Ray Clemence

Ray Clemence - A Tottenham Legend?

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.

Clemence’s Stats:

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.

Tony Parks [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]

Tony Parks [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]

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.

Have your say – Vote on the HotspurHQ Poll:

Is Ray Clemence a Tottenham Legend?

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Tags: Legend Pat Jennings Ray Clemence Soccer Tottenham Hotspur

  • matt

    An easy one for me this one. No! He was an Anfield legend. To be fair to Ray, he certainly gave us half a dozen years of good service (although injured in 1984), but was also on the downside of his career when he joined us, having been replaced by Bruce Grobbelaar at Liverpool in 1981. Although he was undoubtedly a fine keeper, there also remains for me the lingering feeling that even his status and reputation at Liverpool were slightly inflated by the quality of the defence and indeed whole team in front of him. Although he won 61 England caps, I personally never rated him in quite the same class as Peter Shilton or for that matter our own great Pat Jennings, a true Spurs legend.

    • Logan Holmes

      Matt, your thoughts sum up my views on Ray Clemence. He served the club well, coming in after the club had spent four years trying to do the impossible and replace Pat Jennings. Clemence coming in was the best that we could do.

      • matt

        Yes, selling Pat Jennings, let alone who we sold him to, was one of the greatest player/personnel mistakes we have made as a club in the last 50 years, arguably on the selling side it’s the biggest. So, after a successive and transient goalkeeping roster of unbridled mediocrity in Kendall, Daines and Aleksic, getting Ray Clemence was definitely an upgrade.

        As an aside, I started supporting Spurs in 1964, same year as yourself, so my perspective on every single one of your player versus legend conundrums, so far, has been the same as yours (with the sole exception of Robbie Keane, who with some reservation, I think does deserve to be accorded legendary status!)

        I noticed that, aside from the early voting on Clemence, a preponderance of your correspondents thought that all of your aforementioned nominees should be considered as legends!

        This surprised me somewhat, but I think a lot of younger fans perceptions are moulded by … a) A desire to annoint legends from amongst the modern players (like Anderton), in a period of time in the club’s history where there has been a genuine dearth of true legends and … b) The Spurs official website liberally referring to players from the past, like John Pratt and Ralph Coates, as legends and including by default some distinctly fringe (and non legendary!) former players who play for the so-called ‘Legends’ team!

        An enjoyable and thought provoking series of articles Logan, so thank-you for taking the time to post them.

        • Logan Holmes

          Thanks for that Matt.
          i was surprised at the support some of the players received in the voting but on Facebook the comments were much more negative and one person who suggested Keane should be considered a legend was taken to task.

          Younger supporters view players differently to those of us who have seen Greaves, Jennings, Hoddle, Ardiles and the other legends. They say that players we don’t consider to be legends are their legends because they’ve seen them playing and supported them.

          Of course, THFC hasn’t helped the situation with some of the former players who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame while we still wait for Jimmy Greaves and the club to come to some agreement over the matter.