Gary Penrice

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Gary Penrice
Personal information
Full name Gary Kenneth Penrice
Date of birth (1964-03-23) 23 March 1964 (age 53)
Place of birth Bristol, England
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Playing position Striker/Attacking Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1984–1989 Bristol Rovers 188 (54)
1989–1991 Watford 43 (18)
1991 Aston Villa 20 (1)
1991–1995 Queens Park Rangers 63 (20)
1995–1997 Watford 29 (2)
1997–2000 Bristol Rovers 57 (15)
Total 400 (110)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Gary Kenneth Penrice (born 23 March 1964) is a former professional footballer. He played for Bristol Rovers, Watford, Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers as a striker. Following a career that saw him make over 400 appearances, he became an assistant manager, attacking coach and later a talent scout.

As of August 2013, he is a talent scout for Everton F.C. specialising in the European market.

Early life[edit]

Penrice was born in Bristol and grew up in Mangotsfield, where his parents still live today. Penrice was in the same class as ex-Blackpool manager Ian Holloway at school and they still remain close friends today. Penrice's potential footballing ability was evident from a young age and he was signed up as an apprentice by Bristol City; however, they later decided to release him, stating that he was too small to make it as a professional. After being released from his apprenticeship, Penrice, like his father before him, signed for local side Mangotsfield United.[1]

While playing for Mangotsfield, Penrice attended college and became a qualified plumber, planning to build himself a new career after failing to make the grade at Bristol City. Penrice worked as a plumber for a couple of years before his forgotten dream was to be rekindled. After scouts attended several of Mangotsfields matches, Penrice was offered a trial and signed with the team he and his family supported, Bristol Rovers.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Bristol Rovers[edit]

Prior to signing for Rovers, Penrice spent time in the reserve-team. After making his first-team début, Penrice went on to become a regular, playing alongside ex-school friend Ian Holloway.[2] Penrice's twenty goals helped Rovers into the Third Division play-off final in 1989, only to be beaten 2–1 on aggregate by Port Vale.


Penrice would later miss out on a fairytale Third Division Championship success with Bristol Rovers to sign for Watford for a club record £500,000 sale late in 1989. Penrice played for Watford for only one season, scoring 18 goals in 43 appearances, including a run of eight goals in his first nine games, before catching the eye of First Division side Aston Villa.[3]

Aston Villa[edit]

Following his season with Watford, Penrice was snapped up by Aston Villa for a £1 million in 1991.[4] He went on to score only once for the club in twenty games, spending much time on the sidelines with a broken leg.

Queens Park Rangers[edit]

Just eight months after signing for Villa, Penrice was taken to Queens Park Rangers by former Rovers boss Gerry Francis. He joined an ex-Rovers enclave and teamed up again with Ian Holloway. Penrice made his début for QPR in November 1991 against Aston Villa and went on to play 63 league games, scoring twenty goals.[5]

Return to Watford[edit]

In November 1995, Penrice signed for former club Watford. After scoring over twenty top-flight goals, Penrice, now 31, reverted to a deeper creative-midfielder role.

Return home to Bristol Rovers[edit]

Penrice re-signed for Bristol Rovers on a free transfer in the summer of 1997 to lead them to the Second Division play-offs that year alongside player-boss Ian Holloway in the centre of midfield. After a 16-year career, scoring 110 goals in 400 professional appearances, Penrice retired from playing and became Holloway's assistant manager at Rovers after Phil Bater moved to take control of the youth team.

Post-playing career[edit]

Assistant manager[edit]

Since his retirement from playing, Penrice has stuck with friend Ian Holloway as his assistant manager at both Bristol Rovers and later at Queens Park Rangers. He resigned from his position at Bristol Rovers in February 2002.[6]


After leaving Q.P.R., Penrice followed Holloway to Plymouth Argyle as chief scout in September 2006,[7] turning down the offer of assistant manager. Penrice did, however, become strikers coach on a one-day-a-week basis after being asked by Holloway to help develop Plymouth's strikers by utilising his attacking knowledge.

Penrice left Plymouth Argyle at the end of November 2007, once again re-joining Ian Holloway at Leicester City as head of recruitment.[8] Following Holloway's departure from Leicester, Penrice left Leicester by mutual consent on 1 July 2008 after Nigel Pearson had taken charge at the club.[9]

In October 2008, Penrice joined Stoke City as a European Scout. Tony Pulis was eager to add Penrice to the Stoke scouting network to utilise his knowledge of the European transfer market. He remained at Stoke for three years.[10]

Penrice is now involved in international player recruitment on a freelance basis, searching out talent abroad for a number of clubs, including Wigan and Blackpool. The Daily Express reported that he joined Everton F.C. in August 2013.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Penrice is married to Louise and has three daughters: Amy, Rebecca and Grace.


  1. ^ a b Hughes, Simon (2015). Men in White Suits: Liverpool FC in the 1990s - The Players' Stories. Random House. ISBN 9781473510517. 
  2. ^ Bryne, Stephen; Jay, Mike (2014). Bristol Rovers FC: The Official Definitive History. Amberley Publishing. ISBN 9781445636474. 
  3. ^ "Gary Penrice Aston Villa". Sporting Heroes. Retrieved 28 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "Gary Penrice departs Watford for Aston Villa". Watford Observer. Retrieved 28 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "Gary Penrice". Sporting Heroes. Retrieved 28 November 2015. 
  6. ^ "Penrice resigns". BBC News. 1 March 2002. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "Penrice joins Holloway at Argyle". BBC News. 20 September 2006. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "Trio Join Ollie". Leicester City Official Website. 29 November 2007. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. 
  9. ^ "Official Statement". 1 July 2008. Archived from the original on 21 August 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  10. ^ "WHERE 'R' THEY NOW? GARY PENRICE". QPR. 3 January 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  11. ^ "Everton poach Gary Penrice from Wigan". Retrieved 10 August 2013.