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Pat at 60: Q

Posted on 9 September 2005  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

As the final part of our series looking back at Pat Jennings' career, we asked for fans questions - here are Pat's answers to the best of the bunch...

From Brendan Birmingham. In the 1970s, Pat was involved in a friendly that involved players from north and south Ireland. Does he have any regrets that it wasn’t furthered like in rugby union?
Pat Jennings: I devoted a chapter in my autobiography about this subject named ‘United Ireland’ in the early 1980s. I wanted to leave politics totally out of it and it doesn't take a lot of working out when you look back over the years at the players available - Brady, O'Leary, Stapleton, McGrath and then put them alongside some of the lads we had and we qualified for the World Cup in 1982 and 1986. From that point of view I would have loved to have been part of a united Ireland team. I did play in that one match though, against Brazil. People still talk about it, a full house in Dublin against the best team in the world.

From Dan Wright. What was the greatest save you ever made?
Pat: To be honest, I wouldn't have a clue. You see re-runs of matches on television. There was one against Newcastle, another against Wolves - but these are only because I've seen replays on television. Every save that keeps you in a match is important.

From Terry Hodge. You were the finest goalkeeper of your generation - can Paul Robinson be the finest goalkeeper of his generation?
Pat: He's well on the way already. He's 25 and has played for England for two years already. He signed a seven-year contract at Spurs and that's great news for us. I think he can only get better and better with experience and there is no reason why he can't go on to be one of the best.

From Bill Whitthread. Did you play against Tommy Harmer and was he the best penalty taker ever?
Pat: I knew Tommy well. He actually left Watford before I joined them. I heard a lot about him. He was very small and I've been told he took an unusual penalty but I never played against him.

From Paul Falzon. How do the current crop of keepers - the likes of Robinson, Cech, Kahn - compare with the keeper of our generation?
Pat: There are no bad goalkeepers around now, certainly not in the Premiership and they are every bit as good as we were. There are a few more foreign lads than when we played. Schmeichel did a great job at United and now Cech is doing the same at Chelsea, what a start he's made.

From Paul Digby. Is is true you once saved two penalties in the same match against Liverpool at Anfield?
Pat: Yes. One was from Kevin Keegan, the other from Tommy Smith. It was funny, when the penalty was awarded you could see that Smithy wanted to take it but Kevin got the ball first. Kevin stepped up, I made the save and Smithy was calling him all the names under the sun. About 20 minutes later, they got another penalty, Smithy took it and I managed to save it again. To be honest, I made a couple of saves in that game that were even better than the penalties - it was one of those games for me. However, we still didn't win the game! It was Grand National day and I remember walking out and Smithy was being interviewed by the press and I heard him say that if I'd run in the National, I'd probably win that as well.

From Ricky Ryan. What was your most memorable match for Spurs?
Pat: Another tough one. I remember the 1967 FA Cup Final against Chelsea. That was a massive occasion because I'd been at the club for a couple of years and it was great to win the first trophy. Another player from Newry, Peter McParland, had scored twice for Villa in the 1957 FA Cup Final against United and I got messages of goodwill from just about everyone in my home town to go out and emulate that. I can remember being under a bit of pressure. Looking back, I was half at fault for Chelsea's goal but having looked at the video, I made three or four saves as well. I was pleased with that.

From Paul Cheddy. How far do you think the team has come and what is your prediction for this season?
Pat: I was pleasantly surprised with what we achieved last season. I know we failed at the final hurdle in terms of qualifying for Europe but I think the squad is coming together nicely. I think we can improve on last season and push up those couple of places that will take us into Europe.

From Karl Hart. In my opinion, you were the best goalkeeper in the world. Who was second best?
Pat: For a start, I would never say I was the best. I admired Gordon Banks, who was steady week in, week out. There were a lot of good goalkeepers around - Shilton, Clemence, I played against Dino Zoff. I also saw Yashin in 1962, the great Russian.

From Roger Bull. Do you think goalkeeping is easier now than when you played?
Pat: The ball is a lot livelier than it was in my day, everyone can bend it and swerve it now. Keepers today have special gloves which are brilliant. Players are quicker, so it hasn't got any easier. Goalkeepers are always under pressure as well, that's the nature of it. We got hit a lot by forwards and you don't see that these days. I used to come for everything and it didn't bother me - that was my bringing up in Gaelic football. But then again, there is more thought to crossing now, they are whipped in at pace and that's harder to deal with. It's a tough one to answer.

From Patrick Stack. You played with possibly the two greatest British footballers of your generation in Jimmy Greaves and George Best. Who was the greatest?
Pat: It's difficult to compare them. Besty was just box to box and there was no-one to touch Jimmy Greaves as far as scoring goals. I've seen him score all sorts. I still haven't seen anyone to touch him. George had everything, scored his goals as well. He would lose the ball in one box and chase back to win it again in his own box. You'd be happy with either one of them in your team.

From Josh. What makes a great goalkeeper?
Pat: For a start, clubs are looking for lads who are six foot-plus before they even think of them as a goalkeeper. It's imperative you have good hands. If you can't catch the ball, you've no chance. You also need to have good agility, be able to make saves in a split second, brave, concentration - there is so much to goalkeeping. It's much like anything else in life - the more you practice, the better you get.

From Brian Earp. How's the golf, Pat? Are you a single handicapper yet?
Pat: I've been a single handicapper for about 10 years now. I got down to six once and I've been eight for about four years. I play golf two or three days a week, charity events up and down the country, corporate days, that sort of thing. I love it.