Patrick Anthony Jennings OBE KSG is a former goalkeeper from Northern Ireland who played football for more than two decades. He was a football star player during the 1970s due to his unique goalkeeping and used to hold the world record for the most capped player in the world during his prime. He has a son, Pat Jennings Jr., who is also a goalkeeper like him.
Jennings was born on June 12, 1945 in Newry, Northern Island. He was only 11 years old when he began playing football for Shamrock Rovers’ Under-18 Football Club. In 1961, when he turned 16, he played in his hometown’s local football club, Newry Town. In 1963, he represented his country in an international youth tournament in Wembley and his skills in the field took the attention of Watford, which took him in the club in May 1963 which began his England career.
After playing all games in his first season, at the age of 19, he was signed in by Tottenham Hotspurs as goalkeeper for a then sizeable fee of £27,500. In the meantime in 1964, he qualified to become part of the national football team. Jennings was at the prime of his career with the club, winning the 1967 FA Cup, 1971 League Cup, 1972 UEFA Cup and 1973 League Cup. While with the club for 13 years, he has made 472 appearances and even managed to make 1 goal during the 1967 Charity Shield. It was also during his stay with the club that he also received several awards including the 1973 Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year and 1976 PFA Players’ Player of the Year.
In 1977, at the age of 32, when everyone thought he was retiring, he was taken in by Arsenal, the biggest rival of Tottenham Hotspurs. He continued to play football with the club for 8 more years bringing the team to the finals of the FA Cup from 19878 to 1980 and managing to win the 1979 FA Cup. The Irish footballer retired from football in 1985 and as of 1993, has been working in Tottenham Hotspurs, where he is the present Director of Goalkeeping Development.
Since 1964, he has played for the national team 119 times including his post-retirement participation in the 1986 World Cup at the age of 41. During that time, he was the most capped footballer in the world and still holds the record for the most caps in Northern Island. He also holds the record, which he shares with two other footballers, for the most appearances in different World Cups. In recognition to his services on football, Jennings was awarded the MBE in 1976 and the OBE later in 1987. He was also bestowed with the KSG by the Pope in 1999. In 2003, he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame and was selected as one of the 52 UEFA Golden Players.