Football: Liverpool great Ray Clemence dies aged 72

Ray Clemence in a file photo from 2009.
Ray Clemence in a file photo from 2009.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Former Liverpool and England goalkeeper Ray Clemence has died aged 72, his family said on Sunday (Nov 15).

Clemence, who been living with advanced prostate cancer since 2005, was one of the finest keepers of his generation, winning three European Cups and five First Division titles during 14 years at Liverpool.

A signing from Scunthorpe in 1967, Clemence was a key member of the Liverpool team which won the club's first ever European Cup in 1977.

He also played in their 1978 and 1981 European Cup final triumphs and won the Uefa Cup in 1973 and 1976.

The 1974 FA Cup and the 1981 League Cup were also won by Clemence during his time playing for Liverpool boss Bill Shankly and his successor Bob Paisley.

Clemence left for Tottenham in 1981, aged 32, and won another Uefa Cup and the FA Cup in his seven-year stay in north London.

He is survived by his wife Veronica, son Stephen - a former player himself and now a coach - and daughters Sarah and Julie.

"With great sadness, we write to let you know that Ray Clemence passed away peacefully today, surrounded by his loving family," a statement from the Clemence family said.

"After fighting so hard, for such a long time, he's now at peace and in no more pain.

"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."

Liverpool paid tribute to Clemence on their Twitter account.

"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," a statement said.

Clemence won 61 England caps, but would had many more had he not been competing with Peter Shilton, who accumulated 125, for the No. 1 shirt.

After retiring in 1988, Clemence served on the Tottenham coaching staff, managed Barnet and then worked as England's goalkeeping coach.

"We are extremely saddened to learn that former Three Lions goalkeeper and coach Ray Clemence has passed away at the age of 72," a Football Association statement said.

"All of our thoughts are with Ray's family, friends and former clubs at this time."

England players will wear black armbands during their Nations League game in Belgium on Sunday and will pay tribute to Clemence before Wednesday's match against Iceland at Wembley.