Ray Kennedy was an Arsenal striker who scored 71 goals in 212 appearances over the past five years and was part of the team that won the 1970/71 league and FA Cup in his first full season as a professional A key part of the double crown. Kennedy arrived at Anfield on 12 July 1974, but was completely overshadowed on the same day by the decision of Bill Shankly, who had signed him from Arsenal, to step down as manager with immediate effect. Shankly was pleased with his final assignment as manager: “There is no doubt that Kennedy will do well for Liverpool,” he told the media.
“He’s big, he’s brave, he’s strong. His commitment means we now have depth we’ve never had before. Kennedy’s going to cause a lot of trouble for the defense. He’s going all the way and he’s at the top of my wanted list. Maybe they’ll say I’m here The last thing a club did was sign a great new player.” Kennedy was physically strong, which impressed Shankly when he was still close to Melwood. “I saw him in training and he looked good. He reminded me of Rocky Marciano.” Kennedy has scored in each of Paisley’s first three games for Liverpool, while the suspended substitute Keegan’s strike partner Phil Bullsma also scored.
Kennedy’s eight goals in his first 13 games was no mean feat, but his two goals in his next 11 games were less impressive. Toshack has rekindled his partnership with Keegan after his planned move to Leicester fell through. Kennedy returned to the starting lineup in February but failed to finish in the remaining nine games of the season. Five goals in 25 league appearances is a meager return for the young striker, who has such a solid reputation in London and has been linked with a move to Wolves.
Kennedy got off to an underwhelming start to the next season, missing the starting lineup for six weeks following an injury to Peter Cormack. The Daily Mail was concerned about his performance when Kennedy replaced him on the left side of midfield against Middlesbrough on 1 November: “Poor Kennedy looked like a very passing player. In the left half, the nimble Armstrong, Souness and Mills were the loyal staff, outnumbering Callahan. Paisley didn’t play him on a whim: “An old friend of mine told me that Ray was going to Arsenal before he went to Arsenal. Hit deeper. Kennedy scored twice in the ensuing 6-0 win over Real Sociedad and twice in the following match 4. The formerly sluggish striker found new life in his new position. The move was so successful that Cormac, who had played in the position for the past two seasons, was immediately knocked out.
Kennedy made the No. 5 jersey his own, eventually earning England recognition in 1976. By the end of the season, he had already won the league title and a UEFA Cup medal in the Arsenal era. He missed just five top-flight games over the next five seasons and won three European Cup winners’ medals.
His success at Liverpool has earned him nearly 20 England caps, in addition to his six caps in Arsenal’s Under-23s as a youngster. He also contributed a staggering 49 goals for the Reds in all competitions during this astonishing five-year span, with his movement from midfield to goalkeeper earning him almost as much as his keen vision and passing ability Many goals.