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Northern Ireland legend Jennings calls to thank man behind Windsor statue idea


Former NI goalkeeper Pat Jennings with Pat Nash

Former NI goalkeeper Pat Jennings with Pat Nash

Doug Nash

Doug Nash

Former NI goalkeeper Pat Jennings with Pat Nash

The man behind the campaign for a statue of former goalkeeper Pat Jennings outside Windsor Park has received a phone call from the Northern Ireland legend himself thanking him for his efforts.

Jennings turned out for both Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal during his career and made a record 119 appearances for his country, playing at the World Cup in 1982 and 1986.

Doug Nash (54), who has been calling for a statue of the Newry man to be put in place outside the home of the Green and White Army, actually missed the call from Jennings on Monday, but was delighted that he had left a voicemail.

The Aldershot native, who even named his son after his goalkeeping hero, admitted he was a bit apprehensive when he found out that Jennings was looking to speak to him in case the former shot stopper was against the idea of the statue.

"I was contacted by Darren Sheen on Twitter last week who runs legends nights at Tottenham," explained Mr Nash. "He said that Pat had been asking for my number.

"To be honest I was a little bit worried because I thought, 'I hope likes the idea of the statue'.

"I gave Darren my number on Friday and Pat rang me yesterday but unfortunately I only got a voicemail from big Pat because my daughter asked me drop her off at a friend's house.

"When I got back I had a voicemail from an unknown number and it was Pat so I couldn't believe it.

"He said, 'Hi Doug, it's only Pat Jennings. I've been hearing you have been doing some work about the statue and I just wanted to thank you for your efforts. I really appreciate all you're doing and I hope you and your family are well and I'll speak to you soon'.

"It was amazing. I just sent him a text back saying it was lovely to hear from him and that I was so pleased that he liked the idea."

Earlier this month, Communities Minister Caral Ni Chuilin indicated her support for the statue in response to a question from DUP MLA Robin Newton, but said it was ultimately a matter for the IFA and fans.

Ms Ni Chuilin, whose remit covers sport, said: "Pat Jennings was a remarkable and extremely talented footballer. Erecting a statue at Windsor Park in recognition of his achievements would be a matter, in the first instance, for the Irish Football Association to consider.

"I would be happy to lend my support to any campaign that recognises achievements. I would be delighted to extend an invitation to Pat to attend the department's annual Celebration of Sport event, which recognises sporting achievement while also promoting opportunities for participation and inclusion in sport among our young people."

Mr Nash said he now plans to meet with IFA officials when the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

Belfast Telegraph