VIP visitor

The legend that is John Burridge made a surprise visit to Borough Park on Friday during a trip to see relatives.

He spent nearly two hours at the ground meeting chairman, Dave Bowden, and some of the ground staff chatting enthusiastically about his wonderful career which, of course, began at Workington in the late sixties.


He kept a captive audience fascinated in the Shankly Lounge telling all of his time at Reds which led to the most wonderful journey across the UK to the Middle East.

Budgie, who was presented with a Workington polo shirt by the chairman, will be seventy in five weeks time and looked in good health.

It must have been a shock to the system returning to a very soggy West Cumbria from his current home in Oman but, undaunted, he was as chirpy as ever and thoroughly enjoyed his first visit ‘home’ for nearly five years.

Budgie made his Football League debut for Reds in a 3-2 home win over Newport County in the final match of the 1968-69 season with his breakthrough to first team regular coming during the 70-71 campaign.  Then manager, Brian Doyle, sold him to Blackpool in a £10,000 transaction where he became a £100 a week footballer over night.

His first wage at Borough Park was £5 as an apprentice professional and he had to prepare all the training kit for the senior players everyday then keep the dressing rooms clean and tidy.

I would defy anyone to name all the clubs he played for but suffice to say the likes of Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Crystal Palace, Queens Park Rangers, Derby County, Sheffield United, Southampton, Newcastle United and Hibernian would look good on any CV.

A wonderful character and a pleasure to see him again, at the ground where it all began.

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