1979/80 Promotion Team Article


Not sure if this one’s ever been linked on here before, but its the first time I’ve seen it. 2017 Interview with Don Penn regarding the 1979/80 division 4 runners up team, with a “where are they now” bit.

Thought it might lighten the mood anyway!

I remember many years ago working with a bloke at Sandwell Council who went to school with Don Penn. At the time I’d come across Penn working at a petrol garage, and remember mentioning it to the guy I worked with expressing surprise he hadn’t stayed in the game being such a talent. Workmate replied that at school Penn was never that bothered about football, but he discovered he could just “do it”, ie put the ball in the net! Reading this interview sort of backs that account up.


Those last few games were my very first supporting Walsall. I knew nothing about Walsall or that they were going for promotion. I had been told by my Wolves supporting cousin during a football argument that I should support the town I was born in and so I did, much to his annoyance. He thought I was born in Wolverhampton. I decided I would go to the next match so I just got on a bus from Willenhall and asked directions to the ground and that was me, as a 16 year old female, hooked on Walsall. Shame the love affair appears to be coming to an end.


That kit really does put the nasty tat we wear now to shame.


I thought Paul had an illness rather than an injury. Odd it doesn’t mention Penn’s career ending early through injury- knee?


He picked up some kind of a virus, one tale says on that trip to Spain, and ended up having half of his intestines removed. He was also a very talented cricketer who would have at least made county level but he chose football instead


Yes I remember it as an illness also with Ian Paul. Also odd he doesn’t mention Alan Buckley! I know there was no love lost between Buckley and Mcdonough and interesting that Penn mentions the latter in favourable terms. I think Buckley second top scored behind Penn that promotion season with (I think) 16 goals. Although he was in and out with injury after promotion Penn also scored the goal that kept us up in 81’, and then scored two in a 2-1 win against Exeter in the penultimate home game in 82’ that just kept our later to be realised faint hopes of survival alive that season. Last goal I remember him scoring for us was in the same game when Buckley got his 200th goal v Plymouth in 1983, unless my memories playing tricks.


Good to read as relief from current situation.

2 things I always remember from that season - the amount of “Argentina '78” style paper thrown as players came onto the pitch for the Newport match.

That and being spat at right in the face coming out of the Huddersfield away game!


You are memories are all correct, apart from Penn scoring his last goal in the next match at home to Bradford.

McDonough only scored 7 goals that 1979/80 season, while Penn scored 26 and Buckley 18 (including cup goals), but his strong presence was vital. Buckley needed a big centre forward to occupy the centre halves all through his career.

Makes me think that all the work that Andy Cook is doing this season in battling with big defenders and winning the ball should also be creating openings for his strike partners - but unfortunately they are a long long way from the class of Buckley or the 79/80 Don Penn. Penn was only 23 when he left the club for non-league after scoring 58 goals in 148 + 11 appearances.


A great read and some wonderful memories…he is right when he says we should have won the league.


Cheers Bernie!

Great also how many of that era’s players, were local lads many of whom came through our scouting system into reserve team football (men’s football back in those days) presumably many via Ron Jukes. Kenny Mower was from Bloxwich, Colin Harrison Pelsall, and Brian Caswell Wednesbury. From further afield!!Mark Rees and Penn were from Smethwick I think, Ian Paul Wolverhampton, Roy Mcdonough Solihull, Paul Waddington Oldbury, Ron Green was a Brummie. That’s a lot of local lads.


What a player Waddington was…a right arsey little git.

Seem to remember Liverpool being after Don Penn.


Man City,I think. Supposed to have offered £ 400,000.