Author Topic: #SHANKLY100 Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.  (Read 12593 times)

Offline Sarge

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Following on from Crosby Nicks Barnes thread.

Ray Kennedy:


Midfielder (1974 - 1982) 

Debut : 31st August 1974 v Chelsea (A) Football League Division One: Won 3-0 
1st team games: 392 
1st team goals: 72 

Honours with Liverpool:

First Division Championship 1975/76, 1976/77, 1978/79, 1979/80 & 1981/82, League cup 1981, European Cup 1977, 1978 & 1981, UEFA Cup 1976, Charity Shield 1976, 1977 (shared), 1979 & 1980, European Super Cup 1977 

In one of English football's greatest positional switches of all time, Kennedy became a driving force in the Liverpool teams who lifted a succession of trophies under Bob Paisley in the 1970's and 1980's.
He was signed for a then club record £180,000 from Arsenal on the day Bill Shankly resigned as manager in July 1974. Kennedy arrived as a bustling, burly centre forward who had won the League and FA Cup double at Highbury three years earlier.

He struggled to find a Liverpool place until new boss Paisley tracked down Kennedy's former teacher in the player's native Northumberland and discovered he had been a schoolboy midfielder. He promptly switched Kennedy to the left flank where he excelled, winning England recognition and acclaim throughout Europe for his vision and finishing ability.

Perhaps the most memorable of his 72 Liverpool goals came at Munich's Olympic Stadium in the 1981 European Cup semi final second leg. His late strike secured a 1-1 draw with Bayern and a place in the final. Kennedy joined Swansea in January 1982 and later played for Hartlepool but has been cruelly afflicted by Parkinson's Disease.

http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/team/past_players/players/kennedy2/
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 05:45:24 pm by MichaelA »
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Offline Sarge

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2009, 10:01:19 pm »
If you donít stand for something you will fall for anything.

Offline CHOPPER

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2009, 07:45:15 am »
Ray was my hero as a kid, everyone would go for the obvious choices when having a knock about
Kenny, Keegan, Toshack, Souness, but Ray was mine
always wanted a number 5 on me shirt but never got it, you woz lucky to have a kit in them days though.
Watching him play was a joy, just seeing that blood red shirt with the big white 5 on
is still crystal clear in me memory to this day.

I also remember listening to an interview with Bob when he was asked
which of all the players did most clubs try to sign off him, the answer was Ray of course
and as Sarge pointed out he played up front for Arsenal and we played him left mid
what a ridiculous notion that is, signing a striker and then playing him on the wing...... :P

God bless ye Ray, you were and still are, a legend.

cheers Sarge, you've made an old Kopite very happy with them photo's.
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Offline Sarge

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2009, 09:50:21 am »
My dad always speaks highly of him and Callo.
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Offline Sarge

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2009, 09:53:26 am »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvxut2vM3S0

Ray Kennedy - Legend.

4.00  :o
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Offline Sarge

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2009, 09:56:05 am »
Looking at the youtube of Ray watch and notice, left foot, right foot, heading not a bother to him.
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Online John C

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2009, 10:36:38 am »
Everything about Kennedy is synonymous with a few of our great teams. What a player and more importantly a massive contributor to Liverpools history. Flags, memorabilia and even RAWK's changing team shirts at the top of this page would be nothing without Kennedy and others.

Offline Sarge

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2009, 12:42:58 pm »
If you donít stand for something you will fall for anything.

Offline CHOPPER

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2009, 01:05:23 pm »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvxut2vM3S0

Ray Kennedy - Legend.

4.00  :o
How good is that!, anyone reading this, get on this link, this is how great players score great goals

Did ya get onto motty Sarge "what a choice goal"... that's me knew word that.....choice   :D

great pics them Sarge, where dya get them ?



By the way, if ye Dad loosens his trousers he won't speak so highly  :P
 
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Offline Sarge

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2009, 04:05:29 pm »
How good is that!, anyone reading this, get on this link, this is how great players score great goals

Did ya get onto motty Sarge "what a choice goal"... that's me knew word that.....choice   :D

great pics them Sarge, where dya get them ?



By the way, if ye Dad loosens his trousers he won't speak so highly  :P
 

On google mate and its a great youtude of Ray.
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Offline Sarge

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2009, 04:11:16 pm »


If you donít stand for something you will fall for anything.

Offline xavidub

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2009, 04:13:05 pm »
Ray was my hero as a kid, everyone would go for the obvious choices when having a knock about
Kenny, Keegan, Toshack, Souness, but Ray was mine
always wanted a number 5 on me shirt but never got it, you woz lucky to have a kit in them days though.
Watching him play was a joy, just seeing that blood red shirt with the big white 5 on
is still crystal clear in me memory to this day.

I also remember listening to an interview with Bob when he was asked
which of all the players did most clubs try to sign off him, the answer was Ray of course
and as Sarge pointed out he played up front for Arsenal and we played him left mid
what a ridiculous notion that is, signing a striker and then playing him on the wing...... :P

God bless ye Ray, you were and still are, a legend.

cheers Sarge, you've made an old Kopite very happy with them photo's.

My thoughts exactly
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Offline xavidub

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2009, 04:20:00 pm »
Amazing first touch. Looking at those videos as well its so refreshing to see footballers celebrating as if they have just scored a goal in a football game, rather than just having cured cancer.
You have to try very hard to see what's going on in front of your face

Offline kavah

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2009, 07:18:20 pm »

great posts everyone,


 Sarge's you tube clip is just brilliant, can't stop smiling (  the chip at villa - I haven't seen that for a while - fucking outstanding.

and good shout Chopper, Ray was a legend. In fact I was kind of upset when we signed Johnny Barnes because I had to drop Ray from my all time LFC XI.

Did anyone else used to put loads of liniment on playing Sunday League hoping they'd end up with thighs like rays ?





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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2009, 07:41:20 pm »
Amazing first touch. Looking at those videos as well its so refreshing to see footballers celebrating as if they have just scored a goal in a football game, rather than just having cured cancer.


thats exactly what struck me .
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Offline Sarge

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2009, 08:13:49 pm »
As i say in my previous post. In the youtube clip he scores left foot, right foot and in the air. How my pre-madonna's now-a-days can do that?

Including our own.
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Offline Circa1892

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2009, 09:38:38 pm »
Wrote this years and years ago:

Ray Kennedy is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most talented players ever to represent Liverpool. His performances in our sides in the 70's under Bob Paisley were outstanding. The converted striker was one of the key factors in Liverpool's success, and it's a fair argument that without his forrays on the left wing we wouldn't have been quite the force we became. Signing at the time Shankly left wasn't the most high profile of entries for the former Arsenal man, but his performances on the pitch certainaly made people stand up and take notice. Many clubs over Europe expressed an interest in Kennedy, said by many to be the most consistent and skillful player in English football in the 70's. The words of the great Ian Callaghan when he was describing Kennedy were 'God, he was a wonderful player.' And that he was, you have to be some player to be a firm favourite with the fans at both Arsenal and Liverpool! His footballing career was nothing short of outstanding, and when he left to join Swansea in '82, the Anfield crowd had nothing but fond memories of Ray, who 15 major honours during his 8 year long spell at Anfield. After signing for Swansea, who were under the stewardship of Kennedy's former friend and teammate John Toschack, Ray's life took on a downward spiral. He was diagnosed with the neurological disease Parkinson's disease, which has also claimed boxing legend Muhammed Ali and Back to the Future Star Micheal J Fox among others. This is a disease without a cure, and as soon as the doctors made the diagnosis, Ray's career was well and truly over. To fully explain the dreadful effects of Parkinson's disease would take a very long time, but in brief this is pretty much what happens. The disease, whilst being in your blood, remains dormant until it creeps up on you, often forcing doctors to wonder just how they managed to miss it. The damage to brain cells goes on for a while before the disease really sets in, and by the time Ray was diagnosed, rougly 60% of dopamine in the basal ganglia and possibly 80% of substantia nigra cells would have been lost. The symptoms of Parkinson's are plentiful, constant joint pain, muscular rigidity, slowing of emotional and voluntary movement, postural abnormality and tremor. Just over 1% of the population of Britain are likely to pick up any trace of the disease, which makes Ray's misfortune all the worse. Since being diagnosed, Liverpool have done their bit to help Ray, although cynics have claimed that they haven't done enough. Proceeds from the match against Arsenal in 1991, as well as videos and books about Ray, such as the LFC endorsed 'Ray of Hope' haven't been able to pay for his treatment. Ray has been forced to sell all his medals in order to fund as comfortable a life as is possible, that includes the medals of 3 European Cup wins. All that is left now to remind Ray of a stunning career is his memories, however they are likely to fade. He is now a shadow of the fit and athletic winger that was seen in many stadiums across Europe, and he is hardly ever seen in public. This is the brief story of the triumps and tragedies that have been littered throughout the life of the great Ray Kennedy.

Raymond Kennedy's football career really started off at Higbury, as a centre forward at Arsenal. The Northampton man's debut came in 1969 against Oxford, before his full debut against Chelsea in a 3-0 defeat in the January of the following year. In spite of being told by Sir Stanley Matthews he wasn't good enough to make the grade at Port Vale at the age of 15, Kennedy did not give up. Imagine the willpower, being told by one of English football's all time greats you weren't good enough, but still persuing your goal. He was discovered by Arsenal talent scouts whilst working in a candy factory, and not eons after he signed his apprenticeship, he was picking up the 1970/1971 PFA Young Player of the Year Award. That wasn't his first great moment in an Arsenal shirt, that arguably came in the 1969/70 Fairs Cup a year earlier. With Arsenal being hammered by a superior Anderlecht side, Kennedy was sent on up front for his 4th senior appearance. He headed in a priceless goal to give Arsenal a 3-1 defecit to take back to England. Arsenal went on to beat Anderlecht and win their first trophy in 17 years, and their first in Europe. It's fair to say, that without Kennedy, this may not have happened. As has been previously argued, this was the turning point for Arsenal, going from a mediocure team into a European trophy winner! During the season Ray was named young player of the year, his club side Arsenal won their first double. He played for much of the season after Charlie George was injured, and after scoring 36 goals in all competitions the Geordie centre forward became a fixture in the Arsenal side, and partnered George in the infamous cup final victory over Liverpool in the same season. Kennedy was fast becoming a fans favourite at Arsenal, with his strength, touch, approach play and a powerful left foot. The 19 year old was fast becoming a tremendous player. In the famous double season, a Kennedy strike at White Hart Lane clinched the title for Arsenal, with his strike past Jennings ensuring the title went the way of Highbury rather than Elland Road, he had already achived legend status at Highbury. And after the victory over Liverpool, Kennedy had scored a personal victory, although he never mentioned it. After just one full season at Highbury, he had already won more than the man who had claimed he wasn't good enough to play football at a high level. During the next season he was a regular for England at under-23 level, and his form during Arsenal's first European Cup campaign was excellent, with Ray scoring 26 goals in all competitions, again finishing as Arsenal's top goalscorer. Despite this, Kennedy was only on the bench for the cup final against Don Revie's Leeds United, and perhaps that is one of the reason's Arsenal failed to pick up the cup that season. Kennedy's last two years at Highbury were less prolific, scoring just 24 goals in 89 appearances, although this was more to do with being in an ageing team rather than poor personal performances. At the end of the 1973/74 season, Arsenal fans were outraged at the sale of Kennedy. Liverpool manager Bill Shankly swooped to pick up the striker for a record £180,000. Although that was a great deal of money for a player then, it's not hard to see who got the best out of that deal! After scoring 71 goals in 212 Higbury appearances, as well as winning 3 major trophies, Kennedy was assured legend status on the North Bank before moving onto Anfield, with Bill Shankly finally beginning to build a top quality side again.

Kennedy's transfer to Liverpool would have been the talking point of almost any other summer in the clubs illustrious history. However, it's fair to say he almost slipped through unnoticed, in the press conference designed to announce his arrival, Liverpool also dropped a bombshell in confirming the retirement of the one and only Bill Shankly. The country, and in particular Liverpool fans were in shock, and Kenendy's arrival was only deemed worthy of 6 paragraphs in the Liverpool Echo newspaper. Kennedy spent the rest of the summer worrying whether Shankly's replacement Bob Paisley would see as much in him as Shankly had. He need not have bothered, Paisley had a worryingly good eye for talent, so he was obviously going to recognise the enormous ability and talent of Kennedy, Bob wasn't about to make the same mistake Stanley Matthews had made all those years ago. Kennedy took the place of the Welshman John Toshack on his debut at Chelsea, and he marked it with a typically clinical finish in a 3-0 victory over Liverpool's london opponents. However, Kennedy and Keegan failed to sparkle, and it wasn't long before John Toshack retained his place in Paisleys team. Although Kennedy managed to score his fair share of goals, it was fair to say he would never be able to take a place in front of either Toshack or Keegan, and he was already beginning to tire of his striking role. The turning point of his career, and perhaps the turning point of Bob Paisley's reign at Anfield came in the following season. With Paisley looking to strengthen his side's troublesome left sided midfield spot, he gained his unlikely replacement in that position by a visit to both his and Kennedy's native North East. During his visit, Paisley met up with Kennedy's old teacher, who made a point of telling Paisley that Kenendy had started out in midfield. Paisley tried Kennedy in that role in a reserves match, and after watching his complete display, it's fair to say Kennedy was never put in the reserves again! The job he did was outstanding, as he became an integral part of the most successful side in Liverpool history. His great vision, control and passing ability, as well as his power and shooting accuracy gave a new sense of balance and a whole new dimension to Liverpool's play. He quickly gained a place in the England team, and some say he was one of the best players ever to play on the left midfield for his country, although he never managed to represent his extraordinary talents in a World Cup. He had already won many honours at Anfield, including two league titles and a UEFA Cup winners medal, by the time Liverpool took on Saint Etienne at Anfield. With Liverpool trailing on aggregate, Kennedy was one of Liverpool's best players in the comeback, which was arguably the best performance in Liverpool's history. It was a typicaly fantastic Kennedy pass that sent David Fairclough through at the kop end, and you don't need to ask what happened next. From then on their was only one team going to win the competition, and Kennedy played a key role in the final victory over Borrusia Monchengladback in Rome. The arrival of Kenny Dalglish only helped Kennedy, with the touch and vision of Dalglish bringing an extra dimension to Liverpool's play, with Kennedy still a key man. By the time Dalglish's strike won Liverpool's second European Cup in 1978, Kenendy was being linked with clubs from all over Europe, with Real Madrid among many said to be watching his progress. They could watch all they wanted, because Kennedy stayed put, and was arguably the best player in English football over the whole 70's decade. The most important of Kennedy's 72 goals for Liverpool was still to come. He continued his love affair with the European Cup by scoring the decisive away goal in Munich that enabled Liverpool to go onto the final against Real Madrid. By this stage Kennedy was beginning to age quickly, this was due to the onset of Parkinson's disease, although nobody was aware of this fact at the time. He left Liverpool in the December of 1982 to join John Toshacks Swansea. His last game for Liverpool saw Kenendy score in a 2-0 victory over Brian Clough's Nottinham Forest. His career at Anfield had brought 15 major honours in just 9 years, the only trophy missing from the cabinet was the FA Cup, although Kennedy already had a winners medal from his time with Arsenal. After Kennedy left Anfield, it was to be a long time before Liverpool found an adequate replacement on the left of midfield!

Kennedy didn't last long at Swansea, and spells at Hartlepool and Sunderland in his native North East followed, before the worst day of his life. In 1987, the 35 year old Kennedy finally discovered what had been hampering his life for the last half a dozen years. He was suffering from Parkinsons disease. His career was finished the day he discovered his illness, and his private life was completely ruined. Basically Ray Kennedy was becoming a shadow of his former self. As I have already explained, the effects of the disease are plentiful and dreadful. The legend and true gentleman has suffered from years, with shaking and stiff muscles one of his many troubles. For a former proffesional sportsman to have difficulty walking without aid, and to find even the most mundane of tasks so difficult is almost heartbreaking. Perhaps a measure of the man is the fact that Kennedy's doctor had claimed that Kennedy had probably been suffering badly from the disease for almost a decade before it was diagnosed. That means that he wasn't a well man whilst running down the wing week in week out for Liverpool. If that doesn't show you a true example of bravery and heroism in football then I don't know what will. After hearing he had the disease, Kennedy was forced to sell all his medals. That included his 6 championship medals, 3 European Cup winners medals and his precious FA Cup winners medal. Many of these were bought by fans of Liverpool, with some of Kennedy's possesions bought by his former teammates for above the asking price. But in spite of these sales, Kennedy's financial status was nearly as bad as his health. In 1991, Liverpool met Arsenal in a benefit match for Kennedy in front of 18,000 fans at Highbury. The game saw Liverpool manager Graeme Souness start, with a certain Mr Dalglish donning his old number 7 jersey. That shows the esteem Kennedy was held in, the fact that the physically and emotionaly torn Dalglish still found the energy to turn out in his benefit. Although the game finished 3-1 to Liverpool, the huge story was Kennedy walking out onto the pitch. The reception he got was perhaps the loudest noise 18,000 people have ever made. But the overwhelming emotion at the sight of Kennedy was one of sadness. The memory of the strong, athletic and quick player was replaced by a gaunt and weary figure, something that brought tears to the eyes of both Kopites and Gunners alike.

So that was the story of Ray Kennedy. Needless to say, it was filled with triumph and tragedy. I think Ian Callaghan's already mentioned description was appropriate. He was perhaps the most complete midfield player of his time, and his positional play was so good, Bob Paisley noted that he could, if it was required, fill in at centre back! Now, I don't often make controversial remarks in these tribute posts, but in this one I will. Although the benefit match and the Ray of hope video were excellent gestures from the club. I feel we could and perhaps should have made more of an effort to help Kennedy through his financial nightmare in these dark times. As I've said, the benefit match at Higbury was great, but perhaps now's the time to show Kennedy the respect he is given by fans of Liverpool. Perhaps the current Liverpool and Arsenal players should participate in a tribute match at Anfield for Ray! For that is the least he deserves, that is the least the underrated player should be given. Ray Kennedy must go down as one of the best players to wear the Red of Liverpool! He's a legend on both the North Bank and the Kop, and how many people can say that?

Offline Sarge

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2009, 11:12:51 pm »
Great peice Circa1892 to a player who deserves all the pladits. Ray is never spoken in the same breath as Kenny, Rush, Liddel, Shankly and other Liverpool greats but he is and always will be in our hearts,

A True Liverpool Legend.
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Offline jaydog

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2009, 11:53:56 pm »
Wow Circa that was pretty indepth, remember Don Howe saying that when we bought him Liverpool thought they had bought a pup, took him a while to settle too.  His transformation to midfield or rather his return to midfield a masterstoke.  Do you remember when asked why he had not won more England caps as opposed to Trevor Brooking the then mainstay of the England midfield, humble as he was just said Brooking was a more skilful than him.  No petulance or strops, just did his job and what a job.  Brilliant player and a gentleman.  We had a few more too.     
« Last Edit: January 24, 2009, 11:55:39 pm by jaydog »

Offline Sarge

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2009, 12:04:12 am »

We had a few more too.    

And thats for another thread.
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Offline jaydog

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2009, 12:34:40 am »
And thats for another thread.
You never seen him play then.  Fantastic player by the way.  Another incedible thread in the offing, we have been blessed that we have had so many great memories, heroes etc to look back upon.  Am just glad I actually got to see him play and what memories they are. 
« Last Edit: January 25, 2009, 04:17:49 am by jaydog »

Offline Sarge

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2009, 12:40:12 am »
You never seen him play then.  Fantastic player by the way.  Another incedible thread in the offing, we have been blessed that we have had so many great memories, heroes etc to look back upon.  Am just glad I actually got to see him play and what memories they are. 

Yes i think we should continue this Legends style threads as we have not all seen our plyers over the history of the club, take Sam Raybould who played from 1900 - 1907,

217 Games - 124 goals.

So this is the type of thing we can do.
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Offline Terry de Niro

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2009, 01:42:12 am »
Am just glad I actually got to see him play and what memories they are. 
Ditto. What sweet left foot Ray Kennedy had and as strong as an ox as well.
Great, great player and I'm so glad to have seen him play for our club many times..

Offline jaydog

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2009, 01:45:00 am »
Sam Raybould think the term goal poacher was created for him but was a versatile player too. Billy Liddell/Albert Stubbins/Roger Hunt/Ron Yeats where do you stop so many great players.  Maybe not all so versatile yet great players and a story to tell.

Offline jaydog

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2009, 01:49:55 am »
Ditto. What sweet left foot Ray Kennedy had and as strong as an ox as well.
Great, great player and I'm so glad to have seen him play for our club many times..

Yeah, we were spolit back then!

Offline keyo

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2009, 02:27:24 am »
I always think of that goal against derby whenever his name comes up, quality.

was very young when kennedy was playing, but always remember him looking cool, head up, never flustered and always in the right place when a chance was begging....it was a while before i saw that he had been at arsenal before us, and that he played up front and looked a totally different kettle of fish, more your big strong centre forward type.....great transformation

what would you give for quality like that on our left today (or in the last 10 - 15 years)?
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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2009, 08:20:17 am »
Wrote this years and years ago:

Ray Kennedy is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most talented players ever to represent Liverpool. His performances in our sides in the 70's under Bob Paisley were outstanding. The converted striker was one of the key factors in Liverpool's success, and it's a fair argument that without his forrays on the left wing we wouldn't have been quite the force we became. Signing at the time Shankly left wasn't the most high profile of entries for the former Arsenal man, but his performances on the pitch certainaly made people stand up and take notice. Many clubs over Europe expressed an interest in Kennedy, said by many to be the most consistent and skillful player in English football in the 70's. The words of the great Ian Callaghan when he was describing Kennedy were 'God, he was a wonderful player.' And that he was, you have to be some player to be a firm favourite with the fans at both Arsenal and Liverpool! His footballing career was nothing short of outstanding, and when he left to join Swansea in '82, the Anfield crowd had nothing but fond memories of Ray, who 15 major honours during his 8 year long spell at Anfield. After signing for Swansea, who were under the stewardship of Kennedy's former friend and teammate John Toschack, Ray's life took on a downward spiral. He was diagnosed with the neurological disease Parkinson's disease, which has also claimed boxing legend Muhammed Ali and Back to the Future Star Micheal J Fox among others. This is a disease without a cure, and as soon as the doctors made the diagnosis, Ray's career was well and truly over. To fully explain the dreadful effects of Parkinson's disease would take a very long time, but in brief this is pretty much what happens. The disease, whilst being in your blood, remains dormant until it creeps up on you, often forcing doctors to wonder just how they managed to miss it. The damage to brain cells goes on for a while before the disease really sets in, and by the time Ray was diagnosed, rougly 60% of dopamine in the basal ganglia and possibly 80% of substantia nigra cells would have been lost. The symptoms of Parkinson's are plentiful, constant joint pain, muscular rigidity, slowing of emotional and voluntary movement, postural abnormality and tremor. Just over 1% of the population of Britain are likely to pick up any trace of the disease, which makes Ray's misfortune all the worse. Since being diagnosed, Liverpool have done their bit to help Ray, although cynics have claimed that they haven't done enough. Proceeds from the match against Arsenal in 1991, as well as videos and books about Ray, such as the LFC endorsed 'Ray of Hope' haven't been able to pay for his treatment. Ray has been forced to sell all his medals in order to fund as comfortable a life as is possible, that includes the medals of 3 European Cup wins. All that is left now to remind Ray of a stunning career is his memories, however they are likely to fade. He is now a shadow of the fit and athletic winger that was seen in many stadiums across Europe, and he is hardly ever seen in public. This is the brief story of the triumps and tragedies that have been littered throughout the life of the great Ray Kennedy.

Raymond Kennedy's football career really started off at Higbury, as a centre forward at Arsenal. The Northampton man's debut came in 1969 against Oxford, before his full debut against Chelsea in a 3-0 defeat in the January of the following year. In spite of being told by Sir Stanley Matthews he wasn't good enough to make the grade at Port Vale at the age of 15, Kennedy did not give up. Imagine the willpower, being told by one of English football's all time greats you weren't good enough, but still persuing your goal. He was discovered by Arsenal talent scouts whilst working in a candy factory, and not eons after he signed his apprenticeship, he was picking up the 1970/1971 PFA Young Player of the Year Award. That wasn't his first great moment in an Arsenal shirt, that arguably came in the 1969/70 Fairs Cup a year earlier. With Arsenal being hammered by a superior Anderlecht side, Kennedy was sent on up front for his 4th senior appearance. He headed in a priceless goal to give Arsenal a 3-1 defecit to take back to England. Arsenal went on to beat Anderlecht and win their first trophy in 17 years, and their first in Europe. It's fair to say, that without Kennedy, this may not have happened. As has been previously argued, this was the turning point for Arsenal, going from a mediocure team into a European trophy winner! During the season Ray was named young player of the year, his club side Arsenal won their first double. He played for much of the season after Charlie George was injured, and after scoring 36 goals in all competitions the Geordie centre forward became a fixture in the Arsenal side, and partnered George in the infamous cup final victory over Liverpool in the same season. Kennedy was fast becoming a fans favourite at Arsenal, with his strength, touch, approach play and a powerful left foot. The 19 year old was fast becoming a tremendous player. In the famous double season, a Kennedy strike at White Hart Lane clinched the title for Arsenal, with his strike past Jennings ensuring the title went the way of Highbury rather than Elland Road, he had already achived legend status at Highbury. And after the victory over Liverpool, Kennedy had scored a personal victory, although he never mentioned it. After just one full season at Highbury, he had already won more than the man who had claimed he wasn't good enough to play football at a high level. During the next season he was a regular for England at under-23 level, and his form during Arsenal's first European Cup campaign was excellent, with Ray scoring 26 goals in all competitions, again finishing as Arsenal's top goalscorer. Despite this, Kennedy was only on the bench for the cup final against Don Revie's Leeds United, and perhaps that is one of the reason's Arsenal failed to pick up the cup that season. Kennedy's last two years at Highbury were less prolific, scoring just 24 goals in 89 appearances, although this was more to do with being in an ageing team rather than poor personal performances. At the end of the 1973/74 season, Arsenal fans were outraged at the sale of Kennedy. Liverpool manager Bill Shankly swooped to pick up the striker for a record £180,000. Although that was a great deal of money for a player then, it's not hard to see who got the best out of that deal! After scoring 71 goals in 212 Higbury appearances, as well as winning 3 major trophies, Kennedy was assured legend status on the North Bank before moving onto Anfield, with Bill Shankly finally beginning to build a top quality side again.

Kennedy's transfer to Liverpool would have been the talking point of almost any other summer in the clubs illustrious history. However, it's fair to say he almost slipped through unnoticed, in the press conference designed to announce his arrival, Liverpool also dropped a bombshell in confirming the retirement of the one and only Bill Shankly. The country, and in particular Liverpool fans were in shock, and Kenendy's arrival was only deemed worthy of 6 paragraphs in the Liverpool Echo newspaper. Kennedy spent the rest of the summer worrying whether Shankly's replacement Bob Paisley would see as much in him as Shankly had. He need not have bothered, Paisley had a worryingly good eye for talent, so he was obviously going to recognise the enormous ability and talent of Kennedy, Bob wasn't about to make the same mistake Stanley Matthews had made all those years ago. Kennedy took the place of the Welshman John Toshack on his debut at Chelsea, and he marked it with a typically clinical finish in a 3-0 victory over Liverpool's london opponents. However, Kennedy and Keegan failed to sparkle, and it wasn't long before John Toshack retained his place in Paisleys team. Although Kennedy managed to score his fair share of goals, it was fair to say he would never be able to take a place in front of either Toshack or Keegan, and he was already beginning to tire of his striking role. The turning point of his career, and perhaps the turning point of Bob Paisley's reign at Anfield came in the following season. With Paisley looking to strengthen his side's troublesome left sided midfield spot, he gained his unlikely replacement in that position by a visit to both his and Kennedy's native North East. During his visit, Paisley met up with Kennedy's old teacher, who made a point of telling Paisley that Kenendy had started out in midfield. Paisley tried Kennedy in that role in a reserves match, and after watching his complete display, it's fair to say Kennedy was never put in the reserves again! The job he did was outstanding, as he became an integral part of the most successful side in Liverpool history. His great vision, control and passing ability, as well as his power and shooting accuracy gave a new sense of balance and a whole new dimension to Liverpool's play. He quickly gained a place in the England team, and some say he was one of the best players ever to play on the left midfield for his country, although he never managed to represent his extraordinary talents in a World Cup. He had already won many honours at Anfield, including two league titles and a UEFA Cup winners medal, by the time Liverpool took on Saint Etienne at Anfield. With Liverpool trailing on aggregate, Kennedy was one of Liverpool's best players in the comeback, which was arguably the best performance in Liverpool's history. It was a typicaly fantastic Kennedy pass that sent David Fairclough through at the kop end, and you don't need to ask what happened next. From then on their was only one team going to win the competition, and Kennedy played a key role in the final victory over Borrusia Monchengladback in Rome. The arrival of Kenny Dalglish only helped Kennedy, with the touch and vision of Dalglish bringing an extra dimension to Liverpool's play, with Kennedy still a key man. By the time Dalglish's strike won Liverpool's second European Cup in 1978, Kenendy was being linked with clubs from all over Europe, with Real Madrid among many said to be watching his progress. They could watch all they wanted, because Kennedy stayed put, and was arguably the best player in English football over the whole 70's decade. The most important of Kennedy's 72 goals for Liverpool was still to come. He continued his love affair with the European Cup by scoring the decisive away goal in Munich that enabled Liverpool to go onto the final against Real Madrid. By this stage Kennedy was beginning to age quickly, this was due to the onset of Parkinson's disease, although nobody was aware of this fact at the time. He left Liverpool in the December of 1982 to join John Toshacks Swansea. His last game for Liverpool saw Kenendy score in a 2-0 victory over Brian Clough's Nottinham Forest. His career at Anfield had brought 15 major honours in just 9 years, the only trophy missing from the cabinet was the FA Cup, although Kennedy already had a winners medal from his time with Arsenal. After Kennedy left Anfield, it was to be a long time before Liverpool found an adequate replacement on the left of midfield!

Kennedy didn't last long at Swansea, and spells at Hartlepool and Sunderland in his native North East followed, before the worst day of his life. In 1987, the 35 year old Kennedy finally discovered what had been hampering his life for the last half a dozen years. He was suffering from Parkinsons disease. His career was finished the day he discovered his illness, and his private life was completely ruined. Basically Ray Kennedy was becoming a shadow of his former self. As I have already explained, the effects of the disease are plentiful and dreadful. The legend and true gentleman has suffered from years, with shaking and stiff muscles one of his many troubles. For a former proffesional sportsman to have difficulty walking without aid, and to find even the most mundane of tasks so difficult is almost heartbreaking. Perhaps a measure of the man is the fact that Kennedy's doctor had claimed that Kennedy had probably been suffering badly from the disease for almost a decade before it was diagnosed. That means that he wasn't a well man whilst running down the wing week in week out for Liverpool. If that doesn't show you a true example of bravery and heroism in football then I don't know what will. After hearing he had the disease, Kennedy was forced to sell all his medals. That included his 6 championship medals, 3 European Cup winners medals and his precious FA Cup winners medal. Many of these were bought by fans of Liverpool, with some of Kennedy's possesions bought by his former teammates for above the asking price. But in spite of these sales, Kennedy's financial status was nearly as bad as his health. In 1991, Liverpool met Arsenal in a benefit match for Kennedy in front of 18,000 fans at Highbury. The game saw Liverpool manager Graeme Souness start, with a certain Mr Dalglish donning his old number 7 jersey. That shows the esteem Kennedy was held in, the fact that the physically and emotionaly torn Dalglish still found the energy to turn out in his benefit. Although the game finished 3-1 to Liverpool, the huge story was Kennedy walking out onto the pitch. The reception he got was perhaps the loudest noise 18,000 people have ever made. But the overwhelming emotion at the sight of Kennedy was one of sadness. The memory of the strong, athletic and quick player was replaced by a gaunt and weary figure, something that brought tears to the eyes of both Kopites and Gunners alike.

So that was the story of Ray Kennedy. Needless to say, it was filled with triumph and tragedy. I think Ian Callaghan's already mentioned description was appropriate. He was perhaps the most complete midfield player of his time, and his positional play was so good, Bob Paisley noted that he could, if it was required, fill in at centre back! Now, I don't often make controversial remarks in these tribute posts, but in this one I will. Although the benefit match and the Ray of hope video were excellent gestures from the club. I feel we could and perhaps should have made more of an effort to help Kennedy through his financial nightmare in these dark times. As I've said, the benefit match at Higbury was great, but perhaps now's the time to show Kennedy the respect he is given by fans of Liverpool. Perhaps the current Liverpool and Arsenal players should participate in a tribute match at Anfield for Ray! For that is the least he deserves, that is the least the underrated player should be given. Ray Kennedy must go down as one of the best players to wear the Red of Liverpool! He's a legend on both the North Bank and the Kop, and how many people can say that?

A great piece that Circa1892, it just goes to show what a player he was and what a medal haul he amassed
and to win everything that there is possible to win domestically and only missed out on the cup winners cup
to have won everything in Europe, is an amazing feat.

I'll never forget him, that big white 5, with the one arm in the air...amazing memory's

The word Hero is long since gone in football these days as there are none
there just prima donna's
but Ray is in every single sense of the word, a Hero and always will be to me.




@ Veinticinco de Mayo The way you talk to other users on this forum is something you should be ashamed of as someone who is suppose to be representing the site.
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Offline keithcun

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2009, 12:37:08 pm »
Some great memories about a great player.

I will repost this, I wrote it a few years ago.

Ray "Razor" Kennedy.


Twenty eighth of July,1951,
The life of Raymond Kennedy,had only just begun.
Northumberland the birthplace,Seaton Delaval to be exact,
Ups and downs his life certainly wouldn't lack.
A budding young footballer,the world at his feet,
And one day he'd become part of Europe's Elite.

Apprenticeship at Port Vale is where it would start,
But then came some words,that would break this boys heart.
The boss at Port Vale,none other than Stanley Matthews,
England's greatest player would be breaking the news.
"You're not good enough son for professional football",
But he wouldn't give up,this boy would walk tall.

Back home to the North East,playing for his local team,
When an Arsenal talent scout would recover his dream.
He signed as an apprentice in 1968,
He'd go on to become an Arsenal great.
His debut was against Ipswich in October '69,
But six months later would be the defining time.

It was an important game and late in the match,
Bertie Mee sent him on to see what he could snatch.
Anderlecht were winning,Arsenal three down,
Anything to help win their first Euro crown.
He wouldn't disappoint,and scored with his head,
The first leg had ended,the tie wasn't dead.
The return leg at Higbury,went all to plan,
Three nil to Arsenal,his medal collection began.
His very first season in the professional game,
A Fairs Cup winners medal he did claim.

The following season,Ray got a lucky break,
Charlie George broke his ankle,a position he'd take.
In sixty three games he scored thirty six goals,
No matter how tight the defence,Ray would find the holes.
The double year of '71,that year would make history,
What Matthews said to Kennedy,now that was a mystery.
For someone "not good enough to play professional football",
Apart from the first game,he played in them all.

The last game of the season Arsenal needed to win,
At White Hart Lane,fifty one thousand packed in.
The ball came into the box from George Armstrong,
Kennedy at this time could do nothing wrong.
He headed the ball,past Jennings in the goal,
The first half of the double was won with a stroll.

The second part of the double was another big game,
The fact they beat Liverpool was a crying shame.
The final at Wembley,the sun made it hot,
The game was remembered for Charlie George's shot.
So Ray had won a Double and young player of the year,
I'm sure Stanley Matthews was shedding a tear.

Ray was a strong striker,not known for his pace,
But he could hold the ball up,and put others in space.
His left foot was a gem,he could score with his head,
When playing up front,he filled defences with dread.
He averaged for Arsenal,more than one goal in three,
And his obvious talents other managers could see.

Bill Shankly was the losing manager in 1971,
And before he retired,one last deal would be done.
To Liverpool came Ray Kennedy for 180 grand,
The kind of money only the best could command.
So in 1974 there was a new star at Anfield,
But a bigger surprise had yet to be revealed.

In the first half of the season,Toshack was out hurt,
In stepped Ray Kennedy,to pull on his shirt.
At the Bridge,against Chelsea he scored on his debut,
Then the next game at Anfield,he scored in that too.
But after sixteen games,Toshack returned to the fore,
Ray played nine more games and scored only three more.

So the next season something had to give in,
And with Toshack and Keegan,where would Ray fit in.
Paisley had a word with Ray's former teacher,
"In the midfield" he was told he could feature.
The left of midfield would become his new role,
But would never lose his striker's eye for goal.

From that day on he made the number five shirt his,
And in the next five seasons,only five league games miss.
In that season he won the League and UEFA Cup,
And his footballing deeds earned him an England call up.
His debut was against Wales,and Kennedy did score,
After another sixteen caps he also scored two more.

In '77 he won his greatest award,
After an earlier game he deserved his reward.
St Etienne at Anfield,Fairclough scored the goal,
But it was Kennedy's pass that put him in the hole.
So a place in the final in glorious Rome,
Kennedy had helped Liverpool to bring the trophy home.

To reach his third European Cup final in '81,
Bayern Munich in the semi,had to be outdone.
Nil - nil on aggregate,seven minutes to go,
Kennedy dealt the Germans a massive blow.
A David Johnson pass,he met with his right,
The ball in the net,what a beautiful sight.
Rummenigge equalised,but it was very late on,
But Kennedy's goal ensured the job was well done.
The final in Paris,against Real Madrid from Spain,
And with Razor's help we won it again.
Kennedy on the scoresheet,but this time it's not Ray,
His namesake called Alan,the hero today.

In 1981,Ronnie Whelan came in,
Ray's Anfield demise was about to begin.
He threatened Ray's place,then made it is own,
In '82 Swansea would become his new home.
Kennedy was a player we'd always revere,
He's always won trophies,year after year.
384 games at Liverpool and he scored seventy two,
A career at the Vetchfield he'd after pursue.
Toshack the manager,signed his old friend,
But there's something inside he just couldn't mend.

While playing for Swansea he's accused of not trying,
But no-one knew the reason that was underlying.
At only thirty he was feeling worn out,
There was something wrong,of that there's no doubt.
Offloaded to Hartlepool,and retired in '84,
His majestic midfield play,we wouldn't see anymore.
A short stint at Sunderland,as an assistant coach,
But a visit to the doctor he'd have to approach.

The news from the doctor,he couldn't appease,
At only thirty five he had Parkinson's Disease.
Ray had fought the disease for the previous ten years,
And all of a sudden he'd realised his fears.
This disease had cost him his career and his health,
He had to sell all his medals to bolster his wealth.
In 1991 there was a benefit game for Ray,
Almost twenty thousand turned up at Highbury that day.
Arsenal versus Liverpool a fitting tribute,
No better person for "fighter" could the word suit.
Ray is a legend we'll never forget,
Football owes this man a great debt.
All we ask is just one more game,
To help pay for the medals bearing his name.
The fight against Parkinson's must go on,
We shouldn't give in till the battle is won.




Ray Kennedy Career Highlights.

League Champions medals AFC & LFC - 1970-71,75-76,76-77,78-79,79-80,81-82

F A Cup Winner - 1970-71 (finalist 71-72,76-77)

European Cup Winner - 1976-77,77-78,80-81

Fairs Cup Winner - 1969-70

UEFA Cup Winner - 1975-76

League Cup Winner - 1980-81

European Super Cup Winner - 1977-78 (finalist 78-79)

World Club Super Cup Finalist - 1981-82

Charity Shield Winner -  1974-75,76-77,77-78,79-80,80-81

Rothmans Young Player of the Year - 1970-71

England Caps - 17

I might have single handedly ruined Warrington's picture houses,but personally thought my pocket money was better spent at Anfield.

Offline Sarge

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2009, 03:00:53 pm »
keithcun excellent and i like the pun,

The following season,Ray got a lucky break,
Charlie George broke his ankle,a position he'd take.

 :P
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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #29 on: February 22, 2010, 11:28:41 pm »
Ray Kennedy was an "effortless", silky smooth, classy player. He was a good "inside forward" at Arsenal and joined us in the middle of his career. A master-stoke saw him play in central midfield instead of his previous forward role.

A truly great player and it's sad about his illness.
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Offline Fellaini

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #30 on: February 23, 2010, 08:25:48 am »
Ray was an outstanding player in an outstanding team. Best memory is the goal in Munich (with his right foot) after they'd held us at Anfield in the first leg of the semi in '81.

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2010, 02:57:20 pm »
Heighway to Kennedy.........goooaaalllll.

Souness to Dalglish to Kennedy.........gooaaalllll.

"it looks so simple".


What a class player. Everything he did looked so easy. He was strong and had a great shot.

What would he be worth today........certainly as much as Stevie G.

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Offline voodoo billy

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #32 on: February 23, 2010, 03:21:01 pm »
Wrote this article for another forum, a couple of years back.  Some of it may be slightly out of date now, but the basic premise still stands, I think.


Ray Kennedy - Some Player

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is the second leg of the 1981 European Cup semi-final. The place, Munichís imposing Olympic Stadium. With just seven minutes of a bruising contest remaining neither Liverpool nor Bayern have been able to construct the moment of magic that such occasions demand, the stroke of genius that catapults its creator into immortality and cements a legacy that any opportunistic politician could only dream of.

The reality is that Bayern look the most likely winners if, as seems inevitable, the match is to go to extra time. Already missing half of their regular back four, Liverpool have been forced to endure the early loss of talismanic genius Kenny Dalglish, kicked out of the tie within the first ten minutes, and have seen his replacement, rookie winger Howard Gayle, run himself into the ground before being similarly replaced. Add to this the fact that Graeme Souness and David Johnson are carrying injuries that have reduced them to little more than passenger status and you can perhaps be forgiven for thinking that the pre-match taunts of Bayern general Paul Breitner are about to be borne out.

With a sense of desperation growing amongst the travelling Red army, a heavily-limping Johnson collects the ball on the right touchline and surveys his options. A low cross aimed roughly in the area of the penalty spot seems speculative at best, until a burly white-shirted figure appears, unnoticed by all, defenders and onlookers alike. With an air of casualness that belies the importance of the occasion, the ball is chested down and unerringly dispatched, right-footed, into the corner of the Bayern net. Despite the inconvenience of a last-gasp German equaliser itís enough to send Liverpool into their third European Cup Final. Itís as if the scorer felt the urgent hand of destiny pressing on his shoulder, shook it warmly and took it to his local for a pint of mild and a bag of dry roasted.

That, my friends, was typical of Ray Kennedy.

Itís a sobering thought that, unless youíre well into your 30ís, you probably wonít have witnessed Ray Kennedy perform in a Liverpool shirt. Iím reminded of my Dad, constantly drilling into me the fact that Billy Liddell was the greatest player heíd ever seen, when all I wanted to do was play on my Space Hopper or sort out the Ďswapsí from my Argentina í78 football sticker collection. But, just as I was always secretly grateful to the old fella for widening my football education, so it now falls to me to keep my sons aware of our clubís history and its glittering supporting cast.

And few have glittered more than Ray.

Having been an integral part of Arsenalís double-winning team in 1971, it was something of a surprise when Ray Kennedy, still only 23 years old, was signed by Liverpool in 1974. It was, however, even more of a surprise when the man who signed him, the great Bill Shankly, announced his resignation on the same day. It fell to Shanklyís successor, Bob Paisley, to nurture and direct Kennedyís subsequent career. In one of the most startling examples of footballing insight and intuition, Paisley converted the lumbering, slightly clumsy centre-forward into a left-sided midfielder of such poise, balance, vision and artistry that he was to become, in Bobís own words, ď...simply one of the best footballers Iíve ever seenĒ. From someone who had been involved in the game since the 1930ís and had seen all of the gameís greatest exponents this was a fitting tribute.

Kennedy was that rarest of wide players in that he could never be classed as a winger yet he offered his team genuine width and unmatched balance. His background as a striker ensured that he was instinctively aware of the best positions to take up in the opposition penalty area and his ability to ghost in unnoticed at the far post to finish off another Liverpool attack became a familiar sight in the second half of the 1970ís. Strong in the air, with a proverbial can-opener of a left foot and a shot of immense power, itíd be folly to estimate his worth in todayís inflated transfer market. But given the amount paid for the likes of Michael Carrick and Owen Hargreaves, a conservative estimate at Kennedyís value would surely start at around £30 million, folly or not.

As his record of 72 goals in 393 games for Liverpool suggests, Ray never really lost his goal-scoring instinct. Many of these came in matches of real significance, such as the aforementioned winner against Bayern Munich. I can still picture his 25 yard rocket in the 1976 UEFA Cup Final against FC Brugges which was the first step to overturning a 2-0 deficit; the decisive third against Wolves which won us the title the same year; the final goal in the 3-0 FA Cup semi-final victory over Everton in 1977; the vital strike in the historic tie with St. Etienne, prior to setting up Faircloughís legendary winner.

Kennedy went on to become a member of arguably the greatest midfield quartet ever to grace this countryís football pitches. Souness, McDermott, Case and Kennedy had everything you could ever ask from your engine room, and they were hugely influential as Liverpool took their domination of the domestic game to new levels, swatting all before them with an irresistible combination of artistry, power, elegance and commitment.

By the early Ď80ís it was clear that Ray Kennedyís powers were on the wane. But the rapidity of his decline took everyone, including Ray himself, by surprise. Just nine months after that memorable night in Munich, and after losing his place in the Liverpool team to the emerging Ronnie Whelan, he was signed by former team-mate John Toshack, who had guided Swansea towards the top of the First Division. But theirs was not to be a happy marriage, with Toshack eventually accusing Kennedy of not trying following a series of lacklustre displays. The truth was infinitely more distressing. For Ray Kennedy was suffering from Parkinsonís disease, the same affliction that would also fell Muhammad Ali, although at this stage neither he nor anyone else was yet aware of it. The reality was that he had probably been affected by Parkinsonís for at least five years, putting his achievements at the heart of the Liverpool machine into startling perspective.

Before reaching his 33rd birthday Kennedyís physical deterioration forced him to retire; it was a further two years before his condition was diagnosed. A disease that would have a devastating impact for the average person acquired tragic proportions for a professional athlete, whose health and fitness was his very lifeblood. The fall-out for Ray has been shattering. His personal life has been torn apart, he is confined to his home on an almost permanent basis, he has been forced to sell his entire medal collection in order to fund the treatment and care he requires, and his condition, sadly, continues to worsen. An emotional benefit match between Liverpool and Arsenal took place in 1991, but the proceeds raised have long since been accounted for and there has been little mention of Ray Kennedy in the public domain in the last 15 years.

Given the absence of meaningful initiatives from within official circles, it has fallen to a group of determined and resourceful Liverpool supporters to attempt to provide practical support to a stricken idol. The ĎRay of Hopeí Appeal has been established in an attempt to offer the financial assistance so crucial to a man whose income has disappeared, who has been left behind in the stampede to wring every last cent out of a game which now more than ever appears little more than an opportunity for feverish corporate greed. Numerous activities and social events have been arranged, the intention being to raise a sum of money that would help make Rayís everyday existence as comfortable as possible. It is to be sincerely hoped that the efforts of the organisers are richly rewarded and that genuine football supporters, irrespective of tribal allegiance, support a cause that is as worthy as it is upsetting.

Iím surely not alone in thinking that, regardless of the uncertainty surrounding ownership of the club and the obvious financial implications, Liverpool F.C. could be seen to take an active lead in providing some form of support for one of its fallen legends? If nothing else, and in purely cynical terms, it would certainly be an effective PR exercise. And if anyone deserves to benefit from Liverpoolís ongoing status as a footballing super-power then surely itís someone who had such a significant role to play in laying the foundations of its continued success?

Someone who could justifiably be described as the ĎPlayer of the Ď70sí?

Someone who Iím proud to say I saw at the peak of his thrilling powers?

The last word, as ever, should go to Shanks, the man responsible for bringing Ray to Anfield. When asked in later years for his opinion of his final signing, the great man had no doubts: ďRay Kennedy is some player.Ē And you know what? As always, he was right.

Offline Sarge

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #33 on: February 23, 2010, 04:11:08 pm »
Top stuff voodoo billy.
If you donít stand for something you will fall for anything.

Offline stockdam

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Re: Liverpool Legend's Part 2 - Ray Kennedy. Moments/Memories.
« Reply #34 on: February 23, 2010, 04:30:22 pm »
Thanks for that tribute voodoo.

It would be nice if the club helped out Ray. To put it into perspective; if it wasn't for Ray and others like him we would not have the supporter base we have. Every single League Championship and every single European Cup brought many, many new supporters and more revenue. Ray has paid his signing fee many times over.......maybe the club should say thanks a bit more.



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