Budgie: The Autobiography of Goalkeeping Legend by John Burridge

By John Burridge

John "Budgie" Burridge is a real journeyman professional and a hero to soccer lovers up and down the rustic. In a different profession spanning 30 years, Budgie performed 771 league video games for 29 groups, together with Crystal Palace and QPR (under Terry Venables at either clubs), Southampton (alongside a tender Alan Shearer), Manchester urban, Aston Villa (where he might play opposed to Barcelona within the eu tremendous Cup), Wolves, and in Scotland with Hibernian the place he was once a hero of their League Cup win of 1991. That chuffed sojourn to Edinburgh might result in acrimony, even though, as he ended up in a dressing-room struggle with the chief. hugely revered as a goalkeeper, yet denounced via many as an "oddball" (he admitted that he usually slept donning simply his goalkeeper's gloves), Budgie used to be recognized for his madcap antics and his pre-match stretching workouts. He might additionally make some degree of occurring a lap of honor to salute his club's fanatics on the finish of each online game, win lose or draw—a gesture that endeared him to legions of supporters as a guy of the folk. The Burridge tale used to be faraway from over while he eventually retired in 1997, on the age of forty seven. He lapsed into melancholy and spent months within the Priory health facility as he struggled badly to deal with the void in his lifestyles. He grew to become player-manager at non-league Blyth Spartans—only to later be convicted for dealing in counterfeit leisurewear. The prosecution case used to be considerably reinforced through the truth that there has been video proof of part the workforce donning Burridge's sports clothing ahead of an FA Cup fit. along with his spouse of greater than 30 years, Budgie moved to Oman within the heart East to take in a training put up with the nationwide staff. He sustained critical accidents whilst he used to be knocked down by way of a vehicle in 1999, yet is again in good healthiness. he's nonetheless hired with the Oman FA, lives there, and acts as a television pundit and newspaper columnist in Singapore. Burridge remains to be attention-grabbing and humorous to this present day, and during this tell-all autobiography he unearths the reality in the back of his brilliant soccer profession.

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I couldn’t believe it – their first corner of the game and I’d already let one in. ’ But we equalised, and then we went 2-1 in front. They equalised again, but to my relief we won the game 3-2. It wasn’t a fantastic debut by any stretch of the imagination. I hadn’t done very well and I got a bit of stick for it. Welcome to professional football. But Mike was still out injured and I was the only other keeper they had, so it didn’t matter how I’d played, I would be in at the deep end again. Every team, especially in the harsh environment of the Fourth Division, had a big centre-forward in those days who would be used as a battering ram.

On Sundays, they would actually have fist fights outside the pub. You would see them outside, shirts off, stripped to the waist and ready to knock hell out of each other bare knuckle. It was like UFC 1960s-style – but after the punch-ups, you would see them the next day going to the pit again, comrades together, with no lingering hard feelings. The pit may have held plenty terrors for me, but I wasn’t scared of hard work. I got a job working on a farm when I was 12 and that made me grow up fast.

I spoke to a few of his mates, and it turned out he’d been there before shouting encouragement, so even though he didn’t show it, he must have been proud to watch his boy in goal for the Reds. I wasn’t ashamed at all that my dad had waded in that day, sticking up for his boy, but there was no hiding my shame and embarrassment when I did perhaps THE most stupid thing of my career in another game. We were playing against Southend and coasting along towards full-time, five or six-nil up. I had had very little to do in the game, and my concentration wasn’t fully switched on.

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