LONDON: Ray Clemence, one of England’s finest goalkeepers of the post-war era and a hero with Liverpool and Tottenham , has died aged 72.
Clemence, who won three European Cups and five First Division titles during a trophy-laden spell at Anfield, won 61 England caps, which would undoubtedly have been many more had he not been competing with Peter Shilton, who accumulated 125. England’s 1970s manager Ron Greenwood regularly alternated the pair, he judged their talents so well matched.
An £18,000 signing from Scunthorpe by Bill Shankly, Clemence was a key member of the Liverpool team which dominated Europe between 1977 and 1981, and also picked up two UEFA Cups, an FA Cup and the League Cup.
At Tottenham, whom he joined in 1981 aged 32 for a fee of £300,000, he won another UEFA Cup and FA Cup.
A family statement said: “With great sadness, we write to let you know that Ray Clemence passed away peacefully today, surrounded by his loving family. After fighting so hard, for such a long time, he’s now at peace and in no more pain.
‘Love and support’
“The family would like to say a huge thank you, for all the love and support that he’s received over the years. He was loved so much by us all and he will never be forgotten.”
Clemence had been living with advanced prostate cancer since 2005.
In an interview in 2018 with Prostate Cancer UK, the former goalkeeper spoke about how he was dealing with the illness, saying: “I just want to give a positive attitude to everybody who has a connection with prostate cancer, whether they’re helping to find cures or they’ve got it.
“There’s lots of talk about men like me only lasting five or six years with it. Well I’m 13 going on 14 years now, and I’m doing all the things that I want.”
Liverpool paid tribute to their former player, saying on Twitter: “We’re deeply saddened by the passing of one of the greatest ever goalkeepers, Ray Clemence.
“The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool Football Club are with Ray’s family and many friends. Rest in peace, Ray Clemence 1948-2020.”
Tottenham tweeted: “We are deeply saddened to report the passing of legendary former goalkeeper Ray Clemence. We extend our deepest sympathies to Ray’s family and many friends throughout the game at this sad time.”
The Football Association said it was “extremely saddened” to learn of Clemence’s death.
Ossie Ardiles, who played with Clemence at Tottenham, tweeted: “So so sad to heard the news of Raymondo passing away. He was a great goalkeeper, wonderful companion, friend. He battled this illness right until the very end.
“We will miss you. Rest in peace my friend. My family and my thoughts and prayers go out to Vee, her family and friends.”
Clemence is survived by his wife Veronica, son Stephen – a former player himself and now a coach – and daughters Sarah and Julie.