Gerry's Reviews > Budgie The Autobiography of Goalkeeping Legend John Burridge

Budgie The Autobiography of Goalkeeping Legend John Burridge by John  Burridge
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's review
May 18, 2011

really liked it

A very funny read. John 'Budgie' Burridge is a funny man and he translates his humour onto the printed page superbly.

As the title states, he is a footballing legend. Having begun his football career with his hometown club Workington he moved on to Blackpool and became such a star there that he was inducted into the hall of fame at the football club when it opened a few years ago.

He won the Anglo-Italian Cup with the Seasiders and he gives it full value in a couple of chapters about his time at Bloomfield Road. He also tells of one or two scrapes that he got into because of the nature of his ebullient character.

Nothing changed throughout his career, the same pattern was to develop at each of the 29 clubs that he played for and he gives some delightful stories of his escapades on and off the field, including his liking for Terry Venables, his not too favourable opinion of Ron Saunders, his escape from Arthur Cox, who he later teamed up with at Newcastle, and his fall out with Ossie Ardiles.

He took his coaching badges while still playing and later managed Blyth Spartans, concomitant with being goalkeeping coach at Newcastle United! It certainly stretched his time and eventually made him decide to retire from the roles.

He made the decision to leave England and he went on to coach the national side in Oman, briefly spent some time in a similar role in Abu Dhabi before settling back in Oman as an extremely popular television football pundit and newspaper columnist.

There are no holds barred in this down to earth autobiography as he mentions his depression and its effect on him once he realised that his football career was over - he did, however, become the oldest Premier League player when appearing for Manchester City aged 43 and 126 days.

It is a most enjoyable read and gives the full flavour of a true English eccentric.

Footnote: I was fortunate enough to play five-a-side football with Budgie and I saw at first hand his fitness and intense dedication to the game. I was also lucky enough to be the first player he picked for his side and I often wonder whether that was because I was a very good footballer, , I also kept myself very fit, I had the same will to win at all costs as he did or that I was merely seen as another English eccentric. I would like to think that it was the first of these but I feel sure, in my heart of hearts, that it was the last (or, if I am feeling generous to myself, perhaps a bit of them all)!

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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Bettie☯ (new)

Bettie☯ hah - I thought you were reading about Adam Faith for a moment there


Gerry Hi Bettie

Linda and I did see the Adam Faith 'Budgie' play in London some years ago, 1980s I think, so I could very well have been, couldn't I? Terry Nelhams was brilliant as the eponymous hero!

On another note about Adam (or Terry!), I first saw him in 1960 at the Opera House when he was singing What do you want? and Poor me. My Dad was stage manager there and got me tickets for they were quite scarce and difficult to get hold off as he was a new rising star.

In later years, around 1990 I would think, he came to Blackpool's Grand Theatre starring in a play entitled 'Down an alley full of cats' (about a book store proprietor) and while here he opened a coffee shop in the Next department store and fans were invited along.

Only about six turned up and I was one of them. So I waited till the others had got their autographs and then produced a couple of albums for him to sign, which he duly did. But, rather nicely, he asked me to join him for a coffee and we spent a very pleasant hour just chatting.

Ironically the Next store was just across the road from the Opera House where I first saw him and I remarked that he would not have been able to sit quietly having a coffee way back then because he would have been besieged by hoards of screaming girls! He agreed.

Sorry for boring you with that tale but your amusing comment brought back some happy memories for me and I thank you for that.

Take care


message 3: by Bettie☯ (last edited May 18, 2011 01:51PM) (new)

Bettie☯ Gerry wrote: "Hi Bettie

Linda and I did see the Adam Faith 'Budgie' play in London some years ago, 1980s I think, so I could very well have been, couldn't I? Terry Nelhams was brilliant as the eponymous hero!..."

One of the first people I 'looked after' was Nelhams, along with the Bee Gees and a group called the Brotherhood of Man. A fair few of the west end luvvies banked with xxxxxxx in Piccadilly Circus and we had many free tickets to the shows. Most poignant memory is of an actress called Amanda Barrie quietly sobbing into a huge hankie whilst waiting on the leather couch for her appointment outside the Manager's Office. Must have been a bit skint and she was building up to look tragic when he opened the door to her.

That branch is now closed. It was the building with the columns (cross over Regent St and you came to Swan and Edgars, remember?). The back entrance opened out near enough on a par with the Regent's Palace Hotel.


Gerry Hi Bettie

Great story - I like Amanda Barrie, who could willingly have cried on my shoulder at the time - and I do remember Swan and Edgars very well. Indeed, Linda and I probably walked past it on our very first date all those years ago.

You will probably have been lucky enough to go to the Regent's Palace Hotel but I only passed it by!

Was Adam a nice lad when you knew him? Didn't the Brotherhood of Man once sing in the Eurovision Song Contest?

Free tickets were always good, weren't they? Once my Dad retired, I couldn't get used to paying!!!

Take care


message 5: by Bettie☯ (new)

Bettie☯ Gerry wrote: "Hi Bettie

Great story - I like Amanda Barrie, who could willingly have cried on my shoulder at the time - and I do remember Swan and Edgars very well. Indeed, Linda and I probably walked past it..."

Ah! one never recovers from the loss of free tix *shakes head slowly*

You have been (and still are) a bit of a rip roaring gad about town, rubbing shoulders with toffs. sportsmen and politicians. I see the present incumbent is moving into your ol' place of work No.11 whilst next door is being fixed up (too many Boisterous parties?).

It is lovely swapping stories with you and having a peek down memory lane now and again.


Gerry Hi Bettie

Thanks for your latest message.

It would seem that way (rubbing shoulders etc) but believe me it is not planned, it just seems to happen but I honestly can assure you I would rather keep myself to myself! I seem to get dragged into things somehow. (On that note one of my old contacts, Adam Parore, New Zealand wicketkeeper at the time, has just climbed Everest. I never thought I would know anyone who did that!)

I do so wish you could call on me and I would show you what I tend to write on my calendar; I think it might surprise you.

There were a number of parties at No 11 when I was there as Tony Barber had daughters who were at the time, ladies about town and enjoyed entertaining! Next door they had one big party when a certain HW was replaced by EH!

Take care and keep in touch.


message 7: by Bettie☯ (new)


Aaah the HW decamping, followed by

Any chance of having a picture of your picture wall (or rather, one of them). I am also very intrigued to know just what you write on your calendar. hahaha

I love Sundays when you get in touch.

Gerry Bettie

I will photograph some of the walls tomorrow.

It might bore you in the end for there are so many pictures. I intend to catalogue them sometime. That is when I get round to it because I have a number of projects on the go at the moment and I keep putting all of them on the back burner. Pathetic,isn't it?

Thanks for being so kind to me with your lovely comments.


message 9: by Bettie☯ (new)

Bettie☯ I won't be bored. Trust me

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