[Our reviewers look at THE stocking filler for local sports fans this Christmas. Buy it at www.ToCapitAll.co.uk , where you can get signed copies!]:
Name of book: To Cap It All by John Rudge.
Helped by…? Former Sentinel hawk Chris Harper helped John with the Vale parts, author Simon Lowe with the Stoke parts!
So is it Stoke or Vale?! BOTH! Half the book is about his 19 years at Vale, and a third is about his 14 years (yes, FOURTEEN YEARS) at Stoke.
And what’s the other quarter about?! Your maths is appalling! The other sixth of the book is about his playing career.
He used to be a player?! Unbelievably, yes. Bit of an injury-prone striker for the likes of Huddersfield, Bristol Rovers & Bournemouth.
Was he any good? How many people can say that they headed the winner against United at Old Trafford?!?
Can John Rudge? Well, no, not technically. He actually scored the first in the 2-1 win, but (if it’d been me) I’d have claimed it was the winner! (See brilliant photo in book.)
So what did John’s wife say when she first saw Burslem in 1980? “What the hell have you brought me to?!”
What did John think? He was delighted with his company car, a Lada 1100!
So started 19 years of wheeling & dealing at Vale Park? And all the stories, known and now uncovered, are dished in this book.
Cup nights, promotions, Wembley victories? You can say that again.
Cup nights, promotions, Wembley victories? Yes!! They’re all here, and more. It’s brilliantly written, a real page-turner.
What did Alex Ferguson think of Rudge? He thought he was a right pain in the arse! Always badgering Alex for cheap players to borrow. (They’d met at Lilleshall years before.)
So, was joining Stoke City such a big deal? It was brave. It was also brave to be Director Of Football at Stoke when he’d turned it down at Vale. He’d been offered the Stoke manager’s job a few times before, it seems. But now City fans were at the end of their tether with the chaos at Stoke, now languishing in the 3rd tier, so if anyone was going to sort it out it was Rudge.
Well, clearly he’d be appreciated more by the Stoke board. Ah. John beefs about his battles with Vale chairman Bill Bell, yet City chairman Peter Coates sold the club 3 months after he’d talked Rudge into joining Stoke, with John clearly thinking he’d subsequently get the chop!
Did he get the chop? Thankfully the new Icelandic owners saw him as an asset, he kept his job & Coates avoided the Bell-like hairdryer treatment from Rudge.
So, was he responsible for Stoke recruiting his old Bristol teammate, Tony Pulis? At the time he denied it, but in fact he did a lot of manoeuvring behind the scenes.
Namely? You’ll need to read the book about his time with Gudjon, Pulis, and mad-as-a-kipper Boskamp.
Is it true one chapter is called “Jesus Christ, Adolf Hitler & The Shit Guy”? Yep, weird & wonderful tales of Stoke’s slow rise from the ashes to promotion, cup finals & Europa League.
So, should I buy this book? Definitely!
You always say that! It’s a great book for Potteries football fans. Wallow in the old stories, hear the behind the scenes stories, and realise how much John Rudge’s lifework has affected our local world.
Should I buy it from the demon-god Amazon? NOOO! Get along to www.ToCapItAll.co.uk or the Vale shop, and your money will stay local (& fund a statue for the old bloke)! And there are signed copies available!
Does he still drive a Lada? Damn, I forgot to ask him…