Morris Keston’s Superfan book is in the shops and on Saturday Big Pat is joining him at the Enfield branch of Waterstones for a joint signing session at 1.30p.m. As you would expect Morris’ second favourite goalkeeper features and Nick Hawkins, Morris and their publishers have granted their permission for the following extract to be published on McNamara’s Band:
“Tony Waddington signed England goalkeeper Peter Shilton from Leicester in November 1974. The signing tightened them up at the back and as a result they topped the table in late February 1975. With three matches of the 74-75 season to go, the bookies made Stoke favourites to win the title, but a damaging defeat against Sheffield United followed by draws against Newcastle and Burnley saw them finish fifth, just four points behind champions Derby County and two behind the runners-up Liverpool. They also missed out on a UEFA Cup place by one point. I rang Tony to commiserate.
“Hats off to Derby, they stayed cool and got the results whilst everyone around them buckled under the pressure,” reasoned Tony, doing his best not to sound too downhearted.
“It’s tough at the top, but at least you’re at the right end of the table,” I said.
“Yeah I know. You must be relieved that Spurs stayed up.”
“You’re not wrong there. I was convinced that when Alfie Conn sat on the ball, Leeds would take umbrage and send us down. In truth, if it hadn’t have been for Jennings we’d have been down by Christmas.”
“Funny you should mention Jennings, I could do with borrowing him for a week.”
“Really? How come?”
“We’re off on tour to Indonesia and Shilton can’t make it. He made other commitments before the tour was arranged. The thing is we’ve promised our tour sponsors that we’ll be bringing along our star players. They’re parting with big bucks to get us over there and we need to take some internationals.”
“Shall I have a word with Pat?”
“If you don’t mind. Tell him we’ll make it worth his while.”
I called Big Pat and put the question to him. He was apprehensive, as he didn’t want the Spurs supporters to think he was being disloyal. I told him that I doubted the press would even hear about it, as Fleet Street’s finest didn’t often travel overseas to report on friendly tour matches in those days.
“I’ll do my best to keep it a secret,” I said and then revealed to Pat what Stoke were willing to pay him for his services out-of-season.
“It’s too good to turn down. Count me in,” he said. The wheels were set in motion. Tony got the okay from Spurs boss Terry Neill, who was only too pleased to make Pat available. I’m sure Bill Nicholson wouldn’t have entertained the idea if he’d still been in charge.”
Now this was news to me, I thought the big man only represented Watford, Spurs and the other lot during his career but I was wrong. You also can read what Pat thought of it, why Alan Gilzean was carried off the field by his jubilant colleagues after a hat trick on his final appearance and how Keith Burkinshaw dealt with Morris’ question about selling Pat during a Big Match interview in 1980-81.
Better still you can ask them yourselves at Waterstones which is at 26 Church Street, Enfield Town EN2 6BE. If you want to reserve a copy signed by Morris and Pat Jennings call Waterstone’s in Enfield on 0208 363 6060. I’ve read the book and I thoroughly enjoyed it as have other Tottenham bloggers who remember well the players and games referred to in the text. The signing starts at 1.30p.m. and Morris and Pat look forward to seeing you there.