Wednesday Feb 24, 2010
Neil ‘Razor' Ruddock just loves good old-fashioned football grounds that are a nightmare for opposing teams to visit - so he should enjoy having a look around The Lamb when he comes to Tamworth. The much-travelled former Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and England hardman is the star guest at a Tamworth FC sportsmans dinner at the Snowdome on Thursday February 25 and spoke exclusively to thelambs.co.uk
"I love old-fashioned grounds where the fans and the conditions make it really hard for the away team," he said. "I like places with tiny away dressing rooms, places where you just hate to go."
Ruddock, who played for eight different clubs in his 17-year career including two stops at both Spurs and Millwall, thinks moving from a small ground was part of the downfall of another of his former clubs, Southampton.
"The owners at the time wanted a new ground without having a team that was good enough to justify it," he said.
"I loved the old Dell and we had a great team when I was there (between 1989 and 1992)," he said. "There was me, Jimmy Case, Paul Rideout, a young Alan Shearer, Rod Wallace, Matt Le Tissier....
"I remember once we played Liverpool down there and we murdered them 4-1 (in October 1989); teams like that just hated coming down to the south coast.
St Mary's Park, their new ground, is just another football ground. I think Southampton should have waited until they had a good team before moving to the new ground but it's Catch 22 with these things sometimes; which do you do first?"
Ruddock is disappointed at the struggles of Liverpool this season and puts a lot of the blame at the door of manager Rafael Benitez. "You've got to look at the quality of some of his signings," he said. "He's been there a long time, it's his squad, yet who have they got if Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard are out? They'll keep him because it would cost them too much to get rid of him, but I think you have to look at what he's done [in the transfer market]."
Unsurprisingly for a man who made a few headlines for his on- and off-field antics in his playing days, Ruddock doesn't agree with the axing of John Terry from the England captaincy.
"I've been there and done it in that regard, so I know what I'm talking about," he laughed. "In my opinion, if it's not affecting their football, nothing else comes into it."
And he doesn't think the captaincy argument will affect England's chances in the World Cup in South Africa this summer. "I'll say we'll get beaten on penalties in the semi-final," he said, "because every time I say we'll win something, it goes wrong so if I say we'll get beaten in the semis, hopefully that will prove wrong too!"
For more info on the event please contact Nick Lunn - firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07795 841106