County Down Hero

This poem’s my opinion,
there’s no scientific proof,
some readers they will disagree,
and say it’s not the truth.

It’s about the greatest keeper,
that I have ever seen,
a giant of an Ulster man,
with the padded shirt of green.

They talk of Banks and Yashin,
Tomaszewski – the Polish clown,
but the finest stopper of them all,
hailed from the County Down.

His name was Patrick Jennings,
he was agile, tall and brave,
and the sporting headlines of the day,
of his performances would rave.

He started out at Watford,
joining Spurs for a minor fee,
and he collected a cup winners medal,
in a win against Chelsea.

They said his hands were shovels,
but they were more like J.C.B ‘s ,
as he plucked the ball out of the air,
one-handed – with such ease.

He scored against United,
in the F.A Charity Shield,
beating Alex Stepney,
with a punt right up the field.

They said he was uncoachable,
‘cos his style was so unique,
he’d save the ball, with elbows,
with knee caps and his feet.

A quiet and unassuming man,
who was rarely interviewed,
even at away grounds,
you’d never hear him booed.

He saved two pens at Anfield once,
in a stunning one man show,
and the Spion Kop sang out his name,
even though he was the foe.

After twelve great years at Tottenham,
he moved two miles, cross town,
to sign for rivals Arsenal,
did ‘Big Pat’ from the County Down.

85 at Wembley,
he emerged his countries hero,
as England bombarded the Irish goal,
but the result was zero – zero.

The North required a draw that night,
for World Cup qualifying,
and Jennings made some stunning saves,
that were gravity-defying.

He starred in two World Cups,
in Mexico and Spain,
when Northern Ireland‘s spirit,
won them world acclaim.

His hundred and nineteenth and final cap,
was against the legendary Brazil,
who won in Guadalajara,
by a score of four to nil.

He had great times with Arsenal,
gathering up more silverware,
but the creaking body told him,
’twas time for the rocking chair.

So the arguments will rage on,
was the greatest Zoff or Zenga?
And you’ll hear the name Dave Seaman,
mentioned by Arsene Wenger.

Some will say Sepp Maier,
but they have to be taking the Michael,
and of course the Man United fans,
will bring up Peter Schmeichel.

Old timers, they will throw in names,
Frank Swift — Elijah Scott,
but I know that Big Pat Jennings,
was the finest of the lot.

The youngsters too will have their views,
and mention Cech and Kahn,
but as they say in Ulster,
” big Patrick, he’s yer maan.”

Now gather all your evidence,
and put it to the jury,
and when the verdict is announced,
they’ll pick the man from Newry.

So put him in the Hall of Fame,
and place upon his head a crown,
cos the greatest keeper of them all,



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