Ray Kennedy : biography
Raymond Kennedy (born 28 July 1951) is an English former football player who won every domestic honour in the game with Arsenal and Liverpool in the 1970s. He played as both a midfielder and a forward, and scored 109 goals in 498 league games; and also won 17 caps for England, scoring three international goals.
Rejected by Port Vale, he eventually turned professional with Arsenal in 1968. He spent the next six years with the club, helping them to a League and FA Cup Double in 1971. He also won a Fairs Cup medal, and a league and FA Cup runners-up medal before signing for Liverpool for a £180,000 fee in 1974. He spent the next eight years with the club, helping them to five league titles, three European Cup triumphs, as well as trophies in the UEFA Cup, Super Cup, and League Cup, and an additional four Charity Shield victories. During this time he also added a runners-up medal in the league, FA Cup, League Cup, Super Cup, and World Club Championship to his trophy cabinet. Sold on to Swansea for £160,000 in 1982, he added a Welsh Cup winners medal to his collection before moving on to Hartlepool in 1983. He retired from the game in 1984 at the age of 32, having already started to feel the effects of Parkinson’s disease.
- Football League First Division (1): 1970–71
- FA Cup (1): 1970–71
- Fairs Cup (1): 1969–70
- Football League First Division (5): 1975–76, 1976–77, 1979–79, 1979–80, 1981–82
- League Cup (1): 1980–81
- FA Charity Shield (4): 1976, 1977, 1978, 1981
- European Cup (3): 1976–77, 1977–78, 1980–81
- UEFA Cup (1): 1975–76
- UEFA Super Cup (1): 1977
- Swansea City
- Welsh Cup (1): 1982–83
Kennedy won his first of 17 caps for England as a left sided midfielder. He never played as an orthodox centre forward again. Kennedy though was forced to compete with Trevor Brooking for the left midfield role, and believed England manager Ron Greenwood favoured his old West Ham protege Brooking. The Liverpool man also believed that his influential old Liverpool colleague and then England skipper, Kevin Keegan, preferred Brooking in the side, and these two factors played a large part in Kennedy informing Greenwood he no longer wished to play for England in late 1980.
Don Revie gave Kennedy his first cap on 24 March 1976 in a friendly with Wales at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, Kennedy scored the opening goal as England won the game 2–1.
Kennedy was spotted by a scout for Arsenal, who signed him in 1968. A year later he made his first team debut on 29 September 1969, against Glentoran in the 1969–70 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup; that season Arsenal progressed to the competition’s final and the young Kennedy had a starring role, coming on as a substitute in the first leg, with Arsenal losing 3–1 to Anderlecht, Kennedy scored a crucial late goal. Arsenal completed the comeback in the second leg with a 3–0 win at Highbury, and won 4–3 on aggregate; it was their first European trophy.
Kennedy had only played six times in 1969–70, but the following season (1970–71) he only missed one game in all competitions, as part of the Arsenal side which became only the second in the 20th century to win the coveted Double of League Championship and FA Cup. A tight, dramatic finale to the title race saw Kennedy score the only goal of the game against Arsenal’s fiercest rivals Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane to secure the title for Arsenal, their first since 1952–53. Five days later, Arsenal beat Liverpool 2–1 after extra time to win the FA Cup. Kennedy didn’t score in the final, but did end the season with 27 goals, making him the club’s top scorer.
Arsenal returned to Wembley to defend the FA Cup the following season but lost 1–0 to Leeds United; Kennedy came on as a substitute for John Radford but was unable to net the equaliser; he still finished as Arsenal’s top scorer for 1971–72, scoring 19 goals. For the next two seasons he continued to be a regular for Arsenal, scoring consistently (and finishing as top scorer again in 1973–74) but did not win another trophy as the Double-winning side was slowly broken up.