Ray Clemence and Sammy Lee have paid tribute to their friend and team-mate Emlyn Hughes, who has passed away.
Ray Clemence, The FA’s National Goalkeeping Coach, has today paid a warm tribute to Emlyn Hughes, a man he played alongside for both club and country and a friend for almost 30 years.
Hughes, who passed away today, signed for Liverpool in 1967, just a few months before Clemence and went on to become captain of the club, play for his country, and be oneof the most familiar and well-loved sports personalities in England.
"They used to call him ‘Crazy Horse’ at Liverpool," said Ray. "He just had this boundless energy and enthusiasm. As a player he was incredibly adaptable.
"He came to the club as a midfielder, played left-back for England and ended up as centre-back for Liverpool.
"As a captain, he lifted the European Cup in 1977. His enthusiasm drove us on as a team. He expected and demanded the best from his team.
"After playing, his time on A Question of Sport was very successful and everyone will always remember the occasion when he put his arm around Princess Anne…and got away with it! Not many people could do that.
"We had a reunion at Liverpool last year and, although you could see that Emlyn had had the operation to remove the tumour, he was his normal bubbly self so everyone was quite hopeful.
"Today our thoughts go out his whole family. He will be very sadly missed."
Sammy Lee, The FA’s National Coach and winner of three League Championships and two European Cups, grew up idolising Emlyn Hughes and then went on to play alongside him.
“My first memory of Emlyn was in 1973,” he said. “I was in the Park End Stand at Goodison with all the other Liverpool fans for a Merseyside derby.
"It looked like it was going to be a 0-0 draw and then Emlyn roared onto the scene to score two goals, to win it 2-0. Those leggy strides of his were so distinctive.
“Then, a few years later, I
was lucky enough to know Emlyn as a player. I was a youngster with Liverpool
and we went on a summer tour to Dubai.
"He took me aside to give me some advice and told me to enjoy myself and to keep my feet on the ground. The ethos of hard work that he gave to me has stuck with me ever since.
“He was part of an era for Liverpool that I idolised.
"People like Ian St. John, Tommy Smith, Ian Callaghan - they were an eclectic mix who all had their own opinions but on the field they were part of a collective unit. That was what characterised them.
“Bill Shankly, Joe Fagan and Bob Paisley all believed in the value of exposing young players to experienced professionals and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn
from someone like Emlyn. His words will always stay with me.”
Emlyn Hughes' Playing Career
The legendary Liverpool and Wolves defender was capped 62 times for England, initially against Holland in an Amsterdam friendly in 1969. He was the only player to feature for the national team in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.
He effectively replaced Bobby Moore as England’s skipper in 1974 but with England missing out on qualification for three consecutive major tournaments, Emlyn didn’t have the chance to play in a World Cup or European Championship final tournament.
Emlyn, 57 this year, began as a young player with Blackpool and was snapped up by Bill Shankly for Liverpool when he was still a teenager. He became their inspirational captain.
He made nearly 500 League appearances for the Reds and won four League Championships, two European Cups, two UEFA Cups and the FA Cup with their all-conquering side of the ‘70s.
After 12 fantastic years at Anfield he went on to play at the top level for Wolves, winning the League Cup, and then for Rotherham United (who he also managed), Hull City, Mansfield Town and Swansea City.
He became a TV personality and will be particularly remembered for his appearances on the very popular A Question of Sport programme.