Wigan Athletic old-boy diagnosed with MND

Former Wigan Athletic defender John Pender has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
John PenderJohn Pender
John Pender

Pender twice captained Burnley to promotion in the 1990s, and the news was revealed at a calendar launch to honour the Fourth Division Championship success, with his former team-mates Roger Eli, John Francis and Chris Pearce in attendance.

His family have released a statement, which reads: "Today we are asking you to support ex-Burnley player and "Captain Fantastic", John Pender, who has regretfully been diagnosed with a life changing and debilitating illness, motor neurone disease (MND).

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"Unfortunately John is now completely wheelchair bound and requires 24/7 care to undertake day-to-day tasks.

"John has an enduring love for Burnley FC and the fans, having captained them to two promotions, triumphed at Wembley and put his body on the line during his 171 league appearances. John committed his whole life to football, in particular Burnley.

"So we ask that you, the Turf Moor faithful, pull together so we can transform his quality of life? We hope you are willing to support a fellow claret."

Pender started his career at Wolves, as an apprentice, becoming a regular in the side aged 18, with Wolves promoted to the top flight in 1983.

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However, they suffered three-successive relegations, and Pender joined Charlton Athletic in the summer of 1985, again winning promotion to the First Division, before moving to Bristol City.

In 1990, he joined Burnley after an initial loan spell for £70,000, and helped them win two promotions in three seasons, with Pender the first winning Clarets captain at Wembley.

After relegation in 1995, and 220 appearances for the Clarets, Pender joined Latics for £40,000.

He captained the club and helped them win promotion from the fourth tier in 1997, before ending his career at Rochdale.

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To donate to his family, click here

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