Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock is one of the most colourful characters in football, and the 52-year-old has bags of stories from his time at the top of the game. The former Southampton, Tottenham and Liverpool defender built a reputation as a tough-tackling customer who took no prisoners, and the England international also had a healthy disrespect for the established way of doing things.
Speaking to Ruby Walsh and Paddy Power on the latest episode of our From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Ruddock revealed how he once avoided serious fitness work and hoodwinked the physio team at Liverpool – while also providing a bad example to the Reds’ up-and-coming talent.
Me and Stan Collymore, we were just coming back from injury, and it was really f*cking hot.
The gymnasium, the doors were open, and it was too hot in there. So, all the apprentices were in, about 20 apprentices doing all their weights, all their circuits.
The physio went: “Right, do the circuits. All the boys do the circuits. Razor and Stan, I want you to do half an hour on the running machine.”
I’m thinking: “F*cking half hour? It’s about 90 degrees in here.”
The physio said: “Right, I’ll be 20 minutes. I won’t be long.” He had to take someone to the doctor’s.
So, I got one of the apprentices to run around – give him some money, run round the café, get me a bacon sandwich. Bring me a bacon sandwich. So, I got off the running machine but let it keep going, so I just sat there eating a bacon sarnie.
When the physio came back in, I jumped back on the running machine, poured loads of water on me, and I was just flagging like that.
He came in and he went to the apprentices: “You see? That’s a modern professional. He don’t like doing it, but he’s doing it for his fitness. You won’t get anywhere unless you’re as good as him at what he does.”
So, there was a young Steven Gerrard, there was Jamie Carragher, there was Michael Owen, all in there, all the apprentices watching. It made them. If it weren’t for me, those three wouldn’t have made it!
All change at Palace
They put me on scales at Crystal Palace. I’m not happy with that – I felt like I was a jockey then.
I didn’t like all this weighing every three days. The manager put me on a weight plan – I had to beat some weight.
But what I was doing – this is how mad it was, talk about education back then – I would just go in the sauna, and I’d have a black sack on, and I’d run in the sauna for about 20 minutes or half hour.
I’d lose about 4lbs, get weighed, make my weight, and then I’d drink 6lbs of water.
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