Renneville William “Pepper” Image 1 Leyton 1910

Renneville William “Pepper” Image 1 Leyton 1910


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Mullingar, Co. Westmeath born outside right William “Pepper” Renneville played only schoolboy football before leaving Ireland for London. He then played junior football for Harrow Green, GER Mechanics and Leytonstone (c.1904) and eventually joined Southern League side Leyton in 1907. It was while with the London-club that Renneville won his first three Irish international caps, all at outside-right, as Ireland made a rare challenge in the 1910 Home Nations Championship. He made his debut in a 1-1 draw with England at The Solitude Ground, Belfast in February 1910 and played the next month in a 1-0 win over Scotland at Windsor Park that left the Irish needing to beat Wales to claim the title, even a draw would see the trophy shared. However Wales won 4-1 at The Racecourse Ground Wrexham, and Ireland slumped to third.

Finally, in May 1910, Renneville made it into the Football League signing with First Division Aston Villa in May 1910. He played just twice for Villa that September, making his debut at Sunderland  in a 3-2 defeat and scoring a week later in a 3-0 win over Woolwich Arsenal at Villa Park, as a battling centre-forward, who, despite his diminutive stature, made an impact on the toughest of opposition defenders. While at Villa he did win a fourth and final cap, against Wales at Windsor Park in January 1911, though it proved a sad end to his international career as he left the field injured after 55 minutes, with the Welsh defeating the ten-man Irish 2-1. Renneville’s Villa career was ended due to an injury collected in a reserve team game and his retirement was announced in April 1912.

That was not the end however, as Renneville returned with non-League Worcester City in October 1914. Despite further injuries he played in Walsall’s first post-Great War season. He was one of ten players tried at outside right, and although his accurate corner kicking was commended, his general play was slow. Through October and November 1919 he played in a total of four Birmingham & District League and Staffordshire Cup matches for the club, scoring once. He joined Hinckley United in September 1920, and Wolseley Athletic a year later before retirement.

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