Mr. Pentland, our most successful coach | Athletic Club
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Mr. Pentland, our most successful coach

Today, July 29, marks the 137th anniversary of the birth of the most successful coach of Athletic Club

Mr. Pentland, our most successful coach
Mr. Pentland, our most successful coach
Jul 29, 2020

Today, July 29, marks the 137th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Beaconsfield Pentland, one of the most well-known and recognized coaches in the history of Athletic Club. Mr. Pentland, the man who always wore his bowler hat when heading the lions, earned a place in the memory of the red-and-white supporters thanks to the enviable record he achieved in Bilbao, as well as to revive the team when he took the reins of the red-and-white ship. However, he is still the most successful coach within Athletic Club’s history (2 Leagues, 5 Cups and 5 Regional Championships) and he has provided players and supporters with his arrival with modesty, knowledge and values typical of the club.

Mr. Pentland was born in Wolverhampton (England) in 1883 and arrived at Athletic Club from Racing de Santander in order to replace Mr. Barnes, the coach with whom Athletic had won four Cups. This was the beginning of the first of two periods in which the British headed the red-and-white teamfrom 1922 to 1925 and from 1929 to 1933. In his first season, he achieved a Cup wearing his usual bowler hat, which the players took off and smashed once they won it, and which became a curious tradition amongst the members of the squad every time they won a title.

The second stage of Pentland was the most remembered and successful. In those four seasons he won two leagues, four cups and three regional championships. The British went back to the bench of San Mamés with a clear aim at the League Championship: to turn Athletic into the best team in history since, as he said, “There’s only one Athletic”. The first season after his return (1929-30) left spectacular figures for the red-white squad. Athletic ended up undefeated at La Liga, scoring 30 points out of a possible 36 and winning the Cup against Real Madrid. It was the first doublet in the history of the state, a milestone he managed to repeat the following year.

That second League achieved under his command was more competitive. Athletic finished tied on points with Real Sociedad and Racing and it was the biggest goal difference that gave the red-and-white team the title: 73 goals in 18 matches. This season, Pentland achieved one of the biggest wins in the club’s history, beating FC Barcelona 12-1, a victory that was ultimately decisive for the second domestic championship the Club handles today, and one of the eight titles.

In the century red-and-white history, Mr Pentland holds a privileged position. For this reason, several recognitions have followed one another towards the legendary British coach. On December 8, 1959, Athletic hosted a tribute to him at San Mamés against Chelsea FC. Mr Pentland was 76 years old and, already ill, he died just three years later. Athletic held a mass in his honour at The Cathedral.

In 2010, taking advantage of an Athletic-Barcelona League match, and on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the first doublet achieved in Spanish football, the red-and-white Club opened the exhibition ‘Mister Pentland’, inviting his daughter, Angela Hilton, who at 85 years of age was in charge of kicking off the match against Barça, receiving a standing ovation from the stands at San Mamés.

 

Photos: Athletic Club Museoa

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