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Saturday, 19 April 2014

‘I turned Cantona’s collar down so he swung for me’ - Neil Ruddock

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MY MATE MOLLY! Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock with Evening Mail reporter Molly Lynch JOE RILEY

FORMER Liverpool defender and football hardman Neil Ruddock has revealed the reason behind his famous on-pitch spat with Man Utd legend Eric Cantona.

Speaking at The Forum in Barrow, Ruddock said that the incident where he turned down the Frenchman’s collar was a match tactic, rather than a response to jibes about his weight.

Ruddock told the audience on Wednesday: “Every time we went out on that pitch, he destroyed me, so I had to put him off. I turned his collar down and he swung for me. By the end of it, all he wanted to do was fight me.

“I got into his head. He was easier to play against after that.

“There was a rumour he smelt of garlic but I never got close enough to see whether that was true.”

Ruddock visited the town to give a talk about the highs and lows of his football career and subsequent battle with alcoholism at the annual conference of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs mental health services in the county.

During a question and answer session with audience members, ‘Razor’ was asked what he thought the biggest problem was with modern football.

He said: “Bringing in foreign players for reserve football rather than trying to nurture talent in Britain is ruining the game. By the time I was signed professionally I’d played in loads of reserve games, but these days there are some 20-year-old lads who’ve only got 20 reserve games under their belt.”

Asked how he felt about the current state of former club Liverpool FC, Ruddock said: “I suppose you shouldn’t say that they are too good a club to go down, but they are.

“It’s (former Liverpool manager Rafa) Benítez’s fault. He’s got too many foreign players that aren’t good enough. I look at the Liverpool squad and I only recognise six or seven players.

“Being at Liverpool was the best time of my life. I always think I wish I could go back, but at the time I didn’t think about it like that. I never got nervous, only when my mum and dad or my mates would come and watch me. That’s when I’d think ‘can’t be rubbish because they’ll take the mick’.”

Ruddock said players like Wayne Rooney, who have recently been hitting the headlines for their off-the-pitch antics, do not behave because they don’t have to grow up.

He said: “When you’re at a football club, everything is put on a plate for you. Players got too much in my day, but it’s absolutely ridiculous now.

“Back when I played it was still the fans going through the turnstiles who paid your wages. I don’t think there’s too much pressure on players. Pressure is having seven kids and no job. Football is brilliant.

“I played because I loved the game, the money was a bonus. It’s the greatest job in the world.”

Have your say

"played so brilliant at top clubs"? He was a very poor play in a very poor Souness side. A side that Souness ruined and started a rot at Liverpool that was not reversed until Houllier joined the club. Even as bad as the side is now Ruddock wouldn't get into the side... He should be mentioned in the same breath as Julian Dicks, Nicky Tanner, Paul Stewart, Dean Saunders and Istvan Kozma all Souness buys not one of them fit to wear the shirt... and "Razor" only just managed to fit into his!!!

Posted by barrow red on 20 October 2010 at 15:27

I once asked a friend how Neil got a name like Razor from, and he replied that the man is too lazy to shave. But I suggested to him that Ruddock looked clean-shaven all the time, to which he replied:..its precisely what's baffling the guy - he doesn't shave, but you can't see a hair on his face?? So, there you have it...a baffling mystery !! The fact that he played so brilliantly at top clubs must surely add to the awe and intrigue that still surround Neil Ruddock today, well done Neil !!

Posted by M Vatu on 13 October 2010 at 10:54

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