Neil Ruddock

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Neil Ruddock
Personal information
Date of birth (1968-05-09) 9 May 1968 (age 46)
Place of birth Wandsworth, London, England
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Playing position Centre back
Youth career
1984–1986 Millwall
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1986 Millwall 0 (0)
1986–1988 Tottenham Hotspur 9 (0)
1988–1989 Millwall 2 (1)
1989–1992 Southampton 107 (9)
1992–1993 Tottenham Hotspur 41 (4)
1993–1998 Liverpool 115 (11)
1998 Queens 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 358 (30)
National team
1989 England U21 4 (0)
1994 England B 1 (0)
1994 England 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Neil "Razor" Ruddock (born 9 May 1968) is an English former professional footballer, television personality, and actor. As a footballer he played as a central defender from 1986 to 2003, and was voted the 17th "hardest footballer of all time".[1] The nickname "Razor" was taken from the Canadian heavyweight boxer Donovan "Razor" Ruddock.[2]

He made his debut at Millwall (having been associated with the club since age 13), and he had a long career playing for Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton, Liverpool, West Ham, Crystal Palace, and finally a short-lived spell as a player/coach at Swindon Town (working under Director of Football Roy Evans in a two-tier managerial structure). He was capped once by England.

In January 2015 a 46-year-old Ruddock came out of retirement to sign for United Counties League side Wellingborough Whitworth.

Club career[edit]


Ruddock joined Southampton in February 1989 in a £200,000 transfer from Millwall.[3] A rugged, uncompromising defender, he soon became popular with the Southampton fans especially after confidently tucking away 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 next season.[4])

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.[3]

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.[5]

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.[3]


Ruddock was signed by Liverpool from Tottenham Hotspur on a £2.5 million transfer.[6] Whilst 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 (in his after dinner speaking, Ruddock says of the incident- "trust me to pick the only Frenchman around who wanted a tear-up"). Ruddock was never far from controversy in his time at Liverpool, with tabloids highlighting his personal weight problems, parenting issues,[7] philandering,[8] marital issues and drink driving infringements, including an infamous incident involving his "Porsche and a blonde" as confirmed by Suleman his private servant.[9] In 1995, he was absolved of fracturing Peter Beardsley's jaw with an elbow in a testimonial match, to which Beardsley contemplated legal action on the grounds that Ruddock acted deliberately, but later decided to withdraw charges.[10] 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.[11] However, in a 2010 interview with Talksport, he jokingly refers to the incident that resulted in Cole suffering two broken legs in 1997 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".[12]

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.[13]

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 just as new coach Gérard Houllier embarked on a French revolution at Anfield.[14]

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.[15] 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.[16]

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.[17]

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, where his appearance made him an instant cult figure.[citation needed] He scored twice for Swindon, with goals against Colchester in the league[18] and Hartlepool in the FA Cup.[19] 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-manager.[20]

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."[21]

International career[edit]

He 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 cap for England, playing in a friendly against Nigeria when Terry Venables was national coach.[22]

Throughout his career he battled with weight problems and was often criticised for being unfit; this is often thought to be one of the reasons he only ever gained one full cap for England.[citation needed]

Out of retirement: Whitworth[edit]

In January 2015 it was announced the Ruddock had come out of retirement at 46-years-old to sign for United Counties League side Wellingborough Whitworth[1]



Television career[edit]

He has appeared on A Question of Sport numerous times and was guest captain on 7 May 2004 edition.[citation needed] In 2004, he appeared on the third series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!.[23] He exploited this by recording a charity single, a version of "Jungle Rock", with fellow contestants Lord Brocket, Peter Andre and Mike Read, recording as The Jungle Boys.[24]

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.[25]

In 2006, Ruddock helped produce Football Saved My Life a reality sports TV show for Bravo which attempted to change the lives of fifteen dysfunctional men through their involvement with football.[23]

In 2008, Ruddock appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show, talking about how his football career had affected his personal life, including his alcoholism and debauchery.[26]

In 2010, Ruddock appeared in a celebrity football edition of Come Dine With Me which also featured John Fashanu, Carlton Palmer and Frank Worthington.[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.[28] He appeared again in April 2013 as a member of the Manlab team representing China at the Rock, Paper, Scissors world championships.[29]

In 2013, Ruddock appeared as a housemate on the eleventh series of Celebrity Big Brother, where he finished in fifth place.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Ruddock was married to wife Sarah with whom he had two children.[31] They later divorced and he is now married to model Leah Newman with whom he has two daughters.[31] His nickname of "Razor" is taken from the unrelated boxer Donovan Ruddock's nickname; Ruddock had appeared in a boxing match at White Hart Lane while he played for Tottenham.[32]

In 2011 Ruddock declared bankruptcy, and on the 25 September 2014 Ruddock featured on a TV programme based on debt collection. Ruddock was approached by High Court enforcement agents over an unpaid bill to a dog kennel totalling £3,000.[33] The case was featured on Channel 5 in an episode of Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away!.[34]


  1. ^ "Julian Dicks and Neil Ruddock above Liverpool legend Tommy Smith in 'hardest player' vote". Liverpool Daily Post. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Ruddock erases 'hard' reputation". The Daily Telegraph. 18 September 2000. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. p. 205. 
  5. ^ In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. p. 301. 
  6. ^ White, Clive (21 July 1993). "Ruddock move finally completed: Souness secures defensive reinforcement while Forest rue tribunal fee". The Independent (Independent Print Limited). Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Boulton, Jessica (30 September 2007). "Razor is the dad from hell, says ex". The People. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  8. ^ Cox, Emma (8 February 2004). "Razor's no nice guy .. he's just a drunken love cheat". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  9. ^ Corless, Frank (30 January 1996). "Blonde and Ruddock's Porsche.". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  10. ^ Spall, Leo (24 January 2001). "Ruddock: I'm public enemy No1". Evening Standard. London. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  11. ^ 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. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "Neil Ruddock on breaking Andy Cole's legs (Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  13. ^ "Liverpool Results 1995–96". Liverweb. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  14. ^ "Razor-sharp wit: 'Ronaldo and the rest of today's footballers are too disciplined – if you didn't drink, you didn't play for Liverpool in the Nineties'". Daily Mail. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "Neil Ruddock". 9 May 1968. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  16. ^ Wilson, Steve (18 March 2009). "Top 10: Worst spitting incidents in football". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  17. ^ Parkes, Ian (2010). "Football News | Live Scores, Football Transfer News & Gossip". Sporting Life. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  18. ^ "Swindon 1–0 Colchester". BBC. 1 September 2001. Retrieved 29 December 2009. 
  19. ^ "Swindon 3–1 Hartlepool". BBC. 17 November 2001. Retrieved 29 December 2009. 
  20. ^ Collins, Roy (12 December 2002). "Ruddock leaves Swindon quietly". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  21. ^ " meets…Neil Ruddock". Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  22. ^ "England 1 – Nigeria 0". 16 November 1994. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  23. ^ a b Smith, Giles (30 November 2006). "Look before you bleep in Ruddock's new offering". The Times. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  24. ^ Paine, Andre (12 February 2004). "Brocket to rock it". Evening Standard (London). Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  25. ^ "Razor Ruddock's Pass and Move Soccer School – Press Conference". Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  26. ^ "Jodie's on Jeremy Kyle". The Sun. United Kingdom. 29 April 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2010. 
  27. ^ "Come Dine With Me Footballers Special". The Mirror. United Kingdom. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  28. ^ "James May's Man Lab". BBC. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  29. ^ "James May's Man Lab". BBC. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  30. ^ Wood, Stephanie (25 January 2013). "Celebrity Big Brother 2013 final: Razor Ruddock finishes fifth! Relive his best moments here". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  31. ^ a b Rothstein, Simon (24 March 2010). "Razor's traffic stopping proposal". The Sun (United Kingdom). Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  32. ^ metrowebukmetro (27 October 2009). "Neil Ruddock | Metro News". Metro. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  33. ^ 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. 
  34. ^ "Episode 2 | Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away | Channel 5". Retrieved 24 September 2014. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Andy Linighan
Crystal Palace captain
Succeeded by
Dean Austin