I am deeply saddened by the passing of Ray Clemence today at the age of 72 and following a long illness. Ray was undoubtedly one of the greatest ever goalkeepers in the football world. Beginning his career at Scunthorpe United in 1966, Ray was an England international goalkeeper and part of the Liverpool team of the 1970s. Thus, he was the Liverpool goalkeeper when I first supported the club in the 1973/4 season. Ray was one of only 29 players to have made over 1,000 career appearances.
Keeping goal for England
After making 48 league appearances for Scunthorpe, Ray was signed by Liverpool manager Bill Shankly on 24 June 1967. With Liverpool he won 5 League titles and the club’s first 3 European Cups. It was following the 3rd European Cup win in 1981 that Ray moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 1981, saying that he had won all the major trophies with Liverpool and needed a fresh challenge if he was to continue playing at the same level. That season, with Ray in goal, Spurs were winners of the FA Cup and they added the UEFA cup to their cabinet the following season.
Ray made 665 appearances for Liverpool (470 in the league) and missed only 6 of their matches. The 1978–79 League success saw Ray set an unbeaten record for a 42 match league season by conceding only 16 goals of which only 4 were at Anfield. Ray would play a further 240 league matches for Tottenham Hotspur.
Mural tribute on Wylva Road, Anfield
Ray retired as a player in 1988, joining the coaching staff at Spurs before managing Barnet FC. In 1996 he was recruited as a goalkeeping coach for the England international team and remained in either a coaching or backroom role with England until he snapped an Achilles tendon during an England warm-up for the European Championships in 2012. He retired as Head of the FA’s Development Team in 2013, some 30 years after his last international appearance as a player.
Ray was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005.
R.I.P. Ray Clemence MBE (1948-2020)
With Liverpool –
- Football League First Division (5): 1972–73, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80
- FA Cup: 1973–74
- League Cup: 1980–81
- FA Charity Shield (5): 1974, 1976, 1977 (shared), 1979, 1980
- European Cup (3): 1976–77, 1977–78, 1980–81
- UEFA Cup (2): 1972–73, 1975–76
- European Super Cup: 1977
With Spurs –
- FA Cup: 1981–82
- FA Charity Shield: 1981 (shared)
- UEFA Cup: 1983–84
1. Ray Clemence at Wikipedia
2. Ray Clemence – profile at LFC History
3. Ray Clemence – obituary at Liverpool FC
4. Ray Clemence – obituary at BBC Sport
5. Ray Clemence – obituary at the Guardian