Pompey bid farewell to ‘Tricky Nicky’

Pompey hall-of-famer Nick Jennings, far right, in 2014   Picture: Malcolm Wells
Pompey hall-of-famer Nick Jennings, far right, in 2014 Picture: Malcolm Wells
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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Friends and family have bid farewell to former Pompey favourite Nick Jennings.

A service was today held at Bournemouth Crematorium for the flying winger, who died on June 4 at the age of 70.

Jennings made 227 appearances and scored 51 times for the Blues before leaving for Exeter City in the summer of 1974.

His enduring popularity among supporters earned him a place in the Pompey Hall of Fame in 2014.

Among the mourners for today’s well-attended service was a Pompey contingent including Alan Knight, fans’ liaison officer Johnny Moore and Pompey Former Players Association secretary Jake Payne.

In addition, Gosport boss and Jennings’ long-time friend, Alex Pike, was one of the pallbearers.

The duo were part of the Wimborne management team which won the 1992 FA Vase with a 5-3 Wembley win over Guiseley.

Demonstrating Jennings’ deep affection for his ex-club, the Pompey Chimes played out at the end of the service, followed by Pavarotti’s rendition of Nessun Dorma.

And Payne paid tribute to the player lovingly nicknamed ‘Tricky Nicky’ by the Fratton faithful.

He said: ‘Nick Jennings was one of my first Pompey heroes.

‘He was very quick, brave, could score and with a good drop of the shoulder would beat a full-back to put a ball on the head of Ray Hiron.

‘When he joined Pompey I thought he looked like a ball boy and not a footballer, but couldn’t he play and had no fear, making tackles and putting his head in there.

‘Nick was a proper winger. You never saw him chasing back, instead he would stay on the wing waiting for the ball.

‘Once he got it he was off, launching another attack down the left.

‘There were always rumours of him joining a Division One side, but nothing ever came about and he remained at Fratton Park.

‘When he was inducted into the Hall of Fame it really meant something to him and he got emotional on the night during his speech.

‘I don’t think he realised how popular he was as a player.

‘He clearly had a lot of affection for our club, the picture used on the front of today’s order of service was one in a Pompey shirt.

‘Then we heard the Chimes at the end.

‘I honestly believe if you play for Pompey the club gets into you, you become part of it.

‘And it is sad we have lost someone like Nick who was so popular among supporters.’

Jennings was recruited for a Pompey club-record fee of £25,000 when he joined in January 1967 from Plymouth.

Signed by George Smith, he became a regular in the side during the subsequent eight seasons.

He later joined Exeter in 1974, where he won the Division Three title in 1977.

He leaves behind wife Lesley and daughters Heidi and Nicole.