Neil "Razor" Ruddock (born 9 May 1968) is an English former professional footballer and television personality who is a club director at Enfield.

Neil Ruddock
Personal information
Date of birth (1968-05-09) 9 May 1968 (age 55)
Place of birth Wandsworth, England
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[1]
Position(s) Centre back
Team information
Current team
Enfield (director)
Youth career
1984–1986 Millwall
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1985–1986 Millwall 0 (0)
1986–1988 Tottenham Hotspur 9 (0)
1988–1989 Millwall 2 (1)
1989–1992 Southampton 107 (9)
1992–1993 Tottenham Hotspur 38 (3)
1993–1998 Liverpool 115 (11)
1998Queens Park Rangers (loan) 7 (0)
1998–2000 West Ham United 42 (2)
2000–2001 Crystal Palace 20 (2)
2001–2003 Swindon Town 15 (1)
2015 Wellingborough Whitworth 0 (0)
Total 355 (29)
International career
1989 England U21 4 (0)
1994 England B 1 (0)
1994 England 1 (0)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

As a player he was a central defender from 1986 to 2003, and was voted the 17th "hardest footballer of all time".[2][3] He made his debut at Millwall, having been associated with the club since the age of 13, and also represented Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton, Liverpool, West Ham United, Crystal Palace, Queens Park Rangers and Swindon Town during a professional career spanning 17 years. He was capped once by England, in 1994.

Ruddock came out of retirement in 2015, aged 46, to play for United Counties League side Wellingborough Whitworth. He has since appeared on a variety of television shows including I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! and Celebrity MasterChef.

Club career edit

Early career edit

Ruddock began his career at Millwall, before signing for Tottenham Hotspur in 1986. He broke his leg on his Tottenham debut against Liverpool and made only 11 appearances for Spurs, his only goal coming in a 2–1 defeat to third tier Port Vale in the 1987–88 FA Cup.[4] In the summer of 1988 Ruddock rejoined Millwall.[5]

Southampton edit

Ruddock joined Southampton in February 1989, in a £200,000 transfer from Millwall.[6] A rugged, uncompromising defender, he soon became popular with the Southampton fans especially after confidently scoring a penalty against Newcastle United on 1 April in only his sixth game for the club, thus helping the "Saints" earn their first victory in 18 matches and start Southampton on a climb away from the relegation zone. His goal celebration after the 89th-minute penalty became known as the "Ruddock stomp". Ruddock missed his next two penalties, allowing Matt Le Tissier to take over for the following season.[7]

Despite early disciplinary problems at The Dell, Ruddock's talents as a confident, left-footed defender earned him England Under-21 honours. Powerful in the air, he could tackle strongly but was also able to bring the ball forward out of defence.[6]

In the 1991–92 season, Ruddock was a member of the Southampton side that reached the final of the Zenith Data Systems Cup, where they were beaten in extra time 3–2 by Nottingham Forest.[8]

After three years on the south coast, he was enticed back to Tottenham by Terry Venables in May 1992, with the tribunal setting the transfer fee at a "ridiculous" £750,000.[6]

Liverpool edit

In July 1993, Ruddock was signed by Liverpool from Tottenham Hotspur on a £2.5 million transfer.[9] While at Liverpool, Ruddock was famously involved in an on-field scuffle with Manchester United star Eric Cantona. Ruddock responded to Cantona's taunts about his weight by turning down the Frenchman's collar.[10] In 1993, he was absolved of fracturing Peter Beardsley's jaw with an elbow in a testimonial match. Beardsley contemplated legal action on the grounds that Ruddock acted deliberately, but later decided to withdraw charges.[11] In 1996, Ruddock's tackle on Andrew Cole of Manchester United in a reserve game at Anfield left the player with two broken legs, and Ruddock claimed innocence, while Cole said he believed Ruddock did not intend harm.[12] However, in a 2010 interview with Talksport, he jokingly refers to the incident as "not big, and not clever", adding "but it was great", and that "I didn't mean to break both of his legs if I'm honest, I only meant to break one".[13]

Arguably his finest game for Liverpool came on 20 January 1996, when he scored twice for them in a 5–0 home league win over Leeds United.[14]

At Liverpool, Ruddock was also part of the squad of the 1990s under Roy Evans, known infamously as the "Spice Boys", that included the likes of David James, Robbie Fowler, Jamie Redknapp, Jason McAteer, Steve McManaman and Stan Collymore, but left in 1998 when new coach Gérard Houllier joined.[15]

West Ham United edit

In July 1998, Ruddock moved to West Ham United for a fee of £300,000 making his debut on 15 August 1998 in a 1–0 away win against Sheffield Wednesday.[16] In October 1999 whilst playing for West Ham, Ruddock was also involved in a bust-up with Arsenal's Patrick Vieira, with Vieira receiving a six-match ban and a £30,000 fine after spitting at Ruddock after some verbal sparring between the two.[17]

In 56 games for West Ham, he scored three goals, was booked 14 times and sent-off once, in December 1998, in a 4–0 away defeat to Leeds United, for a dangerous tackle on Harry Kewell. The Hammers finished fifth in the Premier League that season – their highest finish for 13 years – and qualified for the UEFA Cup to end a 19-year absence from European competitions.[18]

Swindon Town edit

In 2000, Ruddock moved to Crystal Palace on a free transfer, spending one season there before signing for Division Two side Swindon Town. He was also accused by Crystal Palace chairman, Simon Jordan in November 2005, of "taking the team out and getting them wasted when we were fighting relegation".[19] He scored twice for Swindon, with goals against Colchester in the league[20] and Hartlepool in the FA Cup.[21] Relations turned sour when Ruddock refused to quit after being advised to do so by a specialist; during a period of time where the club was in serious financial difficulties. The club responded by appointing Steve Coppell as assistant manager and taking Ruddock's coaching duties away. The board eventually stopped paying Ruddock's wages in an attempt to drive him out. He took the club to an employment tribunal and in December 2002, received £57,000, representing money lost in wages and loyalty payments, with an agreement to terminate his contract as player/coach.[22]

Wellingborough Whitworth edit

In January 2015, Ruddock came out of retirement at the age of 46 years, to sign for United Counties League side Wellingborough Whitworth.[23]

Coaching career edit

In August 2018, Ruddock joined the coaching team of Essex Senior League side Enfield.[24] In June 2020 he became a club director.[25]

International career edit

Ruddock won four caps for the England Under-21 squad and one in 1994 for England B when he captained the team against Ireland B at Anfield. On 16 November 1994, he won his only senior cap for England, playing in a friendly against Nigeria when Terry Venables was the national team's coach.[26]

Television career edit

In 2004, he appeared on the third series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!.[27] After his appearance, he recorded a charity single, a version of "Jungle Rock", with fellow contestants Lord Brocket, Peter Andre and Mike Read, performing as the Jungle Boys.[28]

In 2006, he was involved in the television programme Razor Ruddock's Pass & Move Soccer School where children released by academies were coached by Ruddock.[29]

In 2007, he appeared in Celebrity Wife Swap UK (Series 10 Episode 1), going to live with English singer and television personality Pete Burns, while wife Leah went to live with Burns' partner Michael Simpson.[30]

In 2006, Ruddock helped produce Football Saved My Life a reality sports TV show for Bravo which attempted to change the lives of 15 dysfunctional men through their involvement with football.[27]

In November 2011, he appeared in James May's Man Lab on BBC Two, coaching James May on how to score a penalty kick in front of 20,000 Germans at Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen. James May missed the penalty.[31] He appeared again in April 2013 as a member of the Manlab team representing China at the Rock, Paper, Scissors world championships.[32] In 2019 Ruddock appeared on BBC's Celebrity Masterchef Series 14 where he reached the final three.[33]

In 2019 and 2020, Ruddock featured in both seasons of ITV show Harry's Heroes, which featured former football manager Harry Redknapp attempting to get a squad of former England international footballers back fit and healthy for a game against Germany legends.[34]

Personal life edit

Ruddock was given the nickname "Razor" by teammates after they claimed to have seen the unrelated boxer Donovan Ruddock billed as "Razor Ruddock" in a boxing match at White Hart Lane;[35][unreliable source?] however, Donovan Ruddock never boxed at White Hart Lane during his career.

In 2011, Ruddock declared bankruptcy. On 25 September 2014, he was featured in an episode of the Channel 5 programme Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! where he was approached by High Court enforcement agents who were seeking to collect an alleged unpaid bill to a dog kennel of £3,000. During the encounter, Ruddock's wife used expletives while throwing water on the enforcement agents.[36]

In 2020, Ruddock confirmed that he had been fitted with a pacemaker.[37] He is reported to have been 'technically dead' during the operation to fit the pacemaker.[38]

Career statistics edit

Club edit

Source:[39]

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Millwall 1984–85 Third Division 0 0 0 0 0 0 4[a] 1 4 1
1985–86 Second Division 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1 4 1
Tottenham Hotspur 1986–87 First Division 4 0 1 0 0 0 5 0
1987–88 First Division 5 0 1 1 0 0 6 1
Total 9 0 2 1 0 0 11 1
Millwall 1988–89 First Division 2 1 0 0 2 3 2[b] 0 6 4
Southampton 1988–89 First Division 13 3 13 3
1989–90 First Division 29 3 1 1 6 0 36 4
1990–91 First Division 35 3 3 1 4 1 2[b] 0 44 5
1991–92 First Division 30 0 6 1 5 0 4[b] 0 45 1
Total 107 9 10 3 15 1 6 0 138 13
Tottenham Hotspur 1992–93 Premier League 38 3 5 0 4 0 47 3
Liverpool 1993–94 Premier League 39 3 2 0 5 1 46 4
1994–95 Premier League 37 2 7 0 8 0 52 2
1995–96 Premier League 20 5 2 0 4 0 2[c] 0 28 5
1996–97 Premier League 17 1 0 0 2 0 3[d] 0 22 1
1997–98 Premier League 2 0 0 0 1 0 1[c] 0 4 0
Total 115 11 11 0 20 1 6 0 152 12
Queens Park Rangers (loan) 1997–98 First Division 7 0 7 0
West Ham United 1998–99 Premier League 27 2 2 0 1 0 30 2
1999–2000 Premier League 15 0 1 0 4 0 6[e] 1 26 1
Total 42 2 3 0 5 0 6 1 56 3
Crystal Palace 2000–01 First Division 20 2 1 0 5 1 26 3
Swindon Town 2001–02 Second Division 15 1 2 1 1 0 1[a] 0 19 2
Career total 355 29 34 5 52 6 25 2 466 42
  1. ^ a b Appearances in Football League Trophy
  2. ^ a b c Appearances in Full Members' Cup
  3. ^ a b Appearance(s) in UEFA Cup
  4. ^ Appearances in UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
  5. ^ Three appearances and one goal in UEFA Cup, three in UEFA Intertoto Cup

Honours edit

Southampton

Liverpool

West Ham United

References edit

  1. ^ Dunk, Peter, ed. (1987). Rothmans Football Yearbook 1987–88. London: Queen Anne Press. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-356-14354-5.
  2. ^ "Julian Dicks and Neil Ruddock above Liverpool legend Tommy Smith in 'hardest player' vote". Liverpool Daily Post. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  3. ^ "Ruddock erases 'hard' reputation". The Daily Telegraph. London. 18 September 2000. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Port Vale: Look out Spurs, the BBC are to show one of Vale's greatest games". Stoke Sentinel. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2016.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Player profile: Neil Ruddock". lfchistory.net. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (2003). In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology Publishing. p. 575. ISBN 0-9534474-3-X.
  7. ^ In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. p. 205.
  8. ^ In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. p. 301.
  9. ^ White, Clive (21 July 1993). "Ruddock move finally completed: Souness secures defensive reinforcement while Forest rue tribunal fee". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  10. ^ McDonnell, Daniel (22 January 2015). "Neil Ruddock: Roy Keane is a pussy – but players fear his management style". Irish Independent. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  11. ^ Spall, Leo (24 January 2001). "Ruddock: I'm public enemy No1". Evening Standard. London. Retrieved 22 August 2010.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Cole, Andy (22 October 2009). "The sign says 'This is Anfield'. The heart says 'This is it. This is what it's all about'". The Independent on Sunday. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  13. ^ "Neil Ruddock on breaking Andy Cole's legs (Video)". Archived from the original on 13 December 2021. Retrieved 22 August 2010 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ "Liverpool Results 1995–96". Liverweb. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  15. ^ Bennett, Dan (12 November 2019). "Names of the Nineties: Neil Ruddock". These Football Times. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  16. ^ "Neil Ruddock". Westhamstats.info. 9 May 1968. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  17. ^ Wilson, Steve (18 March 2009). "Top 10: Worst spitting incidents in football". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  18. ^ Parkes, Ian (2010). "Football News | Live Scores, Football Transfer News & Gossip". Sporting Life. Retrieved 17 August 2010.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Sport.co.uk meets…Neil Ruddock". sport.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2 June 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  20. ^ "Swindon 1–0 Colchester". BBC. 1 September 2001. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
  21. ^ "Swindon 3–1 Hartlepool". BBC. 17 November 2001. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
  22. ^ Collins, Roy (12 December 2002). "Ruddock leaves Swindon quietly". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  23. ^ Bozeat, Matt (13 February 2015). "'Razor' Ruddock signs up for the Flourmen". northantstelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  24. ^ "NEIL 'RAZOR' RUDDOCK JOINS THE E'S". enfieldfc.co.uk. 13 August 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  25. ^ "Enfield FC make double signing in Neil 'Razor' Ruddock and Jamie Cureton". 29 June 2020.
  26. ^ "England 1 – Nigeria 0". englandstats.com. 16 November 1994. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  27. ^ a b Smith, Giles (30 November 2006). "Look before you bleep in Ruddock's new offering". The Times. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  28. ^ Paine, Andre (12 February 2004). "Brocket to rock it". Evening Standard. London. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  29. ^ "Razor Ruddock's Pass and Move Soccer School – Press Conference". thediamondsfc.com. Retrieved 4 September 2011.[permanent dead link]
  30. ^ "Celebrity Wife Swap". bfi.org.uk. Archived from the original on 27 February 2021. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  31. ^ "James May's Man Lab". BBC. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  32. ^ "James May's Man Lab". BBC. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  33. ^ "BBC One – Celebrity MasterChef, Series 14 Contestants – Neil 'Razor' Ruddock". BBC. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  34. ^ "Who is taking part in Harry's Heroes: Euro Having a Laugh?".
  35. ^ metrowebukmetro (27 October 2009). "Neil Ruddock | Metro News". Metro. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  36. ^ kentonline (25 September 2014). "Former England footballer Neil 'Razor' Ruddock's wife Leah lashes out when debt collectors show up at their Kingsnorth home in Ashford". Kent. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  37. ^ "Neil 'Razor' Ruddock thanks Paul Merson for 'pulling him up' after pacemaker fitting". arsenal.news. 21 May 2020. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  38. ^ "Neil Ruddock health: Football star was 'technically dead' after life-saving surgery". Daily Express. 21 December 2021.
  39. ^ Neil Ruddock at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
  40. ^ Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (2003). In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology Publishing. p. 301. ISBN 0-9534474-3-X.
  41. ^ Moore, Glenn (2 April 1995). "Liverpool prevail in cup final to savour". The Independent. Retrieved 3 April 2024.

External links edit