2020, which everyone and everything is tired of, is especially merciless to English football. During its course, four world champions of 1966 – Peter Bonetti, Norman Hunter, John Charlton and Nobby Styles – have already gone to another world, and now the sad turn has reached the legend of the next generation, the magnificent keeper of the 70s and 80s Raymond. Neil (and in short – just Ray) Clemens, who left our world exactly a week ago – November 15.
This wonderful football player and person was born on August 5, 1948 – as we can see, in the midst of the depressive post-war period. His small homeland is the town of Skegness in the East Lindsay area of Lincolnshire. Parents Bill and Muriel (nee Scott) sent him to the football team at the school, where he played in the field until the age of 15, but when the goalkeeper broke down, he was called to replace him.
And he did it at first, frankly, without much desire, but then he still accepted that his career would be held in the frame. Then there was the Notts County youth team, from where he was safely kicked out, and the Third Division club Scunthorpe United.
And now some shocking information. Now, as we know, or maybe just guess, the average footballer in the third-strongest league in England is quite a rich man.. In the distant 1967th, things were not at all like this, our hero earned either 9 or 11 pounds a week, and therefore during his summer vacation (at the end of the 1966/1967 season) he had to earn money … on the beach of his native Skengness, renting sun loungers for vacationers.
There he received news of interest from the great Bill Shankly, who at that time had already headed the “red” for 8 years, and in less than 19 years for 180 thousand pounds he joined one of the two main clubs of his life. Instead of 9-11 pounds a week, Clemens now received 30!
Although Ray did not manage to immediately get a reinforced concrete place at the base, and even close – still, there was the unsurpassed Tommy Lawrence nearby. Clemens made his debut for the “Reds” in 1968 in the League Cup match against Swansea, but our hero, who had not yet received the legendary status even close, managed to displace the legendary goalkeeper in the 1969/1970 season (or rather, in the second half of the season , after the disastrous game of Lawrence against Watford in the Cup of the country), but well, from September 1972 to March 1978, he achieved a unique achievement, for five and a half years playing from bell to bell IN ALL (of which there were 336) Liverpool matches.
In just 14 years, wearing a Merseyside jersey, he entered the field 665 times, of which 323 have not conceded a goal. Eh, just a little bit fell short in order to exceed half …
During this time, Clemens won an impressive number of trophies as part of the « Scausers »: 5 championships, 2 FA Cups, 6 Super Cups (2 of which are split), the League Cup, and most importantly – 2 UEFA Cups, 3 Champions Cups and one UEFA Super Cup. Have you read this list to the end? Well done!
Not very tall for a 21st century goalkeeper (183 cm in height), but incredibly athletic, fast and decisive, Clemens also built his defenders superbly, and not without the help of a magnificent four defenders – Phil Neal, Phil Thompson, Alan Hansen and Allan Kennedy, conceded only 16 goals in 42 league games in 1978/1979. Moreover, in 28 of them he kept the gates « dry »!
That season, the club from the capital of Merseyside won one of their Champions Cups, and in the final with Bruges, which ended with a 1-0 victory for Liverpool, Clemens showed an amazing performance. He played no less high-class three years later, when Real was already defeated 1: 0, and amid stunning glory, the almost 33-year-old goalkeeper decided to leave Liverpool.
It was the game with the creamy ones that became his last for the team, and by that time he was without exaggeration considered the best goalkeeper in the history of the “red” (in fact, he remained them – 11th in the list of the most outstanding players in the history of the club, which is the highest among the gatekeepers), but for £ 300,000 he went to Tottenham Hotspur.
Did you want to live in the capital, or what ?! Just kidding, Clemens just felt that with the Merseysids, led first by Bill Shankly and then by Bob Paisley, he had already won everything.. And this is really so, it was out of place for our hero to be modest!
In general, and for the history of « spurs » he managed to become a memorable person. He made his debut for the London club against Middlesbrough in August 1981 and played over 300 games for him.. The injury forced Clemence to lose his place in the team after defeating Anderlecht in the 1984 UEFA Cup final, but let’s face it, he was already on the bench during the final itself – he watched his colleague Tony Parks pull out after the final 2: 2 penalty shootout parrying 2 Belgian hits.
Also already a seasoned veteran, Clemens reached the fifth FA Cup final in 1987, in which the Spurs lost to Coventry, and joined a small number of players who have participated in five or more FA Cup finals..
But another injury – Achilles, received in October of the same 1987 in a game against Norwich, put an end to the career of a wonderful goalkeeper. After that, Clemens almost immediately switched to coaching, but he did not succeed in gaining a foothold in this business as the main one either in Tottenham (as an assistant to Doug Livermore) or in Barnet from the Third-Fourth Division (where he first worked with Harry Phillips , and then alone, and the name of the league is written like this, because he became the fourth after the introduction of the Premier League).
But he worked as a goalkeeper coach in the England national team with four coaches in a row – from 1996 to 2012! Yes, with a small caveat that in 2007, after the arrival of Fabio Capello, he was replaced by the chief’s compatriot Franco Tancredi, but Raymond still remained at the headquarters, and was primarily concerned with goalkeepers, even though his official position sounded differently. Well, in 2010, with the arrival of Roy Hodgson, he regained his native « position » and officially.
By the way, he left this job far not of his own free will – the damned Achilles reminded of himself during a warm-up with Joe Hart during our Euro 2012 with the Poles. And in the case of the British – purely ours in every sense of the word. It was a game against the French in Ukrainian Donetsk at the Donbass Arena, which now makes many people cry … In 2013, he left football forever.
By the way, speaking, our hero also entered the history of the national team as a far from ordinary character. As a player, he, of course, did not find the times of the golden 1966 – then his football path was just beginning. Then he fought for the right to become the legal successor of Gordon Banks, but in the end he lost the competition to Peter Shilton, with whom he had fiercely competed for a long time, and managed to wear the T-shirt of the country’s main team 61 times, including at two games of Euro 1980.
For another tournament, the 1982 world championship, he went as a reserve. Before that, Clemens simply did not have the opportunity to attend big tournaments – the ancestors of football did not get into the European Championship-72, World Cup-74, European Championship-76 and World Cup-78.
Wife Veronica, with whom he became friends in 1971, gave Ray three children – son Stephen, who also became a professional footballer, and two daughters Sarah, who became the wife of Scottish footballer Dougie Friedman, and Julie. For football merits, he became a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. On November 15, 2020, a wonderful goalkeeper of the past died of prostate cancer, which he suffered from February no less distant 2005 …
Let football be a team game 100 times, personalities make it great in the first place. Ray Clemens is one of them. For two clubs (especially for one) – a landmark, for the rest of the football world – to put it mildly, not the last in the list of greats. If you really love Her Majesty the Game, then sometimes take an interest in their unique stories.. And most importantly – do this not only when such sad occasions appear.. For without each of them, sport number 1 would not be so great.
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Liverpool F. C. , Ray Clemence, Premier League, UEFA Champions League
EbeneMagazine – RU – From the beach to the gates of Liverpool: in memory of the legendary Ray Clemence
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– From the beach to the gates of Liverpool: in memory of the legendary Ray Clemens
– <a href="/?s= About Liverpool paid tribute to the deceased ex-goalkeeper Clemens before the match against Leicester Clemens before the match against Leicester . ru