Pat Jennings will be remembered as one of the best goalkeepers of all time. [ar][/ar]
'Big Pat' played 673 games for Spurs between 1964-1977 and another 300-plus at Arsenal before winding down his career in a second spell at White Hart Lane. He also played 119 times for Northern Ireland, including two World Cups.
Pat was signed by Billy Nick from Watford for £27,000 when he was only 19 years old and had only played 48 games.
"The first time I met him I said 'Hello Mr Nicholson' and he replied 'Forget Mr, just call me Bill', " said Pat. "There I was with this great man, with such a fantastic reputation, and suddenly I was on first name terms!
"That said so much about Bill. I never saw anyone disrespect him or have a bad word for him. Everyone thought the world of him. There have not been too many like Bill Nicholson in the world."
During his time at White Hart Lane, he won the FA Cup in 1967, League Cup in 1971 and 1973, UEFA Cup in 1972 and also the PFA (1975-76) and Football Writers' Player Of The Year (1972-73) Awards. [al][/al]
"At the time I signed, I couldn't really believe it," admitted Jennings. "I'd actually been to watch a couple of Division One games at Chelsea when I was at Watford and there I was, playing for Spurs at that level. Once again, ignorance was bliss. People just kept on putting me on another rung of the ladder and I managed to respond to it."
Jennings, at his peak, was the best goalkeeper in the world and today still helps the keepers with coaching sessions at Spurs Lodge. He is also present at every match day at White Hart Lane.
Appearances: 472 (LG), 43 (FAC), 39 (LG Cup), 36 (EUR)
Pat also famously scored a goal in the Charity Shield against Man Utd, about which he says:
I was surprised but I was delighted too as it was on live television. In those days, you could have played all your matches without anyone seeing you. So I was pleased it was the Charity Shield and it was on telly as it's nice to be able to watch it again.
One of very few players to sign for Arsenal from Spurs, but no one really hated him for it, he was always pretty well received when he came back to WHL with them, unlike another certain former player. It's all about how you conduct yourself and Big pat knew how to do that. Plus he did us a huge favour in an FA Cup tie at WHL when he let a tame Garth Crooks shot slip under him for the only goal of the game!
I can also remember autograph hunting as a kid outside WHL, as you do, Pat pulled up in this little Mini, rolled down the window, took my pen, signed several autographs except for mine, dropping the open and pulling away, running over my foot in the process! The sight of this giant man hunched in this tiny little car was a funny sight which I didn't appreciate at the time!
Pat Jennings. Ledge.