Pat Jennings - 673 games for Spurs, FA Cup, UEFA Cup, two League Cups, PFA Player of the Year, Football Writers Player of the Year, 119 caps for Northern Ireland, two World Cups - gives his views via his occasional column on www.spurs.co.uk
Pat is now a goalkeeping consultant at the club and is still out there where it matters, on the training ground at Spurs Lodge, come rain, wind or shine...
HAPPY Christmas to everyone! This is never an easy time of year for footballers because their families are all celebrating Christmas but you realise early in your career that you have to play on these days and training goes on as usual. The worse case scenario is when you are half-way to a game and it's called off! I remember that happening a couple of times, at Leicester and Ipswich. Thankfully, with the undersoil heating at grounds, that won't happen these days.
WE'VE had a couple of blows at home since my last column. I thought we were going to hold on against Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup. There was only four minutes to go in normal time but once it goes to penalties it's anyone's game. That was a huge disappointment for everyone. I thought we finished well against United on Sunday. They played well and scored a couple of goals out of nothing - O'Shea's volley could have gone anywhere and Van Nistelrooy's was deflected in. I thought we were right in the game in the second half. The fact we finished so well would have sent people home a little happier.
IT'S PORTSMOUTH on Boxing Day. They had a fantastic start but they've slipped back now. You find that happens a lot now with promoted teams, it's tough to keep it going. They will be desperate for a win, same as us. I'm sure Teddy Sheringham will want to score against us, not that he needs to prove anything to anyone here. He was fantastic for us. They had a few out in their last game but one or two are back for Boxing Day. I also heard Harry Redknapp on the radio talking about not having a holiday over Christmas after their last defeat. I'm sure they will be up for it.
I'VE BEEN impressed with Charlton. They are a hard-working team, well organised and they've managed some great results this season, especially away from home. They are a very difficult team to beat. Dean Kiely is a goalkeeper who impresses me as well, I remember a game against Birmingham where he was outstanding and made a couple of saves that will be right up there for the season. There are no easy games in the Premiership and these two certainly underline that.
Until next time,