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Raymond Neal "Ray" Clemence, MBE (born 5 August, 1948) is one of English and European football's most decorated goalkeepers ever and was part of the Liverpool team of the 1970s.

Life and playing career

Born in Skegness, Englandmarker, Clemence made his debut for Scunthorpe United in 1966 and was spotted and signed by Liverpool manager Bill Shankly a year later, joining the Reds for £18,000 on the 24 June 1967. He made his debut and kept his first clean-sheet in a League Cup 3rd round tie at Anfieldmarker on the 25 September 1968, Swansea City were the visitors and were beaten 2-0. He was nurtured through the reserve side over the next two years, with the occasional senior appearance, until 1970, at which point he became the club's first choice goalkeeper.

In 1971, Liverpool reached the FA Cup final where Clemence played well but was powerless to prevent Arsenal scoring twice in extra time to peg back Liverpool's lead and win the game 2–1. However, there would be joy for Clemence two seasons later when Liverpool won both the League title and UEFA Cup, with Clemence saving a penalty in the final of the latter against Borussia Mönchengladbach. The penalty save meant that Liverpool took a 3–0 lead to Germanymarker with them rather than a 3–1, Gladbach won 2–0 on their home soil and if Jupp Heynckes had beaten Clem from the spot the tie would have finished 3–3 on aggregate with the Germans winning on the away goals rule. 1973/74 saw Liverpool claim yet more silverware winning the F.A Cup at a canter with a comprehensive 3–0 victory over Newcastle United.

Clemence was, by now, a regular for England making his debut and keeping his first clean-sheet in the 1–0 World Cup qualifier win over Wales at Ninian Parkmarker on the 15 November 1972, unfortunately for Clemence the presence of another great goalkeeper Peter Shilton meant that the England management struggled to decide which keeper was the best, and ended up alternating their selection.

With Clemence in goal, Liverpool won another League and UEFA Cup double in 1976 and then made a courageous bid for a unique treble a year later. They achieved the first leg when they won the League title, but then lost the F.A Cup final to bitter rivals Manchester United, a result that affected Clem and saw him trudge forlornly off the Wembleymarker turf. A consolation was to be had a few days later, however, when the Reds won the European Cup for the first time, defeating Borussia Mönchengladbach 3–1, with Clemence, again, being a thorn in the Gladbach side making a series of important saves.

Liverpool retained the European Cup in 1978 with a narrow 1–0 win over Club Brugge at Wembley, but conceded their League title to Nottingham Forest, to whom they also lost in the League Cup final. In 1979 and 1980, Clemence kept goal as Liverpool clinched the League title in each season. The 1978-79 League success saw Clemence set a record that was never beaten under the two points for a win system, conceding only 16 goals in the 42 league matches ( and just 4 at Anfield). This remarkable record endured until beaten recently by Chelsea, who conceded 15 goals in the 38 League matches.

Once again in 1981 silverware proudly sat in the Anfield trophy room as they won the League Cup and the European Cup for the third time, the 1–0 win over Real Madrid at the Parc des Princesmarker on the 27 May ultimately proving to be Clemence's last game for the club.

The emergence of the South African-born Bruce Grobbelaar put Clemence under threat for his place for the first time in eleven years (during which period he played in more than 650 matches and missed a mere six) and he decided to end his association with Liverpool by joining Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £300,000. The two clubs reached the 1982 League Cup final, which Liverpool won 3–1. Spurs did, however, win the FA Cup, defeating QPR 1–0 after a 1–1 draw.

Clemence's Spurs debut came in a league fixture at Ayresome Parkmarker on 28 August 1981, Middlesbrough couldn't prevent Clemence starting off with a win, losing 3–1. His first clean-sheet came three games later on the 12 September at Molineux, when he kept Wolverhampton Wanderers at bay in the 1–0 victory.

Clemence's international career was event-free, in that it coincided with England's least successful era, failing to qualify for two World Cup in 1974 and 1978. Clemence was part of the squad which qualified for Euro 1980 but this ended in failure. In 1982, he was in the squad which qualified for the World Cup, but again England did not progress as far as hoped. Clemence retired from international football shortly afterwards with a total of 61 caps. His rival Shilton ended up as first choice keeper for the rest of the 1980s, playing in two more World Cups and attaining a record 125 caps. Clemence also had the distinction of captaining England, once, the first keeper to do so since Frank Swift. The game in question was a prestigious friendly with Brazil, although Clemence couldn't prevent the Brazilians from scoring as England lost 1–0.

Spurs won the UEFA Cup in 1984 but Clemence missed the final through injury. He did reach a fifth F.A Cup final in 1987, when his side lost to Coventry City. He is in a select group of players who have appeared in five or more F.A Cup finals.

He retired in 1988 and joined the coaching staff at Spurs, working his way through to the first team, before leaving to become joint manager of Barnet (with fellow goalkeeper Gary 'sumo' Phillips) in January 1994. At the start of the 1994–95 season, Ray took sole charge leading Barnet to 9th and 13th in Division 3. In August 1996 he was recruited by his former Spurs and England team-mate Glenn Hoddle as goalkeeping coach for the England team, a position he continued to hold under Hoddle's successors Kevin Keegan and Sven-Göran Eriksson. He remained in that position under Steve McClaren until he was ousted by Italian Franco Tancredi as goalkeeping coach in December 2007 as Fabio Capello took charge of the national team. Although Ray still remains part of the England backroom staff.

He is also the head of the F.A's Head of Development Team his role is to oversee the England under 16s, 17s, 18s, 19s and 20 sides, working with England U21 coach Stuart Pearce in monitoring the players' progress to the U21 side. He also occasionally works as a pundit on TV and radio.

Clemence was awarded an MBE for services to football. His son, Stephen, is a midfield player who came through the ranks at Spurs and Birmingham City and now plays for Leicester City, whilst his daughter Sarah also has footballing connections, being the wife of Southend United striker Dougie Freedman.

On February 2 2005 Clemence announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and that he would spend time away from the England squad whilst he receives treatment. He was the second member of Eriksson's staff to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, Brian Kidd was diagnosed with the disease prior to Euro 2004.

Clemence is still held in very high regard by the Anfield faithful and was voted in at No.11 on the Official Liverpool Football Club web site poll 100 Players Who Shook The Kop, he was also the highest placed goalkeeper. He was also chosen as goalkeeper in the BBC's Merseyside team of the 20th century, and topped the magazine Total Football's poll of the best ever goalkeeper, beating the likes of Shilton, Lev Yashin, Gordon Banks and Pat Jennings.

Career details

  • Liverpool F.C (1967–1981) - 665 appearances
    • 5 First Division| (Level 1) championship winners medals (1973, 1976, 1977, 1979 and 1980)
    • FA Cup winners medal (1974)
    • 3 European Cup (1977, 1978 and 1981)
    • 2 UEFA Cup winners medals (1973 and 1976)
    • League Cup winners medal (1981)
    • European Super Cup winners medal (1977)
    • 5 Charity Shield winners medals (1974, 1976, 1977 (shared), 1979 and 1980)
    • 2 First Division (level 1) runners-up medals (1974 and 1978)
    • 2 F.A Cup runners-up medal (1971 and 1977)
    • Football League Cup runners-up medal 1978
    • Charity Shield runners-up medal (1971)
    • European Super Cup runners-up medal (1978)
  • Tottenham Hotspur F.C (1981–1988) - 330 appearances
    • F.A Cup winners medal (1982)
    • UEFA Cup Winners medal (1984)
    • Charity Shield winners medal (1981 (shared))
    • F.A Cup runners-up medal (1987)
    • Football League Cup runners-up medal (1982)
    • Charity Shield runners-up medal (1982)
  • England (1972–1983) - 61 caps

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