Ray Kennedy, the man whose header won Arsenal the league title at White Hart Lane in 1971, has passed away aged 70.
The striker, who went on to enjoy a trophy-laden stint at Liverpool between 1974-1982, had suffered from Parkinson’s in the latter stages of his career and throughout the rest of his life.
Kennedy made his Gunners’ debut as an 18-year-old and didn’t take long to leave an indelible mark on the club’s history, scoring the goal that reduced the deficit against Anderlecht in the first leg of the 1970 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final. While Arsenal lost 3-1 in Belgium that night, a 3-0 win at Highbury secured the club’s first European honour and proved to be a springboard for the squad’s ‘Double’ success the following season.
Kennedy scored 26 goals in all competitions as the Gunners secured a first league title in 18 years and appeared in every game of the FA Cup run that ended with a 2-1 win over Liverpool at Wembley just fives days after his iconic goal at Sp*rs.
Ray Kennedy ❤️
For 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 goal and for so much more, we thank you 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Jb3SB2B0QK
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 30, 2021
In total, he scored 71 goals in 212 appearances for Arsenal before joining Liverpool for a club-record £200,000 on the day Bill Shankley left Anfield. Under Bob Paisley, he won five league titles, three European Cups, the UEFA Cup and the League Cup.
We are mourning legendary former player Ray Kennedy, who has passed away at the age of 70.
The thoughts of everybody at Liverpool Football Club are with Ray’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time.
Rest in peace Ray, 1951-2021
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) November 30, 2021
Ray also played 17 times for England before winding down his career at Swansea, Hartlepool and Cypriot side Pezoporikos. By the time he reached non-league Ashington, he was already coming to terms with his Parkinson’s diagnosis.
Retiring from football in the grip of a long-term degenerative disease took a serious toll on Kennedy’s circumstances and he was thankful that Arsenal and Liverpool arranged a friendly to raise money to help cover his medical expenses.
On 27th April 1991, he was applauded onto the pitch by a packed Highbury crowd and both sets of players; a fitting moment for a man who gave so much to both clubs.
Our thoughts are with Ray’s family and friends at this time.