Fan campaigns for tribute to NI’s legendary goalie
One of Pat Jennings' biggest fans is campaigning for a statue of the former goalkeeper to be erected outside Windsor Park to immortalise the Northern Ireland legend.
The former Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal shot stopper made a record 119 appearances for his country and played at the World Cup in 1982 and 1986.
Doug Nash (54) is now calling for a statue of the Newry man to be put in place outside the home of the Green and White Army.
A former goalkeeper himself with Sheffield United and Doncaster Rovers, Mr Nash is now an illustrator.
He said Jennings was his hero since he was five years old. The Englishman even sat with Northern Ireland fans to cheer on Jennings during a match at Wembley against England.
"Pat has been my hero for as long as I can remember," he said. "I have been lucky enough to meet him three or four times and he's such a nice bloke.
"He's everything a hero should be. I could talk about him all day, but he's such a brilliant person.
"I was a Spurs supporter and then when he went to Arsenal, I supported Arsenal.
"I would have supported Wigan if he had been in goal for Wigan.
"I'm really Spurs now because he's now back there. He still coaches the academy goalkeepers at 75. He does so much charity work as well, which a lot of people may not know about."
I don't know how you go about these things, but if I won the lottery tonight, I would pay for it myself. I have been campaigning for years to be honest, but it really took off a few weeks agoDoug Nash
Mr Nash believes Jennings is more than worthy of a statue, but admitted he is in the dark as to how to go about it.
His online campaign has received a great response from Northern Ireland fans and he hopes that a statue can be put in place in Jennings' lifetime.
"For me, he is a living legend and I think it would be really worth it," continued Mr Nash, who is from Aldershot.
"I don't know how you go about these things, but if I won the lottery tonight, I would pay for it myself. I have been campaigning for years to be honest, but it really took off a few weeks ago.
"I am a member of a few Northern Ireland supporters' clubs' Facebook groups and I suggested it on there and the response was incredible.
"Not one person was against the idea and everybody thought it was great. I would like it to be done during his lifetime as well. If it happens, which I hope it does, he would probably be the most embarrassed person there because I know he doesn't like fuss and that sort of thing, but he deserves it."
Gary McAllister, the chairman of the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters' Clubs, believes every fan would get behind the idea of a statue to Jennings.
However, he said the problem comes down to funding.
"Pat was such a legend and a legend for Northern Ireland football," he said. "These things can often be not as straightforward as people would like them to be, but certainly, I don't see any fan being against that idea."
Reflecting on the difficulties that surrounded the statue of George Best outside Belfast City Hall, Mr McAllister added that the current statue to the former Manchester United player at Olympia Leisure Centre took years to finalise.
"It was an entirely different group of people who delivered the statue of Best at the Olympia Centre, but that took them some years to do and it took a lot of fundraising," he stated.
The IFA have been made aware of Mr Nash's campaign for a statue of Pat Jennings.