduate of Everton’s academy, Pennington spent 16 years at Goodison Park, making his senior debut in 2015 and scored for the Toffees in the Merseyside Derby at Anfield in 2017. He also enjoyed loan spells with Coventry, Ipswich, Hull, Walsall and Leeds and was called up to the England Under 19 squad in 2013.
What Was Said ?
Blackpool Head Coach Neil Critchley said: “Matthew is a player I have been aware of for a number of years and I am delighted we have beaten off significant competition from other clubs for his signature.
“After a successful spell at Shrewsbury where he won the Players’ Player of the Season award last year, we feel we have signed an established player at this level with the potential to improve further.
We would like to welcome Matthew to Blackpool and we look forward to working with him in the future.”
Pennington said: “I’m really excited to be here, this seems like a brilliant place to play football, and I can’t wait to get started.”
He added: “First and foremost I’m a defender and enjoy doing that part of the game. I’m a team player and can play with the ball as well. I know a few of the lads here such as Callum Connolly and Shayne Lavery and I’m excited to see them again. I can’t wait to continue growing and continue learning in tangerine.”
Blackpool’s capture of Pennington looks to be a real coup, as well as a very shrewd bit of business.
The defender has been at the centre of plenty of transfer speculation after he turned down the offer of a new deal at Shrewsbury, with several League One clubs chasing his signature, as well as reported strong interest from Championship side, Birmingham City.
Neil Critchley knows Pennington well from his time as Liverpool’s Under 18 coach and is well aware of the centre back’s strengths.
The Seasiders have been on the lookout for reinforcements in the central defensive department after Jordan Thorniley joined Oxford earlier in the close season and Pennington, who can also slot in at right back, will be a welcome addition as Critchley plots a second promotion from League One, in his second spell in charge.
Shrewsbury fans will be disappointed to see Pennington depart after he made more than 100 appearances and was virtually ever present during his time with the Shropshire club. Pennington was named as the Shrews Players Player Of The Season in 2022/23.
Critchley is looking to strengthen all areas of the pitch ahead of the August 5th kick off at home to Burton Albion and will also be hoping to keep hold of key striker, Jerry Yates who continues to be linked with several Championship clubs hoping to prize Blackpool’s top scorer away from Lancashire.
Experienced goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell is also reportedly heading to Bloomfield Road as back up for number one, Daniel Grimshaw.