I really didn't want to leave Bristol, says Redford Pennycook
REDFORD Pennycook has revealed his heartbreak at having to leave Bristol – and admitted he considered taking on a part-time job to make up his income.
The openside flanker, a Bristolian and a product of the club's academy system, yesterday sealed his move to Guinness Premiership side Newcastle on a one-year deal.
But Pennycook, pictured, has spoken of his devastation at having to leave his home city behind in the wake of Bristol's failure to win promotion to the Premiership.
After being stunned by Bristol's 50 per cent pay-cut demand, the 24-year-old looked into the possibility of gaining further academic qualifications or taking on a part-time job – and even asked his father if he had any work for him on the building site.
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In the end, however, he opted to sign for Newcastle – but has expressed a strong desire to return to Bristol in the future. He said: "This has been a very difficult decision. I was devastated when we lost the final, but I was coming to terms with that – and with the idea of another season in the Championship – when we had the shock of the pay-cuts.
"I really wanted to stay and I looked into several different ways of doing that – but, realistically, I couldn't have survived on the wage I would have been on.
"I had a look elsewhere and it took me a long time to make my decision, but this is a short career and I need to do the best I can. It has been a very stressful few weeks, because I have been trying to weigh up all the options, including going part-time and getting another job."
Pennycook has joined Luke Eves, Alex Crockett, Lee Robinson, Luke Arscott and James Phillips in leaving Bristol since they missed out on promotion.
The club's other players have been left to mull over the prospect of a drastic cent pay-cut – and Pennycook explored every available option in an attempt to stay with Bristol.
"I am happy that I have now sorted things out, but I am also still a little bit upset about things," he said.
"My family and my girlfriend's family have convinced me that this is the best move for my career, but I really didn't want to leave Bristol.
"I looked at getting another job, but I don't have a degree, only A-Levels, so my options were limited. My dad's a builder, so I asked him about labouring, but he said there's hardly any work for him at the moment, so I couldn't even do that.
"I'm leaving now, and I really want to prove myself in the Premiership, but I would love to come back to Bristol one day.
"If things worked out, I would definitely come back."
But while one talented homegrown back-rower player departs, there is a ray of light regarding another, after Iain Grieve admitted "talks with Bristol are going very well".
Chief executive Steve Gorvett plans to reveal today which players will be staying for the 2010-11 Championship campaign – and there is growing belief that Grieve's name will be on that list.
"It's looking a lot more positive," said the 23-year-old. "The talks with Bristol are going very well and, hopefully, things will be sorted out within a day or so."
Bristol are also hopeful of keeping players such as Mark Irish, Wayne Thompson, Darren Crompton, Roy Winters, Jamie Miller, Robbie Shaw, Adrian Jarvis, Jack Adams and Dan Norton.