From white Armani suits on cup final day, to kicking off with a couple of airhead-Americans on a reality TV show, Neil Ruddock doesn’t tend do the understated. Indeed, such is Razor’s larger-than-life, footballing Godfather persona, it’s easy to forget that the former-Liverpool man, Spice Boy, Big Brother Contestant and one-time England man enjoyed an incredibly underrated spell at Tottenham Hotspur.
So when The Hotspur Way caught up with Razor, we were only too keen to hear what he had to say about AVB, Bale-mania and what he thinks about our chances moving forward this season.
Razor, it was all change at White Hart Lane in the summer and with the league now entering the home straight, what have you made of Andre Villas-Boas’ appointment as manager?
Well to be fair, AVB, when he was Chelsea manager, I always thought he was a good manager. I said that and I said I’d like to see him at Spurs one day….not!
But no, I think he’s done well, I mean when Harry went I think it was one of the hardest jobs to step into, you know? After Redknapp got fourth, you’ve (Villas-Boas) got to finish fourth or better it.
With his track record at Chelsea, AVB was up against it straight away but I think he’s done well – they’re still above Arsenal and long may that continue but I think he’s doing a good job. And from what I’ve seen they’re playing good football but typical Spurs, they’ve still been loosing silly points up until recently.
What do you think about Gareth Bale this season, Razor? Not been too bad, has he?
Absolutely awesome, but at the end of the day, listen: we don’t want to come to a situation where we have to rely on him too much. For example, after the Lyon game at White Hart Lane, without him, we go out. Like I said, you don’t want to come to a situation like Ronaldo where you’ve got something of a one-man team.
He’s done well in the middle in recent games and I don’t want to see him defending. I want to see him in a free role; get the ball and give it to him.
Who else do you like the look of in this Spurs team?
Dembele looks quality and I like the look of Lewis Holtby, looks to have a bit of fire about him.
And Ade-barn-door, he couldn’t hit a barn door at the moment could he poor old Adebayor? You feel sorry for strikers when they’re having a bad time but he’s not running around and showing the fans that he’s got the will to win. As soon as he’s signed his permanent deal he seems to have gone backwards.
We’re missing Defoe, too. As I said, we’re looking good but if we get a couple of injuries then I think we could end up struggling – I don’t think we’ve got strength in depth.
One of things Graham Roberts recently came out with, was that he (Adebayor) needs to be doing more. Do you think he’s sulking?
I don’t know if he’s sulking. You know, he’s got his new contract but after coming back from the African Cup of Nations he’s just not done enough.
People give Andy Carroll stick, but I know West Ham fans who love him over there. He’s not scoring goals, but he’s trying. He’s running around, getting back for corners, heading balls off the line and that’s what you want to see as a fan. Adebayor isn’t doing that at all.
We all know you obviously enjoyed two spells at Spurs, but who was the best player you played with at the club?
Glenn Hoddle, without any shadow of a doubt. This is the number one question I’m always asked I think, and Glenn Hoddle’s been the best –not only the best I’ve ever played with, but the best Tottenham player, too.
Ardiles was magnificent aswell, but when you saw him (Hoddle) in training every day and the things he was capable of, he was up there, definitely. He was doing what Beckham was doing 20 years before he even knew how to kick a ball. People used to smash Glenn Hoddle, but he held his own – he knew how to handle himself, but you had to back in that era.
On the subject of brilliant former Spurs players, what are your feelings about Paul Gascoigne at the moment?
I was with Gazza a few months back in December and he looked good, everything seemed to be going all right with him and I thought, “Well done mate, you’ve managed to turn things around.”
It was actually at one my agent’s events that he turned up like he did and I think it was one of the best things that could have happened to him. Without that do, he could be hidden away and maybe even dead by now. It’s a blessing that it’s come out – we all chucked a bit of money in, I chucked a bit in too to get him out there (to the rehab clinic in Arizona) so he’s in a good place now. Fingers crossed and we wish him all the best.
And what about you Razor, what are you up to these days?
Well I’m the number one after-dinner speaker, available at soccer-speaker.co.uk and I’m just living the dream – I always have. I’m a legend. On top of that, I’m doing a few television bits too.
While we’re here, we’ve got to ask – how did you find your time in the Big Brother house?!
It was good, it was like rehab with beer. I’m a lazy git anyway so sitting on your backside getting paid to do nothing is my idea of fun. When you’ve done 20 pre-seasons, sitting in the Big Brother house is a piece of piss.