Blackpool's Finest: John Burridge
John Burridge - 'Budgie' - the greatest ever?
SeasideEssexXile looks at why John Burridge could be considered the greatest 'keeper to have graced Bloomfield Road in the last forty years.
Born in 1951 in Workington, John Burridge was a home town boy. Signing for Workington in 1969, at age 18, he signed for the Pool in 1971 for a fee of £10,000. Budgie made his against Everton later that season, and kept a clean sheet. At 5'11' Budgie wasn't the tallest of keepers but there will have not been many athletically fitter.
Budgie was one of my first recollections of a Pool keeper. He played for us for four seasons, during which he kept goal in the two Anglo-Italian Finals, the first of which he came out with high praise from the normally critical Italian fans. Budgie made 134 league appearances for the Pool during which time he became a firm fan's favourites. He quickly developed a good rapport with the fans and he would regularly play up to the kop. Even now fans recall his name with fond memories.
Budgie eventually lost his place to the up and coming Scotsman George Wood. That said Pool made a healthy profit selling him for £100,000 to the Villa. Budgie finally retired in 1997, having played in 771 league games and for a total of 15 different league clubs. He remains the oldest player to have played in the Premiership aged 43 years, five months and 11 days.
Some will say that Woods was a better keeper than Budgie, but there's no doubting who the bigger character out of the two was.
Burridge now works as a goal-keeping coach for Al-Ain football club in the UAE.
11 years ago, he was on the receiving arm of the law, for selling counterfeit sports gear; John Burridge - a real character to the end.
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