The club was founded in 1920 Unofficially, Official as Football Association of Penang in 1921 (Malay: Persatuan Bola Sepak Pulau Pinang). Penang FA is the second oldest football team in Malaysia. The team is based in the state of Penang in the north of Malaysia. Penang have consistently been a decent team throughout their history, producing players such as the country’s first Olympian. Penang is the fifth most successful team in Malaysian football history with 14 champions.
Early years (1920-1950s)
In 21 October 1921, the club was founded. Almost all the big matches were played at Victoria Green, home of the Chinese Recreation Club. The team enter into the final of the Malaysia most prestigious football tournament, Malaysia Cup’s final in 1934, but the team lost to Singapore FA with a heartbreaking score of 1-2. Penang enter into the final of the last edition of Malaysia Cup before World War II and they lost to the same opponent in 1934 with the same score. During the World War II, football competitions were stopped.
Glory Days (1950s-1970s)
An era spanning the 1950s to the 70s when Penang was among the top teams in inter-state football.
The 1950s saw Penang producing players such as the country’s first Olympian, Yeap Cheng Eng, Yeang Kah Chong, Tan Swee Hock, Wong Kam Poh, Yap Hin Hean, Liew Fee Yuen, Lee Ah Loke, the Pang brothers and more. Since the early 1950s, Aziz Ahmad was Penang’s top goal-getter in 1953 and 1954. He scored the winning goal when Penang defeated Singapore 3-2 in the 1953 Malaya Cup final in Ipoh. Penang won 3 Malaysia Cup champions (1953, 1954 and 1958) and 4 FAM Cup champions (1952, 1955, 1956 and 1957).
Some of the well-known FAP officials then were Loh Hoot Yeang, who was president for many years, A.S. Mohamad Mydin, Tan Cheng Hoe, Yaakob Syed and Haris Hussain.
Datuk David Choong was president in 1962 when Penang made the FAM Cup final, but lost 3-4 to Selangor in a pulsating contest on May 12 before a capacity crowd at the City Stadium.
In October 1963, Penang trounced Perlis 13-0 in a Malaysia Cup tie at the City Stadium.
Aziz took over as captain when Cheng Eng retired. The early 1960s also saw a glittering array of “stars”.
By 1965, veterans such as Siang Teik and Aziz made way as Penang rebuilt. M. Kuppan took over as captain with Yeap Kim Hock, James Raju and Ibrahim Mydin the only other survivors.
For the first time, Penang also preferred the services of four Australians from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) which participated in the local league. They were John Leather, Clive Warren, Vic Probert and Alan Peacock.
The late 60s saw the emergence of Aziz’s nephews, the Abdullah brothers—Namat and Shaharuddin. At his peak, Shaharuddin was a prolific goal-getter.
Penang made the Malaysia Cup final in 1968 to face mighty Selangor but nobody expected it to be a massacre. Selangor romped home 8-1 in one of the most one-sided finals ever.
In 1974, Penang heroically knocked Singapore out in the semifinal to face northern rival Perak in the final. Namat Abdullah led Penang to a 2-1 victory in what was to be the state’s last Malaysia Cup final victory. Penang stepped into the final of Malaysia Cup on 1977 as they lost the match to Singapore.
Stagnation (1980s-Mid 1990s)
Football Association of Malaysia introduced the Malaysia First Division League on 1982. Penang was one of the founding members of the league. The first edition of the league saw Penang become the champion. On year 1983, Penang was the first runner-up of the league. After that, the team faced stagnation until mid 1990s because failed to win any major trophy.
Resurgence (Late 1990s-Early 2000s)
The glory days came after the team faced the stagnation period for more than 15 years. Penang enter into the FA Cup final for the first time in the team history on 1997 and they lost to Selangor. After the disappointment, Penang won the 1998 Malaysia Super League. The team failed to defend the champion as they only manage to get runner-up on 1999. The 2000 FA Cup saw Penang lost to Terengganu after a nail-biting penalty shootouts. Penang was the runner-up of the top division league on 2000. After two consecutive years as the runner-up of Malaysia Super League, Penang become the champion of the league on 2001. Penang FA historically won the FA Cup for the first time on 2002 thanks to the goal scored by Gustavo Romero on the 65 minutes. Penang first attempt into the Charity Shield saw the team won the trophy after they beat Selangor.
Walking downhill and financial crisis (2003-2009)
Although the team got a good start by winning the Charity Shield, but the team only finished mid table in the league and in round two of the FA Cup. Penang finished third in the group stage of the Malaysia Cup and failed to qualify for the second round. In 2004, Penang ranked fifth out of 8 in the league and eliminated in the second round of FA Cup. Yunus Alif’s boys won the group stage of Malaysia Cup but lost in second round. The league performance in 2006 is worse than 2005 as the team only ranked sixth. Penang won the first round of FA Cup, but they faild to qualify for the third round. They top the group of Malaysia Cup for two consecutive years but still can’t advanced for the third round after losing the second round matches. The next season saw Penang ranked sixth again in the league and lost the first round match of FA Cup. The team lost the quarter final matches of Malaysia Cup. In 2006/07 season of Malaysia Super League, the team ranked tenth throughout the league. Penang finished the journey of FA Cup in round one. Penang finished fifth out of six in the Malaysia Cup group stage. New coach, Mohd Bakar was appointed to replace Josef Herel in the 07/08 season. The Panthers finished 12nd[clarification needed] in the league, round two in FA Cup and last in the Malaysia Cup group stage. For the same season until 2012, the club was facing a critical financial condition. The state’s footballers had not been paid for four months, and called on the current administration to honour the contracts signed with players. In 2009, Penang FA finished third from the last in the top division league. Penang was knocked out from the FA Cup in round two for two consecutive years. Penang was eliminated from the Malaysia Cup tournament after finished third in the group stage.
Darkest period (2010-2012)
In 2010, the darkest period ever in the team history has came. Reduan Abdullah’s squad had only collected 10 points and finished at the bottom of the league. Penang was relegated from the top flight after 18 consecutive spells in the top flight of Malaysian football. The club continued to decline and in 2011 the worst fears were reached when they were relegated to FAM League after the team struggled in the second division with only collected 4 points after 22 matches. Janos Krecska was appointed as coach in 2012. The team finished mid table in the third tier end of the year.
The Comeback (2013-2015)
Penang FA’s legend, Merzagua Abderrazak take over as the club head coach in 2013. The aim of the club which was to promote to Premier League achieved successfully under the tactician. Penang won a silverware after an 11 years long wait. However, they may have to leave their talismanic Moroccan coach Merzagua Abderrazzak because he needs to obtain an A-level coaching licence in his home country to be able to continue coaching.
Due to the problem, the club appointed K. Devan as the new head coach. Under his guidance Penang claimed the third spot of the Premier League and qualified into Malaysia Cup after absent for four years. Penang finished last place in the group stage with four points after six matches. K. Devan’s contract has not renewed and he was signed by Negeri Sembilan.
Jacksen F. Tiago took over K. Devan as the head coach of Penang for the next season. His skills and strategies to be somehow a success to the squad when showing good performance facing with major teams in the pre-season match; Sime Darby, Johor Darul Takzim, Perak, Selangor, Kelantan. The most notable is the match versus Selangor and Kelantan which ends with the score of 2-0 favouring the home team. Penang also stepped into the quarter final of FA Cup after 13 years.