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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 March, 2005, 15:30 GMT
Blues standing by jailed Pennant
Jermaine Pennant
Birmingham have vowed to help rehabilitate Jermaine Pennant after the on-loan Arsenal winger was jailed for three months for driving offences.

The Blues confirmed they will discuss the 22-year-old's future with Arsenal but ruled out ending his loan spell.

Birmingham managing director Karren Brady said: "We hope he accepts his punishment and learns from his mistake.

"On his release we'll give him all the help and support he needs to turn his life around."

Arsenal have indicated they have no intention of terminating Pennant's contract, although it expires at the end of the season, the same time as his loan spell at St Andrews.

Jermaine is going to have to come to terms with himself
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor

Brady insisted Birmingham would do all they could to help Pennant's rehabilitation, something in which the Professional Footballers' Association will also play a major role.

Brady added: "We hope that under our guidance he will be able to make a positive contribution to football and society as a whole."

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said he was "disappointed but not entirely surprised" at Pennant's imprisonment, "bearing in mind his previous record and the fact that although he is a professional footballer, that does not place him above the law."

Taylor was sure both clubs would support Pennant, who he described as "a young man at the crossroads of his career."

He went on: "Arsenal have a reputation for sticking by players. They've had players like Paul Merson and Tony Adams in the past who came to terms with their problems.

"Jermaine is going to have to come to terms with himself but he can expect support from the PFA.

"We try to educate players against the dangers of drink, particularly when combined with driving."

Pennant joined Birmingham on loan last month until the end of the season after finding first-team opportunities at Highbury limited.

He made himself an instant hit with Blues fans, with his first cross in a Birmingham shirt providing a goal for Walter Pandiani in the win over Southampton.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor


Interview: Pennant's agent Sky Andrew





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