Ray Clemence is a Liverpool legend but in his six years as a player at White Hart Lane did he become a Tottenham legend?
Ray Clemence joined Tottenham in the summer of 1981 and took over in goal from Milija Aleksic who had been in the team for the previous season’s FA Cup win.
Surprisingly, he was the first player transferred between Tottenham and Liverpool. Clemence had twelve very successful years at Anfield when Liverpool won 5 League titles, the European Cup on 3 occasions, the UEFA Cup twice and the FA Cup and League Cup on one occasion. In total he won 61 international caps for England sharing the goalkeeping duties with Peter Shilton.
Clemence was 33 years old when he joined Spurs who had been looking for a top class goalkeeper since the departure of Pat Jennings four years earlier when at the age of thirty two, Keith Burkinshaw deemed him to be past his best. A major mistake by the Spurs manager who then gave three goalkeepers the opportunity to replace Jennings. Barry Daines, Mark Kendall and Aleksic who had been signed from Luton Town in 1979 were all tried but without ever being able to claim the goalkeeping jersey. Aleksic had only made it into the Cup winning side when Daines was injured late in the season.
League: App. 240
FA Cup: App. 25
League Cup: App. 38
Europe: App. 27
Clemence made his Tottenham debut in the FA Charity Shield at Wembley against Aston Villa and in that first 1981-82 season he played 61 games, missing only 4 league games during the season. He helped Spurs to retain the FA Cup and finish 4th in the League. Spurs also reached the Final of the League/Milk Cup where they lost in extra time to his former club, Liverpool and were then defeated by a brutal Barcelona team in the semi-finals of the European Cup Winner’s Cup. In the FA Cup Final replay against Queen’s Park Rangers it was Clemence who kept the 2nd Division team at bay as an exhausted Tottenham struggled through the second half at the end of a very long, competitive season.Injury meant that Clemence missed out on the UEFA Cup Final two years later when Tony Parks deputised so admirably. In 1986-87 he made 55 appearances, missing only two games, as David Pleat’s ‘nearly’ team ended the season in 3rd, beaten finalists in the FA Cup and losing semi-finalists in the League Cup.
After playing in the opening 11 games of the following season, a recurrence of his knee injury kept him out of the team and forced him to retire. On his retirement he took up a coaching role with the club and during the Terry Venables ‘reign’ was joint First team coach with Doug Livermore in season 1992-93.
While Clemence made 330 appearances in six seasons and had a successful time at White Hart Lane he will always be remembered, first and foremost, as a Liverpool player.
Is Ray Clemence a Tottenham legend?
I find this a very difficult question to answer. When I think of Ray Clemence I immediately associate him with Liverpool and all the success he had at Anfield. Then I think of him at Tottenham but for me he isn’t a Spurs legend – many of you may disagree.
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