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1892-LFCWasBorn

Ray Clemence

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Lovely piece in Der Spiegel. 

 

This bright green dress, more sweater than jersey, plus mostly bright red shorts: Ray Clemence was recognizable, he stood out, also visually, and maybe with these signal colors he attracted one or the other ball magnetically. The opposing strikers at Anfield Road will have dreamed in green and red in those years when Ray Clemence was at the height of his time. And they weren't good dreams.

May 25th was also the day on which Liverpool FC secured the European crown for the first time, in 1977 in the Olympic Games in Rome against Borussia Mönchengladbach , and even then it was the goalkeeper's game, the game of Ray Clemence.

He had already been under contract at Anfield Road for ten years, after moving from Scunthorpe United to Liverpool in 1967 for a mere £ 18,000, so the sums were then. From 1969 he was the team's regular goalkeeper, a position that he has not given up for almost twelve years since then. When he left the club for Tottenham Hotspur in 1981 , he had played more than 650 competitive games for Liverpool, the statisticians have added up. This is how you become a club legend.

He is Liverpool's goalkeeping legend

He is Liverpool's goalkeeping legend

 Photo: via www.imago-images.de / imago images / Colorsport

Clemence experienced the great times of Liverpool FC first hand, he was allowed to train under the legendary Bill Shankly, then under Bob Paisley, these are the icons of the club to this day, monuments have been built in Liverpool. He became champion with the team, two-time UEFA Cup winners, he won the FA Cup, he had already accumulated all these merits before his greatest day on May 25, 1977.

Liverpool against Mönchengladbach, that had been the European final four years earlier. In the Uefa Cup, both teams had already met for the final, which at that time was still played as a return game. Liverpool laid the foundation for the win with a 3-0 first leg, Ray Clemence saved a penalty from Jupp Heynckes , that was decisive, Borussia's 2-0 success in the second leg was too little for the Germans. An English goalkeeper deciding a final with a saved penalty. That alone can be called historical.

Four years later, the Gladbachers were burning for revenge, Udo Lattek's team went aggressively, offensively, had numerous chances, but Clemence destroyed them all, on the other side Terry McDermott scored the Liverpool lead. After the break, the Gladbach team increased the pressure again. Allan Simonsen equalized, the game seemed to tip over when Uli Stielike had the big chance to make it 2-1. Clemence had his fingers on and prevented the gate. That was the turning point. Two minutes later, Tommy Smith headed Liverpool 2-1, it was the defender's 600th game for his club, and everything just came together that night. The Gladbachers didn't come back after that. Phil Neal's penalty to make it 3-1 was just the icing on the cake.

Ray Clemence and his teammates after winning the second national championship in 1978

Ray Clemence and his teammates after winning the second national championship in 1978

 Photo: imago sportfotodienst / imago / WEREK

Liverpool FC has never been at the top in Europe, this team had made it. European Cup winners of the national champions, it was called back then. With Kevin Keegan, who then left the Reds and led Hamburger SV to glory, with Tommy Smith and Phil Neal, those squared timbers in defense, with captain Emlyn Huges, with Jimmy Case and Steve Heighway, every LFC fan can do the names pray down today. And behind them Ray Clemence kept the box clean, Liverpool FC never played as often as in his day.

In 1981 that time was over, Paisley wanted to build up the new keeper Bruce Grobbelaar as number one. Clemence switched to league rivals Tottenham when he returned to Anfield for the first time, the fans on the Kop celebrated their former goalkeeper for minutes. In the very first year he reached the final of the League Cup with the Spurs, which he lost. The opponent: Liverpool.

 

At the club he went through the heyday, as an English national goalkeeper he experienced the years of drought. England and Clemence missed the World Cup twice, in 1974 and 1978, and the question of number one in the Three Lions' goal remained unanswered for years, as two top people were available with Clemence and Peter Shilton. It was not until 1982 that England was back in a world tournament, Clemence was in the squad, but Shilton was in goal. Clemence made 61 international appearances, but he will always be remembered as a great club goalkeeper.

English football has lost many of its greats in recent years, Gordon Banks, Jack Charlton, and most recently Nobby Stiles. Now the name Ray Clemence is one of them. He died at the age of 72 from complications from cancer. England wears black for the man in green.

 
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I went to a sportsmans dinner with Tommy Smith years ago.

 

Smith spoke about all the old legends fondly but spent longer talking about Clem than anyone else. He said his nickname amongst the players was the Bailiff, because any time the opposition started to attack all they could hear was Clemence shouting "close the fucker down".

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On 16/11/2020 at 20:32, VladimirIlyich said:

Yeah,its amazing what you actually learn when you don't take such an obsessive interest in your geographical football rivals. You can become more educated and be a decent person because of it. Maybe more people should try it?

Think it's because he's not a cunt.

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On 19/11/2020 at 11:48, lifetime fan said:

I went to a sportsmans dinner with Tommy Smith years ago.

 

Smith spoke about all the old legends fondly but spent longer talking about Clem than anyone else. He said his nickname amongst the players was the Bailiff, because any time the opposition started to attack all they could hear was Clemence shouting "close the fucker down".

Dont know about the baliff, the players also used to call him 'the assassin' in training when he regularly played outfield because he was fucking lethal in the tackle!

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13 minutes ago, Tj hooker said:

Allisson will wear this shirt on Sunday in tribute to the great man 

IMG-20201120-WA0004.jpg

God I hope thats true. 

 

 

 

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I meant Alisson playing......

 

 

 

 

Nah I didn't but couldn't resist. Either way, he's doing our greatest ever keeper proud and long may he continue. 

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I even bought Ray's book on goalkeeping for a bit of coaching. Some great pictures in it including Frankie Lane, the reserve team keeper, trying to play centre half for a few corner set piece routines!

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14 minutes ago, Sandman40 said:

Wish he could play the entire match in that shirt..

It looks like a retro shirt that they used to sell in the club shop about 20 years ago. I had one but remember it being a darker shade of green. Nike should have made some that could have been worn during the match.

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Guest Francie Brady

Been reading up on Clemence career today to try get a grasp of why he’s held in such high regard (Only born 1990) Was the £300,000 a big fee in 1981 for a goalkeeper and did moving him on for someone as unreliable as Bruce Grobbelaar raise eyebrows at the time? The reception he got from the Kop at his first game back at anfield certainly shows he was still loved by the fans. 

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6 minutes ago, Francie Brady said:

Been reading up on Clemence career today to try get a grasp of why he’s held in such high regard (Only born 1990) Was the £300,000 a big fee in 1981 for a goalkeeper and did moving him on for someone as unreliable as Bruce Grobbelaar raise eyebrows at the time? The reception he got from the Kop at his first game back at anfield certainly shows he was still loved by the fans. 

The story goes Ray was told by Shanks he'd be Liverpool's keeper if he signed. Only he didnt tell him he'd be the reserve team keeper as Tommy Lawrence was the Number 1!

 

Ray signed in 67 for about £18,000. He made his debut in the 10-0 win against Dundalk but wasnt first choice until 1970 after Shanks decided to break up his team, replacing Tommy Lawrence and others after the FA Cup Quarter final defeat at Watford.

 

After over a decade of winning stuff, Ray decided he wanted a new challenge. I believe he made the suggestion to Bob he'd stay on if he could pick and choose the games he'd play in. That wasnt acceptable so Brucie, who wasnt 'unreliable' at all, was brought into the first team a lot earlier than intended. £300,000 was a lot for a keeper back in 81.

 

I'll never forget one top ref, Roger Taylor(?) was it, clapping a save Ray made at the Kop End against Burnley and mouthing 'very good save'! Loads of fans would be in a rage today if a ref did that.

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