2020 has been a rough year for many. For Liverpool fans, there was a brief respite of the first league title in 30 years before the grimness of the year took hold again. Unfortunately, more bad news began to spread on Sunday as word of the passing of one of Liverpool’s all time greats. Ray Clemence passed away from prostate cancer at the age of 72.
The goalkeeper was signed by Bill Shankly in 1967, and he was an important part of the spine of a Liverpool side that won hardware galore for both Shankly and Bob Paisley over the course of 665 games before moving to Tottenham in 1981. Clemence has been widely considered the best keeper in Liverpool’s history, known for being quick and fearless off of his line. Former Liverpool captain Phil Thompson took time to remember just how good the keeper was as a player for Liverpoolfc.com.
“Ray was such a wonderful man and in the icons we have had playing for our football club he has to be high up there, I would think in our top five,” said Thompson.
“Because he was a goalkeeper, people tend to look at strikers or maybe midfield players. But Ray was truly a legendary figure.”
During his time between the sticks for the Reds, he was part of teams that won 5 First Division titles, 3 European Cups, 2 UEFA Cups, 1 European Super Cup, 1 FA Cup, 1 League Cup, and 5 Charity Shields to boot.
Beyond the skills, Thompson also spoke to the personality of Ray Clemence, the man.
“Clem was powerful as a person. People talk about leaders in the game and as a goalkeeper Clem was a leader. When Clem used to run to the Kop and they were all cheering him he wouldn’t even give them a wave because he was that focused. The only time I think he waved was when he came back that time with Tottenham Hotspur when we won the league, when he deservedly got an incredible reception. He had focus and determination and inside that dressing room before games when we had such a laugh and a craic you also needed your leaders, and Clem was one of them. What that man gave to this football club was huge and, honestly, we owe him such a debt.”
Current Liverpool manager also took time to commemorate the keeper.
We should never forget it is great players who make great teams and clubs. You only need to listen to the legends of LFC from his era to understand his significance. They say it better than I ever could, that Ray Clemence is one of the reasons our club is such a special one all these years later. He was one of the foundation stones that so much of this club’s success was built on.
Here at TLO towers, we send our heartfelt condolences to the Clemence family. You’ll Never Walk Alone, Clem.