Hundreds gathered in Newry as a statue dedicated to legendary Northern Ireland goalkeeper Pat Jennings was unveiled to rapturous applause.
The Newry-native was front and centre as he revealed the life-sized statue on Kildare Street, on the banks of the Newry Canal, commenting: “I can’t believe it…it does definitely look like me”.
The former Tottenham Hotspurs player was joined by former England and Spurs defender, Ledley King; Irish international legend – and good friend – Liam Brady; as well as NI great, Gerry Armstrong. Broadcaster Steven Watson MC’d the event.
The unveiling was made extra special by the attendance of some of Pat’s oldest friends, one of whom, Tommy Sands, led the crowd in a singalong to Big Pat.
The event itself was cast in doubt after the 78-year-old took ill during Monday night’s Tottenham and Chelsea game, however, he was given the all-clear after some precautionary tests.
And not one to miss an appearance, given his 119 caps for Northern Ireland – a record only surpassed by Steven Davis in recent years – Pat was visibly delighted at the honour.
Pat’s club career included winning five trophies with Tottenham and Arsenal in addition to being named the Players’ Player of the Year in 1976 and Football Writers’ Player of the Year in 1973.
He won his first cap in 1964 at the age of 18 in a match against Wales alongside fellow debutant George Best.
Jennings played for Northern Ireland at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, making the final appearance of his 22-year international career in a 3-0 defeat by Brazil at the latter tournament in Mexico.
He became a CBE in the New Year Honours in 2022 for his contribution to football and charity having become an MBE in 1976.