RIP Ray Clemence

      No Comments on RIP Ray Clemence

The death of legendary Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and England goalkeeper Ray Clemence at the relatively young age of 72 was announced on Sunday.

While we didn’t interact with him much on Twitter, he was somebody who always took the trouble to reply to queries and it was clear to see that he had an interest in the shirts he wore. These are the three kits with which we most associate the five-time league champions and winner of three European Cups, a Uefa Cup and two FA Cups, who was capped 61 times:

While Clemence, who began his career with Scunthorpe United, never played for a team outfitted by adidas, there are nonetheless some notable instances of him wearing the three stripes.

Firstly, during 1976-77, in which Liverpool won their first European Cup, he appeared in green and yellow versions of the same style. While Football League rules at the time specified that goalkeeper shirts had to be devoid of contrasting trim, there was more latitude in Europe.

At the time, Umbro and adidas had an alliance and Clemence wore a green adidas shirt with black collar, cuffs and three-stripe motif against Crusaders, Trabzonspor and Zürich. In the quarter-finals, they met French side St-Etienne, who play in green, and so he wore a yellow variant.

Yellow wasn’t allowed domestically until the mid-1980s, being reserved for international goalkeepers up until then. It was therefore somewhat ironic that in 1980, Clemence ended up having to wear a green shirt – so ubiquitous at club level, but rare internationally – for his country.

England were drawn in the same group as Romania in the 1982 World Cup qualifiers and, when they went to Bucharest in October 1980, it seems nobody thought to pack the blue Admiral shirt that was back-up to the usual yellow goalkeeper top.

In the U21 game on the Tuesday, John Lukic wore a blue shirt but, come the senior game, the solution was that Clemence would borrow a top from Romania, the same as his opposite number Vasile Iordache, as England – wearing white change shorts – lost 2-1.

When Romania came to Wembley for the return game the following April, Peter Shilton – with whom Clemence battled for the number 1 spot for so long – wore the blue alternative top as the outfielders played in the red second kit.

Leave a Reply