‘Leaving Tottenham for Arsenal was worst day of my life – but I have no regrets’

Iconic goalkeeper Pat Jennings described the day he left Tottenham Hotspur for Arsenal as the “worst day of my life”.

Jennings is highly regarded as a legendary figure for both clubs, having served so nobly for the two sides between the 1960s and 1980s. But after 13 years with Spurs, Jennings was left heartbroken when the club told him he was “surplus to requirements” in 1977.

Arsenal were quick to pounce on the scene and eventually convinced him to swap White Hart Lane for Highbury in 1985. And while he also went on to become an Arsenal legend during his time at Highbury, the 119 capped Northern Irish international admitted he was left heartbroken when he has to leave Spurs.

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“Well, it was the worst day of my life, being told I was surplus to requirements, after 13 years, you can imagine,” Jennings said in an exclusive interview with Daily Star Sport. “But I knew at Arsenal, I was playing with two or three old boys in in the international team, Pat Rice and Sammie Nelson.

“I knew all the other Irish lads, it was home from home, basically. It meant, from my point of view, that I didn’t have to move the family or the kids out of school into schools up and down the country where the job takes you.

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“That was important to me at the time.” Jennings made 208 appearances for Tottenham, winning two League Cups, the UEFA Cup and the FA Cup during this glittering period.

He then went on to play 89 matches for the Gunners, picking up an FA Cup winners medal along the way. However, unlike many other players who made the brave decision to swap Tottenham for Arsenal, he is not only still revered by the Spurs fan base but he is also a goalkeeper coach for the club.

And while Jennings went out of his way to say he enjoyed his many years at Arsenal, his heart will always be Lilywhite. “I have been, 43 years, at Tottenham now, within the coaching staff and as a player,” Jennings added.

“Forty-three years. There is no doubt where my loyalties lie. But, having said that, I have never had a bad word to say about Arsenal.”

The London Football Awards is now in its 9th year, with all proceeds from the awards going to Willow, the UK’s only national charity providing Special Days and Special Treats for seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40 years old when they are needed most. The charity was founded by Bob Wilson and his wife Megs following the death of their daughter Anna from cancer aged 31.

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