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"Jennings guards the net (1972-73)" by Frank Dacey - Magic Moments - The Liverpool Way Jump to content

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"Jennings guards the net (1972-73)" by Frank Dacey

 

When I was a kid I used to read a comic called the Victor and in between stories about Alf Tupper and Matt Braddock, I remember a story about a Roman warrior called Horatius who defended a bridge into Rome against an invading army and overwhelming odds. The nearest equivalent to that I’ve seen on a football pitch was when Pat Jennings kept Liverpool at bay more or less single-handedly in this game.          

 

At that time Spurs were a walking win for Liverpool at Anfield, having not won there since before the First World War. On this occasion we were going for our first league title in seven years and Tottenham were their usual mid-table mediocrity so to say we were confident would be an understatement.

 

From the start the Reds were in command but it was clear that Pat Jennings was also in top form. The Reds created chance after chance but could not beat the inspired Tottenham keeper.

 

Spurs broke away on 20 minutes to score through Alan Gilzean. Cue incessant Liverpool attacks. On 39 minutes we got a penalty, Kevin Keegan stepped up and Jennings made one of his more comfortable saves of the afternoon. The second half was more of the same; continuous Liverpool attacks and save after save by Jennings.

 

Eventually, the equaliser came but it took a miscue from Keegan to finally beat Jennings. Surely, Liverpool would now press on for the winner, but still Jennings was impossible to beat. Finally on 86 minutes, the Reds were awarded a second penalty. This time Tommy Smith took charge......and Jennings saved again.

 

In truth, both penalty saves were straightforward in comparison to some of the other stunning saves Jennings pulled off. To this day, that remains the greatest individual performance I’ve seen at Anfield by an opposing player. Fortunately, the dropped point didn’t affect us and we clinched our first title since 1966 less than a month later.

 

Liverpool: Clemence; Lawler, Lindsay, Smith, Lloyd; Hughes, Cormack, Callaghan; Hall, Heighway, Keegan.

 

 

 

 

Season:1972/73
Opposition: Tottenham

Result: 1-1
Scorers: Kevin Keegan
Venue: Anfield

 


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I remember this game and it was one that springs to mind that helped me form the opinion that Jennings was the best goalie ever to play against us.

 

Played on an early kick off on Grand National day I think.

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Remember the weekend of the match. Came up on Friday for the racing and then the only time sat in the main stand and as said earlier Jennings was outstanding. The other thing about the weekend to remember the city was alive to the chances of Red Rums first National victory, I backed his stable mate. At least Liverpool got one winner that weekend.

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 Think it was the year Crisp started running through treacle near the end of the race, allowing Red Rum to storm through.

 

Jennings was the only goalie who regularly used to catch the ball one handed in circumstances where everybody else would punch.

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Did you see Banks?

 

Sorry for not being aws :D  and I don't mean this as a criticism of Banks, but I thought Jennings was far better than him, with Shilton being better too and, Clem and Southall probably being his equal.

Of course Banks was great but he was judged by many on that save from the Pele header alone, plus, he was for reasons I can't recall, massively popular with the Kop which might also affect Liverpool fans opinions of him favourably.

I'd like to know how the Kop's love affair with him began as it was a bit more than the good reception's virtually all goalies got.

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That's how I'd rate them too. Jennings also had great distribution skills - Reinaesque.

 

Didn't Banks get set up by some newspaper which cropped a photo to make it look like he was mocking St John after a game?He then got a load of stick from us but after the true story came out he used to get a great reception

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' Correct me if I'm wrong here, but hadn't we won a few league titles before 72/73'

 

You're absolutely right. What I should have said was 'first league title for seven years'.

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My dad says Jennings is the best he's seen too.  For me it's Southall, and although I only saw him when he was getting on a bit, I always thought Shilton was fucking garbage!

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My dad saw Yashin live, but he was past his best by then. He says Banks is the best he has seen, but rates Jennings highly. He disagrees that Shilton was better than Banks and doesn't think Clemence and Southall were Banks equal.

 

Southall was an excellent goalkeeper, although I think Schmeichel was probably better.

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' Correct me if I'm wrong here, but hadn't we won a few league titles before 72/73'

 

You're absolutely right. What I should have said was 'first league title for seven years'.

Thought that was the case Frank. Cracking article. I love stuff like this.

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I sometimes think we underestimate Clemence, probably because we saw so much of him, but he was really top draw, by far the best keeper the Reds have had during my time and all for £18,000 from Scunthorpe

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I sometimes think we underestimate Clemence, probably because we saw so much of him, but he was really top draw, by far the best keeper the Reds have had during my time and all for £18,000 from Scunthorpe

Clemence was a great keeper. Better than Shilton who he had to share caps with.

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Clemence was a great keeper. Better than Shilton who he had to share caps with.

 

Always thought that strange

Never understood why one wasn't always picked over the other.

I thought Clemence was better, but Shilton got more plaudits perhaps because he played at inferior clubs that got battered more, and hence he was called upon more to make saves.

Clemence would often have a quiet game, but then come out with an absolutely stonking save when it was needed.

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Always hated Shilton because he played for Forest and he kept Clemence from being the outright England number one. I hated Forest for knocking us out of the EC in '79 in the first round. No idea who was running UEFA back then but I bet it was heated ping pong balls the fuckers.  Anyway the fat 40+ year old whore-loving fuck got shown up by 5'5 Maradona didn't he??

 

Jennings (the 'keeper, not the poster) will always have a soft spot in my heart because my sister  suffered a leg break from being run over by a drink-driver when my family lived in Wallington; he visited the hospital and signed her cast.

 

As an impressionable six year old at the time it wasn't enough to sway me to 'the Arsenal'. Kevin Keegan had already swept me off my feet but I then realized I was shit at football I became a goalkeeper and had a green jumper that'd I wear and practice diving saves in the back garden.

 

When it snowed (it did snow back in the 70s, even in the London area) I had this cheap-ass orange ball that'd I bring out and practice with that as well. Then it was indoors for fish fingers and cocoa.

 

I reckon now the only way you'll see a proper winter ball (not that stupid yellow thing they use nowadays) is in Norway or on some version of FIFA Xbox.

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Always hated Shilton because he played for Forest and he kept Clemence from being the outright England number one. I hated Forest for knocking us out of the EC in '79 in the first round. 

 

Yes, I shared that same short, sharp hatred of Forest at the time too, NP.

They were awfully annoying there for a year or two.

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Was highly amused when Shilton said he lost all respect for The Kop after he got slaughtered by us for his "Tina" indiscretions.

As if he was in any position to talk about respect after what he did to his missus and family.

I thought there wasn't much between Shilton and Clemence with Clem having the edge for the first half of their respective careers.

Although that turns apiece thing for England was all a bit of a nonsense, they were so close you could maybe understand why it was hard to choose between them.

But the press/media were so desperate to see Shilton made permanent number one I actually thought it affected Clemence and, he had a spell where he looked a nervous wreck at times playing for England. Then I also have to admit, there was a 2 year spell when Forest might as well have had a brick wall built across their goal for all the chance you had to get the ball past him - or so it seemed.

I didn't like him at all, or the way he made relatively straightforward saves look harder than they were, hence we tended to call him a poser.

But despite everything, he was fucking good.

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Was highly amused when Shilton said he lost all respect for The Kop after he got slaughtered by us for his "Tina" indiscretions.

As if he was in any position to talk about respect after what he did to his missus and family.

I thought there wasn't much between Shilton and Clemence with Clem having the edge for the first half of their respective careers.

Although that turns apiece thing for England was all a bit of a nonsense, they were so close you could maybe understand why it was hard to choose between them.

But the press/media were so desperate to see Shilton made permanent number one I actually thought it affected Clemence and, he had a spell where he looked a nervous wreck at times playing for England. Then I also have to admit, there was a 2 year spell when Forest might as well have had a brick wall built across their goal for all the chance you had to get the ball past him - or so it seemed.

I didn't like him at all, or the way he made relatively straightforward saves look harder than they were, hence we tended to call him a poser.

But despite everything, he was fucking good.

 

Oh Shilton was good, William.

 

And the Clemence nervousness you're referring to... I think Kenny put one between his legs for Scotland for the winner in 1977.

 

"Clemence boob settles it," I recall was the headline in "Football Monthly".

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