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Three time European Cup with Liverpool winner Ray Kennedy dies

Liverpool and Arsenal legend Ray Kennedy has died at the age of 70.  The former striker-turned-m...



Liverpool and Arsenal legend Ray Kennedy has died at the age of 70. 

The former striker-turned-midfielder was diagnosed with Parkinson's back in 1984 while still an active footballer.

During an incredible playing career, Kennedy won three European Cups as part of Bob Paisley's Liverpool. Five League titles were also won during his time at Anfield, as well as the UEFA Cup in 1976.

Kennedy was no pauper during his time at Anfield, helping them win the double in 1971 which was completed - ironically - with a 2-1 win over Liverpool on a sweltering day at Wembley.

Kennedy's form would fluctuate in the three years following that '71 peak, but not enough to prevent Liverpool from shelling out a then club record fee of £200,000 in July of 1974.

His signing came on the same day that Bill Shankly announced his retirement as Liverpool manager.

"There is no doubt Kennedy will do a good job for Liverpool," Shankly stated.

"He is big, brave and strong. His signing means that we now have the greatest strength in depth that we have ever had.

"Kennedy will cause plenty of trouble to defences. He fights all the way and he was at the top of my list of my wanted men.

"Maybe it will be said that one of the last things I did at this club was a to sign a great new player."

Kennedy would repay Shankly's faith, and then some.

 

He was initially deployed as a striker by Bob Paisley, but could not break up the partnership of John Toshack and Kevin Keegan for long.

And as he began to become frustrated at Anfield, an injury to Peter Cormack paved a new way forward.

Kennedy would make the number '5' shirt his own for the next five seasons, until the breakthrough of Ronnie Whelan.

He was a key cog in the team that claimed the League and UEFA Cup double in '76. A year later in Rome, he helped deliver the Holy Grail as Liverpool beat Borussia Monchengladbach to win a first European Cup.

A year later, with Graeme Souness next to him in midfield, Liverpool retained the trophy with a win over FC Bruges at Wembley.

Kennedy's eye for a pass and knack for a crucial goal helped cement Liverpool's status as the dominant force of the late-70's.

They won four Leagues in five years, and by the time Kennedy departed for Swansea in 1981, he'd amassed 393 appearances and 72 goals for Paisley's side.

Kennedy also started the 1981 European Cup final in Paris, with Real Madrid beaten by a late goal from his namesake, Alan.

He'd reunite with Toshack at Swansea, with Bob Paisley later writing of Kennedy, "Ray's contribution to Liverpool's achievements was enormous and his consistency remarkable.

?So much so, in fact, that on the rare occasions he missed a match his absence was felt deeply simply because he was a midfield power house with tremendous vision and knowledge of the game.

"In my view he was one of Liverpool's greatest players and probably the most underrated."

Less than three years after his Anfield departure, Kennedy was diagnosed with Parkinson's at the age of just 35. At the time he was player-manager at Cypriot side Pezoporikos, but saw his playing days ultimate ended by the disease.

Away from the pitch, his personal life deteriorated with his wife Jennifer leaving him after a violent incident in 1987.

Despite his contributions to a superb Liverpool side, Kennedy only won 17 England caps.

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