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The story behind the picture – Budgie bridges 22 year gap

Look closely at this rather grained photograph of Workington, taken in 1993, and you might just be able to make out the yellow-shirted goalkeeper.

Yes, it is John Burridge who turned out for Reds in a friendly at Durham City on 2 August, 1993 twenty two years after his previous outing for the club.

The unavailability of Keith Hunton and Lee Copeland meant Reds had no goalkeeper available for a pre-season friendly at the old Ferrens Park ground.  But Budgie was a Durham citizen at the time and was delighted to make a guest appearance for the team which launched his spectacular career in 1969.

He was transferred to Blackpool in April 1971 so a game at Peterborough United was his final first team appearance as a Workington player.

Quite remarkable that two decades later, and looking considerably younger than his 41 years, Budgie turned out again for the mighty Reds in a game we lost 2-0.  In between the longest ever gap of appearances for the club, Budgie had knocked out no fewer than 650 League games for the likes of Blackpool, Aston Villa, Southend United, Crystal Palace, Queens Park Rangers, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Derby County, Sheffield United, Southampton, Newcastle United and Scarborough with a couple of seasons at Hibernian thrown in for good measure.

But the story doesn’t end there.

The great man returned to play at Borough Park in 1997 for the first time in twenty six years.  He was an opponent that day, playing for Blyth Spartans again in a pre season encounter.   

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