BOSS DELIGHTED WITH JOE COOPER CAPTURE - Senior Cup-winning defender joins Magpies from St Dennis
Joe Cooper has left St Dennis to join Penzance. Photo Paul Williams
23rd June 2021
By Gareth Davies
Jubilant Penzance boss Anthony Reynolds says the signing of defender Joe Cooper has given the Penlee Park outfit a ‘massive boost’.
Experienced defender Cooper, who has established himself as one of Cornwall’s best centre backs whilst playing at Falmouth Town, has joined the Magpies from South West Peninsula Premier West rivals St Dennis.
Cooper left Bickland Park during the autumn of 2020 and after initially agreeing to join Porthleven, had a change of heart and joined Saints instead.
But with the Boscawen Park outfit now in something of a transition period with a number of players leaving the Clay Country side, Cooper has opted to also depart.
He links up once again with popular Penzance chief Reynolds after the pair enjoyed a spell working together at Camborne-based side Holmans well over a decade ago.
“Joe and I are football friends, and we are both Camborne men,” Reynolds told the Voice in an exclusive interview.
“I have always kept an eye on how he was getting on at Falmouth and he did fantastically well at Bickland by being a great skipper for them.
“We heard he had left (Falmouth) and went to St Dennis. He has now left there after a few things have gone on although that’s not for me to talk about. We have been trying to get hold of him for the last 18 months and it has come to fruition. He saw what we are trying to build at Penzance with a young side and Joe has looked differently at his football.
“He will be a massive leader and he will be a big part of his squad for next season. We have been looking for a dominate centre-half for a couple of years and Joe certainly fits that bill and ticks that box. He always ticks the box for being a leader and fitting into our group – both on and off the pitch.
“Joe’s signing has given us a massive boost because we have had a pretty settled squad over the last couple of years. Although the past couple of seasons were really just bit parts because of covid, we would have had enough points to stay up on a points-pergame basis.
“To have the quality of Joe will give us that push so we don’t have to fight in the bottom third. We want to aim for mid-table and that’s not being too negative, but we don’t want to look over our shoulders every year thinking that the first thing must be to avoid relegation.”
Reynolds reiterated just how key Cooper’s experience will be for his young Penzance side, who were further boosted this week with pint-sized midfielder Kevin Lawrence agreeing to stay with the Magpies again in a player-coach role.
Danny Everard will assist Reynolds, while Ryan Pawlyn-Davies has taken up a strength and conditioning role.
“Over the last two or three years we haven’t operated with a budget as we have tried to give younger players the opportunity to play at South West Peninsula League level,” Reynolds added. “We have attracted a lot of guys between the ages of 16 to 25 to the club, but we have missed a bit of direction with experience.
“We have gone into some games with an average age of something like 22 and against well-established South West Peninsula League teams, things can often go wrong.
“To bring Joe in will hopefully make other players say ‘wow, Penzance seem to have something going on and things are happening there’.
Off the field, Penzance are also heading in the right direction with works to improve the Penlee Park playing surface carried out due to a donation from Cornish Pirates owner Dicky Evans.
The club are also pressing on with a series of works before the season starts and this Saturday, June 26, volunteers are sought to help with jobs.
Reynolds, meanwhile, paid tribute to chairman Nick George, for his involvement in the continued improvements. “Our chairman Nick George has been a massive pull towards our goal,” Reynolds enthused.
“We have had so much work done over the past six months and things are ongoing too. “We haven’t had that for five or so years, so we go out and say to players ‘look, this is going on at the club’, it will certainly help us and signing Joe just moves it along a little more. He wants to come in and help our youngsters and what better player to do that than someone who played 280 games for Falmouth and captained them to cup wins.”
Meanwhile, Reynolds will get the chance to look at his assembled squad thus far for 2021-22 tomorrow night (Thursday) as pre-season training starts at Penlee Park.
Penzance have also signed talented young winger Kizzy Snowden, who caught the eye whilst playing for Marazion.