|Full name||Alan Anthony Hudson|
|Date of birth||21 June 1951|
|Place of birth||Chelsea, London, England|
|1979–1980||→ Cleveland Force (indoor)||13||(6)|
|1981–1982||→ Seattle Sounders (indoor)||18||(12)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Born and brought up near the King's Road, Hudson was rejected by the club he supported, Fulham, as a schoolboy before signing for Chelsea Juniors. Injury denied him the chance to become Chelsea's youngest ever player aged 16 and he eventually made his senior debut nine months later on 1 February 1969 in a 5–0 loss against Southampton. Hudson found himself in a Chelsea side noted for its flair and skill, complete with equally flamboyant footballers such as Peter Osgood and Charlie Cooke. It was during the 1969–70 season that he established himself as the team's playmaker, in the midfield of a 4–2–4 formation alongside the more defensive John Hollins, creating goals for Osgood and Ian Hutchinson, and enabling Chelsea to finish 3rd in the First Division.
Hudson played in every match in Chelsea's run to the FA Cup final in 1970, but missed the final itself due to another injury when they beat Leeds United 2–1 in a replay at Old Trafford, having drawn 2–2 at Wembley. He did, however, play a major role in Chelsea's replayed European Cup Winners' Cup final win against Real Madrid in Athens a year later. Chelsea lost 2–1 to Stoke City in the 1972 League Cup final at Wembley, before which he sang with the rest of the squad on the club's 1972 record Blue Is the Colour, which peaked at number five on the UK Singles Chart. The club's debt burden caused by the building of a new East Stand at Chelsea resulted in the failure to replace key players, and a spiral of decline began. At the same time a falling-out with manager Dave Sexton resulted in both Hudson and Osgood being placed on the transfer list in January 1974. Within a month, Hudson had joined Stoke City for a then club record of £240,000.
Stoke manager Tony Waddington saw Hudson as the final piece of the jigsaw that would turn Stoke City into genuine championship challengers in 1975. Hudson's debut for Stoke against Liverpool on 19 January 1974 was described by former Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Stan Cullis, commentating on radio, as the finest debut performance he had ever seen. Allowed a free rein by Waddington, Hudson combined brilliantly with Jimmy Greenhoff and their form sparked a run of only two defeats in 19 games at the end of the 1973–74 season. Manager Waddington described Stoke's style of play at the time as 'the working man's ballet', a title which Hudson used for his autobiography in 1997. Off the pitch Hudson was a regular drinker, often staying at nightclubs until the early hours of the morning and even opening his own club in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Hudson was enjoying the form of his career at Stoke and in his first two years at the Victoria Ground he missed only one game out of 162, and he helped Stoke set a club record 23 home games undefeated from December 1973 to December 1974. Stoke almost won their first league title in 1974–75 finishing four points off Derby County in top spot. Hudson then played 40 times in 1975–76. In January 1976 a strong storm caused considerable damage to Stoke's Victoria Ground, and to pay for the expensive repair costs Stoke had to sell off their playing staff and, in December 1976, Hudson was sold to Arsenal for £200,000.
He helped Arsenal reach the 1978 FA Cup Final, which they lost 1–0 to Ipswich Town; but differences with the Arsenal manager Terry Neill meant that he moved to the Seattle Sounders of the NASL for £100,000. He was 27 years of age.
In the autumn of 1978, he signed with the Cleveland Force of the Major Indoor Soccer League. Hudson returned briefly to Chelsea on a non-contract basis when John Neal signed him in August 1983. Hudson played for the Chelsea Reserves (in the Football Combination League) but partly due to illness and injury he never played in the first-team.
He re-joined Stoke City for £22,500 in January 1984 after Bill Asprey had consulted Waddington on how to help Stoke avoid relegation in 1983–84. Stoke picked up 33 points in 17 games and clinched survival with a 4–0 won over Wolverhampton Wanderers on the final day of the season. But in 1984–85 Stoke were relegated with a record low points tally. Hudson was named captain by Mick Mills for the 1985–86 season but a knee injury forced him to retire in September 1985.
Hudson won nine caps for the England U23 team. He had initially made his debut against Scotland U23 at Roker Park on 4 March 1970, but the game was abandoned due to snow after 62 minutes. He therefore went on to make his first full debut for the under-23 team on 2 December 1970, in a 0–0 draw with Wales U23 at the Racecourse Ground.
Owing to a ban from international football after refusing to tour with the England under-23 side, Hudson didn't make his England debut until 1975, when sparkling performances earned him two call-ups by then England manager Don Revie. He starred in the team that beat 1974 FIFA World Cup champions West Germany 2–0 at Wembley, and then in the 5–0 destruction of Cyprus. However, injuries and clashes with Revie meant that those two caps were the only ones he earned.
His son, Anthony, is also a former professional footballer and manager.
Since his retirement, Hudson has suffered a series of setbacks. He had problems with alcoholism and was also declared bankrupt. In December 1997, Hudson suffered multiple injuries when run over by a car while walking along a London street. He spent two months in a coma and the doctors treating him were doubtful as to whether he would walk again. He has since undergone more than 70 surgical operations. He remains disabled, using crutches to walk and says "Every day now is a chore". He separated from his wife after the collision, and moved back with his mother, but was ordered by the council to leave when she died of cancer in 2003. He unsuccessfully invested £150,000 of his injury compensation in a property in Cyprus, and lived with his son until 2012 when he moved out because of his son's mental illness and as of the following year he was living in a hostel.
Following the collision, he took up writing professionally. His autobiography The Working Man's Ballet was a critical success and led to work as a columnist on the Stoke Evening Sentinel and The Sporting Life. A further book The Tinker and The Talisman was self-published in 2003. In 2004 Hudson appeared as himself in a cameo appearance in the British film The Football Factory. In June 2006, Hudson joined Radio Napa in Cyprus, where he commentated on the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. In 2008 he released his third book, titled "The Waddington Years", which described his great friendship with former Stoke City manager Tony Waddington. In December 2012 Hudson said that he believes that his accident was actually an attempt on his life.
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other[A]||Total|
|Stoke City||1973–74||First Division||18||3||0||0||0||0||—||0||0||18||3|
|Stoke City||1983–84||First Division||16||0||0||0||0||0||—||0||0||16||0|
|England national team|
- Matthews, Tony (1994). The Encyclopaedia of Stoke City. Lion Press. ISBN 0-9524151-0-0.
- Stoke City 101 Golden Greats. Desert Islands Books. 2002. ISBN 1-874287-55-4.
- Chelsea Football Club The Full Statistical Story 1905 - 1986 by Scott Cheshire and Ron Hockings ISBN 0-9511640-0-7
- "England Matches - Under-23's". www.englandfootballonline.com. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- Jimenez, Tony (14 October 2012). "Disabled Alan Hudson finds every day a chore". Reuters. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- Drake, Matthew (23 June 2013). "Chelsea legend Alan Hudson hits 'rock bottom' in homeless hostel". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
- "Stoke City legend Alan Hudson recalls the day he almost lost his battle for life". The Staffordshire Sentinel. 15 December 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- Alan Hudson at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
- "NASL-". www.nasljerseys.com. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- "Alan Hudson". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
- "FA Cup Final 1978". fa-cupfinals.co.uk. 31 October 2007. Archived from the original on 31 October 2007. Retrieved 3 September 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Lynch, Tony (1995). The Official P.F.A. Footballers Heroes. Random House. pp. 141–2. ISBN 0-09-179135-9.