Pat's 70 for 70 - retirement, today and the future
12 June 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
We've built up to the 70th birthday of one of the all-time greats - Pat Jennings - for the last six days. Now it's here, it's time for the final part of Pat's '70 for 70' series as the legendary goalkeeper looks back at his retirement and to the future.
One of the world's best-ever goalkeepers, Pat joined us in 1964 and 51 years later, remains goalkeeping consultant in the Academy and very much part of the fabric of our great club.
Of course, those 51 years include a little sabatical to N5, but he was back at the Lane in 1985-86 ahead of the final chapter in his glorious career, the 1986 World Cup.
Pat was ready to retire then, and aged 41, played his last competitive match against Brazil at the World Cup Finals in Mexico, a fitting way to go.
He was capped 119 times by Northern Ireland, while at Spurs, he played 590 times between 1964-1977, when he departed for the Gunners.
He remains second in our all-time list of appearance-makers behind Steve Perryman with two League Cups, the FA Cup and a UEFA Cup medal to his name, not forgetting the Football Writers Footballer of the Year, PFA Player of the Year and proudly having a lounge in his name at the Lane.
Beyond all that though, Pat is one of football's great gentleman, and loved by the Spurs fans who were lucky enough to watch him grace the hallowed turf at the Lane.
Below: Pat at the Training Centre, June 2015
Pat has hit 70 today (Friday, June 12), so what about the future? Here are his last 10 questions...
Before we look to the future Pat, can you remember the day you decided to retire?
Pat: “It was leading up to my last game against Brazil in the 1986 World Cup. The writing was on the wall by then. I didn't do too badly though!
What was that like after being a professional for 23 years?
Pat: “It wasn’t easy after playing every weekend, but I was weaned off in my last season when I wasn’t playing every week. It takes a lot of years to build a reputation and you can lose that reputation very quickly, especially as a goalkeeper. I wanted to finish at the top.”
What did you enjoy most in the early days of retirement?
Pat: “I enjoyed my golf! I remember when we were playing, we went on a pre-season tour of Scotland and two or three of the lads were all keen on golf, Peter Baker, Danny Blanchflower, Jimmy Greaves, and I went out to caddy for them. I thought ‘what a game this is’. After that, whenever I went back to Ireland, I played golf at a little course called Greenore, just down the road from me in Newry.”
Below: Pat with fellow goalkeeping legend Ray Clemence
A very happy birthday to the the one and only Pat Jennings #legend— Ray Clemence (@RayClem1) June 12, 2015
Tell us about your love of golf.
Pat: “I’ve been very lucky to play on some fantastic courses and in a number of pro-am events. I recently played at Wentworth, I was going to watch the golf but I got a call from Glenn Hoddle to say there was a spot for me - I ended up playing with Lee Westwood! It was different class. I was also with Alan Shearer and Declan Donnelly. Now that was a dream four-ball!”
What is the best course you’ve played on?
Pat: “I’m biased, but I’d say Royal County Down.”
What is your best golfing moment?
Pat: “Believe it or not, I had a hole-in-one just after Christmas. I was actually playing on my own at my local course, Brickendon Grange. No-one saw it! It was my first one at the 11th hole, 180-200 yards. It pitched straight in the hole. I heard it hit the flag but couldn’t find the ball and when I got to the green, there it was in the hole!”
Below: Pat on the tee
What is it like to still be involved at the club at the age of 70?
Pat: “It’s great. I’ve been at the club for 51 years now, player, goalkeeping coach. I’m proud to have my lounge at White Hart Lane. It’s lovely to see some of the younger goalkeepers doing well who didn’t make it here - David Button at Brentford is an example.”
What do you think now when you go to White Hart Lane?
Pat: “I’m delighted the new stadium is being developed at White Hart Lane. You can imagine the memories I have of the place. When you look at what the club is building now, it’s incredible. Just look at the facilities of the Training Centre, plus the stadium, it’s only going to get better and better.”
What moments will always stay with you from your time at Spurs?
Pat: “There are so many. Without a doubt, beating Chelsea and winning my first FA Cup medal in 1967. A fellow Newry man, Peter McParland, scored two goals for Villa to win the FA Cup against United in 1957, and he lived just a few doors down the street from us! I was getting letters and telegrams as it was in those days from half the people in Newry telling me to bring home another medal! That’s something we’re very proud of, this little street in Northern Ireland, and between us we’ve FA Cup medals, League Cup medals and UEFA Cup medals! There was also the match we avoided relegation by beating the great Leeds side in 1975. I must say the toughest moment was when I was told I was surplus to requirements back in 1977. That was hard to take.”
And finally, what does the future hold for Pat Jennings?
Pat: “I suppose I just think I’m lucky to be here and in good health. That’s all you can hope for - health is wealth. That’s most important."