Goal.com's Top 50 English Players: Ray Clemence (30)

We continue to count down the fifty greatest English gents of all time and at number 30, it's Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur great Ray Clemence...
No.50 - John Terry
No.49 - Tony Currie
No.48 - Terry Butcher
No.47 - Gerry Hitchens
No.46 - Paul Ince
No.45 - George Camsell
No.44 - Wayne Rooney
No.43 - Jackie Milburn
No.42 - Roger Hunt
No.41 - Rio Ferdinand
No.40 - Wilf Mannion

No.39 - Frank Lampard
No.38 - John Barnes
No.37 - Nat Lofthouse
No.36 - Eddie Hapgood
No.35 - Chris Waddle
No.34 - David Platt
No.33 - Phil Neal
No.32 - Johnny Haynes

Raymond Neal

Born 5 August 1948 (1961-01-18), Skegness

England 61 caps, 0 goals

Clubs Scunthorpe United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur

Depending on who you ask, Ray Clemence should have won far more England caps or was fortunate to have played so many times for his country when Peter Shilton was in his prime.

Whichever way it is looked at, the Skegness-born goalkeeper is considered to be one of the best the country has ever produced and his medal haul is proof enough of how influential he was at club level.

Clemence would have been the undisputed number one for the England team in almost any other era, but he was forced to compete with Shilton for the Three Lions shirt for his entire career.

You will not hear him complaining, though, as he played 61 times for his country and won 20 trophies with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in a career that spanned three decades and 18 years.

There can be no higher accolade paid to Clemence than the fact that he was Bill Shankly's chosen 'keeper, as the Scottish manager created the Anfield dynasty in the late 1960's and early 70's.

After just two seasons with lowly Scunthorpe United, and only a year in the first team, he was taken to Liverpool where, after making an early debut, a two-year apprenticeship was served before he took over the green jersey on a regular basis.


Three-time European Cup winner
Silverware soon came thick and fast, as Clemence ensured that, while those in front of him earned the headlines as the Merseyside outfit began to conquer both England and Europe, he was always there to give them the confidence to go forward.

Vocal in his control of the back four, the young keeper was agile and commanding around his area, as he told senior pros, with far more experience than himself, what to do and when to do it. They listened too.

The league title arrived in 1973 and Clemence did then find a place in the limelight, when he stopped a penalty in the final of the UEFA Cup  to help the Reds to beat Borussia Moenchengladbach.

A year later, the FA Cup was secured at Wembley as the young custodian began to enjoy regular open top bus tours with Liverpool. He went on to help them to win the league in 1976, 1977, 1979 and 1980.

In 1976, the UEFA Cup was recaptured, but it was during the next four seasons that the club's dominance of Europe really began to show, as they won the European Cup in 1977, 1978 and 1981.

Clemence was as masterful against continental opposition as he was against domestic strikers, just as he was equally adept both on the ground and in the air.

In a poll on Liverpool's official website, the affable shot-stopper came in at number 11 in the top 100 players in the club's history and he was the highest placed keeper, beating his successor Bruce Grobbelaar to the honour.

Helping to pioneer the use of gloves, Clemence had been called into the England squad in 1972 by no lesser luminary than Sir Alf Ramsey, but even the World Cup winner was unable to be sure if he was the best available.


"Ray Clemence was my favourite player when he played for Liverpool and I had a picture of him by my bedside. I was only 13 at the time!! When he moved to Spurs in '80 I changed my allegiance and have been supporting the Lillywhites ever since. Ray Clemence and Glenn Hoddle are my all time favourite players." - paxton66 | sussex

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Over the course of a decade, the Liverpool 'keeper alternated in and out of the national with Shilton, while Joe Corrigan was left back in third place, often sitting in the stands for games.

One major achievement that he did enjoy, though, was becoming the first goalkeeper to captain England since Frank Swift had done so in the 1940's, but it was in a period when the team struggled to qualify for major tournaments, so this honour was a bit of an oasis in a desert.

With Liverpool in their prime, Clemence caused a stir when he opted to join Tottenham in 1981, believing that he needed a fresh challenge at a club where he would still have a chance of winning things.

While the silverware was not going to be in as great a supply as it was at Anfield, he did help the north London outfit to win the FA Cup in his first year, as well as to reach the League Cup Final in 1982 and the FA Cup Final again in 1987.

After seeing Pat Jennings defect to Arsenal and Barry Daines unable to come anywhere the same standard, Clemence's arrival at White Hart Lane was a big moment for the club as he was the rock upon which the success of the 1980's was built.

UEFA Cup glory was missed out on by Clemence, as he did not play in the final, and instead his injury meant that Tony Parks went on to make his name with a penalty save against Anderlecht.

Since retiring the 'keeper, now 60, has managed both Tottenham and Barnet and has been on the England coaching staff for over a decade. He has, more recently, seen off prostate cancer and received an MBE for his services to the game.


First Division title (Liverpool) 1973, 1976, 1977, 1979 and 1980
FA Cup winner (Liverpool) 1974 (Tottenham Hotspur) 1982
European Cup winner (Liverpool) 1977, 1978 and 1981
UEFA Cup winner (Liverpool) 1973 and 1976
League Cup winner (Liverpool) 1981
European Super Cup winner (Liverpool) 1977
Charity Shield winner (Liverpool) 1974, 1976, 1977 (shared), 1979 and 1980 (Tottenham Hotspur) 1981 (shared)
Awarded MBE

DID YOU KNOW... Clemence did not dive in warm-ups before matches because he thought it was unlucky...

Lucas Brown, Goal.com

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