3 March 1958 |
Doncaster, South Yorkshire
|Subjects||Football, Football hooliganism|
Pennant's mother emigrated from Jamaica while pregnant and he was born in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Six weeks old, he was abandoned and was placed into a Dr. Barnardo's Home. As a black baby, Pennant was fostered by an elderly white family in Slade Green, Kent where he was the only black person, and where he states he was "bullied from day one" year after year, and beaten persistently - "Not just from rivals or other kids, the whole town. Imagine as a kid, you're picked out; people in vehicles shouting out at you, total strangers".
Pennant had been christened Carol (a common boy's name in parts of the West Indies, unusual as a boy's name in England, but is the Irish equivalent for the name "Charles") by his biological mother, which was also a source of bullying for him, particularly at school. After he saw the boxer Cassius Clay beat Henry Cooper he adopted the name Cass.
Pennant who stands 6'5 (195 cm), was a member, and leader, of the Inter City Firm (ICF) associated with the English football club, West Ham United in the 1970s. Cass Pennant's story is remarkable given the level of racism that was prevalent during the 1970s, 1980s and early 90s in Britain. Cass managed to rise to the top and become one of the generals of the ICF despite being black. He was eventually sentenced to four years in prison in 1980 and was the first person to receive a long term sentence for football hooliganism. After a second time in prison he started running a night club security firm in London. While working at one such nightclub in South London he was shot three times. Pennant began writing his autobiography, the first time he was in prison on books that were given to him in English classes but they were seized from him. The second time he went to prison he started again but this time smuggled the books out and that was the beginning of Cass, which was published in 2002.
In 2002, Pennant appeared on the Channel 4 documentary, Football's Fight Club about football hooliganism in the 1970s. He has been a consultant on television programmes such as The Real Football Factories and The Real Football Factories International. He also worked as a consultant and played a cameo role as a riot police officer in the 2005 drama film about football hooliganism, Green Street.
In 2006, he had a documentary made about him, Cass Pennant - Enough Said (Gangster Videos) directed by Liam Galvin, and in 2008 a film was made based on Pennant's life story, Cass, starring Nonso Anozie as Pennant, and directed by Jon S. Baird. In 2010, he played a leading role in the movie Killer Bitch. He also wrote the foreword for Manchester United football hooligan Colin Blaney's book Undesirables and contributed a short piece about Manchester United's rivalry with West Ham
- Cass (2002)
- Congratulations, You Have Just Met the ICF (2003)
- Top Boys: True Stories of Football's Hardest Men (2006)
- Rolling with the 6.57 Crew: The True Story of Pompey's Legendary Football Fans (2004)
- Terrace Legends (2005)
- Good Afternoon, Gentlemen, the Name's Bill Gardner (2006)
- 30 Years of Hurt: A History of England's Hooligan Army (2006)
- Want Some Aggro? (2007)
- "Official website". Retrieved 20 June 2008.
- Solomons, Jason (27 April 2008). "Trailer Trash - Fila dealer". The Observer. Retrieved 20 June 2008.
- Leitch, Luke (16 June 2008). "Enough with the tough from a boy named Carol". London: The Times. Retrieved 20 June 2008.
- Hargrave, Steve (29 July 2008). "Premiere Of New Movie 'Cass', About Life Of Convicted Football Hooligan Cass Pennant | Showbiz News". Sky News. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- Buchan, Jamie (4 August 2008). "Article - North-east director scores hit with first film". Press and Journal. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- Kilner, Martin (29 April 2002). "Welcome to the Top Ten Rumbles". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 June 2008.
- Bellos, Alex (1 March 2005). "Hollywood wakes up to the call of the world's biggest game". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 June 2008.
- [dead link]
- Blaney, Colin (2014). Undesirables. John Blake. pp. ix–xi. ISBN 978-1782198970.