Name: Patrick Anthony Jennings OBE
Born: June 12, 1945 in Newry, United Kingdom
Clubs He Played For During His Career:
Shamrock Rovers ’60-61
Newry Town ’61-63
Tottenham Hotspur ’64-77
Tottenham Hotspur and Everton ’85-’86 with no appearances
Patrick Anthony, or ‘Pat’ Jennings, played professional football for 26 years. His love and enthusiasm for the game made him a goalkeeper to watch out for!
He was known not only for his big hands, which are a goaltender’s best tools, but also for his ability to stop the ball with other parts of his body as well. He was instrumental in many cup-winning successes and was even named “footballer of the year” more than once. His story is filled with milestones, honours, awards and is one of a man who simply dedicated himself to the game he loves.
After playing extensively during his youth for Shamrock Rovers and Newry town, Pat began his professional career playing for Watford in May of 1963. He played every single game in his first season and even played internationally twice. In June of 1964, he was signed by the Tottenham Hotspur. His skills were a true bargain at only 27,000 pounds. This is when his career and well-earned recognition began.
He spent the next 13 years of his career playing for Spurs. While playing in 472 games overall, he helped his team win several cups and he found himself winning a couple of personal awards as well. Spurs won the FA cup in 1967, the League Cup in 1971 and 1973, and the UEFA Cup in between those two in 1972. Whilst playing a major part in these victories, Pat found himself being named as “footballer of the year” by the Football Writers’ Association in 1973.
He also won this award a few years later from the Professional Footballers’ Association. A notable memory during his early years with the Tottenham Spurs is when he kicked a goal during the 1967 Charity Shield from his end of the field. A feet that is still talked about today.
In 1977, Pat was sold to Arsenal for 40,000 pounds. These two teams are rivals and this created a lot of controversy in the soccer community at that time. Because of his age, some believed that his career was reaching it’s end when he signed for the Gunners, yet he went on to play 8 successful years here.
During this time, he took part in 4 Cup finals with a victory in 1979 against Manchester United. He delighted fans with his energy and enthusiasm while also impressing with his innovative approach to goal keeping. He was leader in using a ‘whole body’ approach in goal and proved its worth with his performance. He simply had a gift for knowing where the ball would be and how to get in the way of it. He earned the love of his fans each and every game.
After he retired in 1985, he rejoined Tottenham Hotspur to keep his skills in good condition while playing on the National Team with hopes to play in the 1986 World Cup for Northern Ireland. He finished his football career in 1986 with the Super Cup, played against Liverpool. After retiring for good from playing, he decided to share his experience and skills with a younger generation of footballers. He coached goal keeper for many years and his legacy now continues with his son, Pat Jennings Junior, who is a goalie as well and has played for various teams in Ireland.
In 2003, Pat was given another illustrious item to add to career filled with awards, cups and trophies, he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame for his time in the English League, in honour of his great playing abilities.
His impact on the game and style of play changed the way many players viewed football, and some of that impact is likely still present in the game today. Pat was a beloved soccer player during his time in Northern Ireland who was even loved by two rival teams at the same time. That alone speaks volumes about him and who he was as person.
If you want to learn more about Pat, you can read his autobiography published in 1983 or search him out on your favorite search engine. He was an inspiring player and simply a nice guy.