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Legendary Liverpool and Tottenham Goalkeeper Ray Clemence dies aged 72

Legendary Liverpool and Tottenham Goalkeeper Ray Clemence dies aged 72. A statement from Clemence’s family read:

“With great sadness, we write to let you know that Ray Clemence passed away peacefully today, surrounded by his loving family.

“After fighting so hard, for such a long time, he’s now at peace and in no more pain.

“The family would like to say a huge thank you, for all the love and support that he’s received over the years. He was loved so much by us all and he will never be forgotten.”

Ray Clemence, Liverpool’s three-time European Cup winning goalkeeper, has died at the age of 72.
The legendary stopper played 62 times for England during a remarkable career.

One of the club’s greatest ever keepers, Clemence was an unmovable object between the sticks at the height of the Reds’ dominance at home and abroad and won 61 caps for England.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005 and had played a big role in raising awareness of the impact the disease can have.

Signed from Scunthorpe in June 1967 for £18,000, ‘Clem’ – much like Alisson Becker today – inspired confidence in those playing in front of him and in the 1978/79 season he conceded just 16 times in 42 games.

He helped make Anfield a fortress by keeping 28 clean sheets and conceding just four goals in 21 games. This was at a time when penalty boxes were roamed by the likes of Frank Worthington, Liam Brady and Bob Latchford.

He became the permanent goalkeeper in 1970, eventually replacing Tommy Lawrence and missed just six games in the next 11 years of his stay.

Not only did he show his importance to his five league title successes, Clemence also proved his worth in Europe when Liverpool won the UEFA Cup in 1973 and 1976 by making penalty saves against both Borussia Monchengladbach and Dynamo Dresden.

And this is a man who never actually wanted to play in goal, once modestly remarking that it was because he couldn’t play anywhere else.

“I never really played in goal until I was 15 years of age,” he told lfchistory.net. “I started off at nine years of age as a centre forward.

“In my early teenage years I played centre-half and left back. I enjoyed both those positions, probably left back better than centre-half. And just by chance one day we were short of a goalkeeper and the sportsmaster at school nominated me to go into goal. When I went into goal it was just natural for me to do.”

Bill Shankly clearly liked what he saw when he and his scouts came to watch him in action and his fee could be considered one of the best deals in Liverpool’s illustrious history.

When he left for Tottenham in 1981 only the Cup Winners Cup eluded him.

“I’d won everything at Liverpool and didn’t want to move to somewhere where I would just be seeing out my time,” he told tottenhamhotspur.com. “I still wanted to challenge in the league, the cups and in Europe.”

Despite losing the 1982 League Cup to former side Liverpool in his first season, Clemence won the FA Cup in the same campaign and picked up a third UEFA Cup winners medal in 1984.

He also played 61 times for England, sharing a long running rivalry for the no.1 spot with Peter Shilton. His rise to prominence, though, coincided with the national team’s least successful period, with the Three Lions failing to qualify for both the 1974 and 1978 World Cups. He did, however, work under various England managers from 1996 until 2007 as goalkeeping coach.

He made 665 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions, keeping 323 clean sheets before moving to Tottenham in 1981. While in north London, Clemence won the FA Cup (1982) and Uefa Cup (1984).

After his playing career, he was part of the England backroom staff from 1996 to 2013, when he retired.

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