Birthdate: 5 August 1948
Birthplace: Skegness, England
Other clubs: Scunthorpe United (1965-67), St George (loan 1978), Tottenham Hotspur (1981-88)
Bought from: Scunthorpe United
Signed for LFC: £18,000, 24.06.1967
International debut: 15.11.1972 vs. Wales
International caps: 61/0 (56/0 at LFC) - 16.11.1983
Liverpool debut: 25.09.1968
Last appearance: 27.05.1981
Contract expiry: 15.08.1981
Win ratio: 54.89% W:365 D:177 L:123
Honours: League Championship 1972/73, 1975/76, 1976/77, 1978/79, 1979/80; FA Cup 1974; League Cup 1981; European Cup 1977, 1978, 1981; UEFA Cup 1973, 1976
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 16 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 470 / 0
Total LFC games/goals: 665 / 0
Player profileClemence was a fresh faced 18-year-old at Scunthorpe United when Bill Shankly brought him to Anfield in June 1967. Despite his young age he had still made 46 appearances for the third division club. Shankly even told him Lawrence was over the hill and he would be in the team inside six months to convince him to join. Clemence had to serve a two and half years' frustrating apprenticeship in the reserves apart from being selected for a League Cup tie against Swansea in September 1968. Clemence's second and third game came one year after his debut but he could hardly showcase his talent as Liverpool conquered Dundalk 10-0 and 4-0 in the European Fairs Cup. As the 60s moved into the 70s, Shankly was starting to break up the team which had brought him so much success and Clemence was given his full League debut at Nottingham Forest on the last day of January 1970. Tommy Lawrence's last appearance for the club was in an awful FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Watford the next month and seven days later Clemence was one of a number of changes made for the visit of Derby County and he had established himself firmly as first-choice 'keeper by the end of that season. Clemence only missed six League matches in the next 11 years!
In the 1970/71 season Clemence only conceded 22 goals in 41 First Division matches, a record which was surpassed in 1978/79 when just 16 goals were conceded, with Clemence an ever-present for the sixth time. It was no coincidence Liverpool were the best team, they had the best defence: Clemence, Neal, Kennedy, Thompson and Hansen. Clemence kept 28 clean sheets and only conceded four goals at Anfield in 21 games! His positional sense and quick reactions led to England caps galore and his tally would have been even higher had Peter Shilton not been around at the same time. One of very few players over the whole continent to have won three European cup winners' medals, Clemence's crucial save from Stielike when the Rome final in 1977 was tensely balanced at 1-1 helped Liverpool achieve perhaps the most memorable result in the club's long and illustrious history. Just as important saves in the Anfield quarter-final with Saint-Etienne in the same season had paved the way for that first success in Europe's premier club competition and his penalty save from Jupp Heynckes prevented Liverpool from losing the 1973 UEFA Cup final on the away goals rule. Another brilliant save from a spot-kick at Dresden in the UEFA tournament three years later also prevented a quarter-final exit and the Reds went on to win the cup that year as well. What is not remembered so well but what was just as vital to all the success the club enjoyed during the 1970's was Clemence's remarkable consistency and athleticism which turned many a draw into a victory and many potential defeats into draws and wins.
Clemence's final game for Liverpool was appropriately on the sort of grand stage to which he had become accustomed and he kept a clean sheet as Real Madrid were beaten by Alan Kennedy's late strike in Paris as Liverpool and Clemence lifted their third European Cup. It was a shock for Liverpool's management as well as fans when Clemence, who was approaching his thirty-third birthday, declared he wanted to leave the club as newcomer Bruce Grobbelaar staked a claim to the number one jersey. Some claimed Clemence was running scared as he felt threatened by Grobbelaar, but Clemence says nothing could be further from the truth. "At the start of my career, I had Tommy Lawrence underneath me once I got into the side so I had the pressure of him. Frankie Lane came from Tranmere, McDonnell came from Oldham, Ogrizovic came from Chesterfield so I always had somebody putting pressure on me and that was part of Liverpool's way getting you to play well was always having somebody to threaten your position. Therefore you always had to play well. Bruce was no different to any other goalkeeper I had underneath me before."
Clemence moved to Tottenham and his first competitive match against his former teammates was at Wembley where, despite his heroics, Liverpool retained the League Cup by three goals to one. Clemence enjoyed a new lease of life at Tottenham, playing almost until he was 40 and eventually making over 1000 appearances in total in his fantastic career. Clemence played 336 games without missing a single match from 9 September 1972 until 4 March 1978. Only two players have made more first-team appearances for the club; Ian Callaghan and Jamie Carragher. In Clemence's distinguished career at Liverpool he kept 323 clean sheets in 665 appearances. A few weeks after joining Tottenham, he travelled to Anfield with Liverpool needing a win to secure their thirteenth League Championship. As Clemence ran towards the Kop goal at the start of the second half he received a fantastic ovation from the crowd. "The first half I was playing at the Anfield Road end and they were still chanting: 'England's number one to me' so that was nice. I could never have envisaged when I came out at half-time and ran down to the Kop, the reception I would get. The whole stadium stood up and every single one in the Kop. It's probably the most emotional I have ever been at a football ground. It definitely brought a lump to my throat because I could not believe the reception from them. It was just one of the best moments you could possibly have."
Since retiring from playing in 1988 Clemence has had coaching roles at Spurs, managed Barnet from 1994 to 1996 and been part of the England set up, overseeing youth development. He retired from his FA role in 2013 but still occasionally does media work.
Appearances per season
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
|24||West Ham United|
|4||Brighton & Hove Albion|
|2||Red Star Belgrade|
|1||25.09.1968||Swansea Town||Anfield||League Cup|
|100||27.10.1971||West Ham United||Upton Park||League Cup|
|250||12.04.1974||Manchester City||Maine Road||League|
|350||18.02.1976||Manchester United||Old Trafford||League|
|400||08.01.1977||Crystal Palace||Anfield||FA Cup|
|550||04.09.1979||Tranmere Rovers||Anfield||League Cup|
|600||28.04.1980||Arsenal||Villa Park||FA Cup|
|650||14.03.1981||West Ham United||Wembley||League Cup|
LFChistory.net wanted to get to know the man behind the myth and what drives Bruce Grobbelaar.More
An article from the Liverpool Echo in March 1979.More
By MATT LAWTON in the Daily Mail on 14 November 2013.More
Tom Mallows puts the spotlight on our fantastically consistent number one.More
LFChistory met Ray Clemence on his birthday for an exclusive interview about his Liverpool career and the obstacles that life puts in front of you. More
Bill Shankly convinced Ray Clemence that the first team's goalkeeper's position would be his and his only soon after his arrival. A slight exaggeration on Shankly's part.More
Daily Express news article from 8 June 1981.More
"It’s never easy as a goalkeeper at 19, but there’s an old adage that it doesn’t matter about your age if you’re good enough. I was younger than Scott is now when I came to Liverpool from Scunthorpe. I think I was 18 when I had my first game in the first team. Then I had to wait a year or two before I became a regular."
Clemence commenting on Carson and his own career
"He was a wonderful man and we got on very well. He was the best one-on-one keeper around, how he dealt with those situations was an education ad he was the first “sweeper-keeper”. It was frustrating, but I was playing in an excellent reserve side that had won the Central League six out of seven years."
Clemence on waiting for a place in the first team because of Tommy Lawrence
"Trabzonspor in 1977 was the worst European trip. The pitch had rocks all over it. The hotel was awful, we were woken by the noise of farm animals at 5am, the food was terrible and we lost 1-0."
Ray Clemence on his worst European experience
"The final in Rome was was one of the best ever European Cup finals. We met our wives back at the hotel after the match and there was one heck of a party, especially when they let the fans in. After the first few beers I don’t remember much about the celebrations. Some of us didn’t go to bed that night. I kept going until the breakfast bar opened the next day."
Clemence on the 1977 European Cup final
"He’s a nicely-built lad, with one or two mannerisms, and maybe a wee bit cocky. But we’re getting him in plenty of time to work on him."
Shankly on Clemence
"The Spurs fans were already toasting their victory when Ronnie Whelan popped up and whipped his goal in to equalize in the dying seconds. It took a good player to do that because Ray Clemence was still a great goalkeeper, he’d kept Spurs in the game.
Paisley would not let us sit down before extra time started. He was bellowing: ‘Get up off your feet, don’t them let them see you are tired.’ It stemmed from Shankly, who would never let an opponent see that you were weak. After that, we felt we had it in the bag."
Phil Neal on the 1982 Milk Cup final vs. Tottenham
"Sometimes I feel I'm hardly wanted in this Liverpool team. If I get two or three saves to make I've had a busy day."
"Ray was one of the best goalkeepers I have ever seen. He is in England's top three alongside Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton. No one dominated the box as well as Clem. He made things look easy which is the sign of a top keeper. Ray was one of those people who was really enthusiastic in training. He always wanted people to take shots at him. He defied you to try and put the ball in the net. That's the sign of someone who was always on top of the job and confident in his own ability."
Ian Callaghan on Ray Clemence
- 2-0 but hip hip for Ray! - 18 September 1976
- Clemence for England! - 28 March 1972
- Clemence in Shoot! focus
- Clemence keeper of the year - from Onze
- Clemence needed patience
- Clemence proves why he is England's number one! - 3 December 1977
- Clemence shuts out Tottenham on 16 March 1971
- Clemence the painter
- Cross-talk by friendly rivals - prior to the 1971 final
- Game review of match against Southend on 17 January 1979
- Giants of Anfield
- Guiding David James
- King of keepers - 31 March 1979
- LFC Official Matchday Magazine interview 2000/01
- Liverpool's star of stars - 18 March 1972
- On top of the world - 8 May 1976
- Page from Arnie's scrapbook (editor of LFChistory.net)
- Poster of Spurs' Ray Clemence
- Ray Clemence on the cover of Shoot! 1971-1982
- Ray's warning to Bruce - March 1981
- Reds to remember by Ronnie Moran - Anfield Review
- Scenes from Clemence's testimonial on 14 May 1980
- Second hands - LFC Official Matchday Magazine
- Shoot! Soccer Stars
- Starlets bring hope to Anfield - 28 February 1970
- Super Ray Reds' hero - 10 April 1976
- The rise and rise of Ray Clemence - 6 March 1971
|Club||Season||Club rank||League apps||League goals||Total apps||Total goals|
|Scunthorpe United||1965-1966||England Third Division||4||0||4||0|
|Scunthorpe United||1966-1967||England Third Division||44||0||46||0|
|St George||1978-1979||Phillips Soccer League (Australia)||2||0||2||0|
|Tottenham||1981-1982||England First Division||38||0||62||0|
|Tottenham||1982-1983||England First Division||41||0||54||0|
|Tottenham||1983-1984||England First Division||26||0||37||0|
|Tottenham||1984-1985||England First Division||42||0||58||0|
|Tottenham||1985-1986||England First Division||42||0||58||0|
|Tottenham||1986-1987||England First Division||40||0||55||2|
|Tottenham||1987-1988||England First Division||11||0||13||0|