THE PLAYERS

 

Players to wear the green and white of the Hibees.

Here is a growing collection of players and internationalists to feature for Hibernian throughout the years.

Position Goalkeeper

John Burridge played for an incredible 29 different clubs in a career that lasted nearly 30 years, turning out in 771 top flight games, but his 77 starts for Hibernian were amongst the happiest and most successful of his career.

 

John Burridge Profile

 

'Budgie' grew up in the Cumbrian mining village of Great Clifton and began his professional career at his local club, Workington for whom he made his debut as a teenager in 1969.

Two years later he was transferred to Blackpool where he won his first honour: the Anglo-Italian Cup when the Seasiders beat Bologna 2-1, after extra time, at Stadio Comunale on 12 June 1971.

The following year Blackpool lost 3-1 in the final to Roma at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
In 1975 Ron Saunders persuaded John to join Aston Villa and Blackpool accepted a bid of £75,000. He spent two successful seasons at Villa Park, winning the League Cup against Everton.

The final ended 0-0 at Wembley then the replay at Hillsborough ended 1-1 after extra time. The second replay took place at Old Trafford on 13 April 1997 and Villa won 3-2 to claim the trophy. (A certain Alex Cropley played at Wembley and at Old Trafford).

Budgie eventually lost his place to Jimmy Rimmer, and after a brief loan spell at Southend United, he joined Terry Venables' Crystal Palace in 1977, then followed the future England manager across London to Queens Park Rangers 30 months later.

In 1982, John was dropped for the FA Cup Final and left in the summer for Wolverhampton Wanderers whom he helped gain promotion to the top flight as runners-up, only to be relegated the following season.

In October 1984 after a brief loan spell with Derby County, John joined Sheffield United who were managed by Ian Porterfield.

He spent three seasons at Sheffield United before joining Southampton in 1987 then two years later, he moved to Newcastle United. After two years at Newcastle United, he moved north of the border to join Hibs, replacing Andy Goram who had moved to Ibrox for £1m.

A few eyebrows were raised amongst Hibs fans at the news, but John's form and eccentric personality soon won over the fans.

Budgie made his debut in a 4-1 win over St Mirren at Easter Road 115 days shy of his 40th birthday, then Hibs began an incredible run of form, losing only once in his first twenty one games conceding only 17 goals.

During this sequence, Hibs reached the semi-final of the League Cup along with Rangers, Airdrie and Dunfermline. The collective sigh from the Hibs fans could be heard at Hampden when the draw paired their heroes with Walter Smith's Rangers who had won the previous five domestic trophies and included multi million pound signings including Maurice Johnstone, Mark Hateley, Ally McCoist, and of course a certain Andy Goram.

Few outwith Easter Road gave Hibs any chance, but one thing that Budgie never lacked was confidence.

In his excellent biography by Colin Leslie, Budgie described the scene in the Hampden tunnel before that memorable game: "When we got into the Hampden tunnel where both of the teams were lining up and preparing to be led out, I spotted Hateley and gave it to him with both barrels.

I shouted at him, 'Hay Hateley, I'm going to break your back if you come into my six yard box.' I saw McCoist trying not to laugh so I turned my guns on him. 'I dunno what you're laughing at McCoist. You were a failure at Sunderland and you couldn't cut it son. You've had to come back to Scotland and beg for a game."

Budgie's confidence rubbed off on his team-mates and Hibs won the game with a Keith Wright header from a Mickey Weir cross in the first half, although it took some fine goalkeeping to prevent an equaliser as Rangers piled on the pressure in the second half.

The Skol Cup final arrived a few weeks later, and Budgie kept a clean sheet to become only the second Hibs' goalkeeper to win a major trophy at Hampden Park, as goals from Tommy McIntyre and Keith Wright meant that the Skol Cup returned along the M8 to the Easter Road boardroom.

 

John Burridge 1

Burridge celebrating with Hibernian fans at Easter Road after the Skol Cup triumph

 

At the final whistle, Budgie lifted manager Alex Miller onto his shoulders as he celebrated in front of the delighted Hibs' fans.

Despite his long history in the game, John had never witnessed anything like the scenes that greeted the Hibs' players on their return to Edinburgh.

He continued: "As we returned from Glasgow, we switched to an open topped bus.I have never seen anything quite like it, for mile upon mile there were huge crowds of well wishers lining the streets. Everyone was so happy Hibs had done well that season. Back at the stadium was an amazing experience too and we went onto the pitch to do another lap of honour. It was a wonderful feeling."

Before the end of the season, John received two red cards, against Dundee United at Tannadice and Airdrie at Easter Road, but he finished the campaign in style, helping to beat Celtic 2-1 at Parkhead to finish fourth.

The Skol League Cup win ensured European football returned to Easter Road, and Hibs were drawn with top Belgium side Anderlecht whose team included several internationalists. Few outside the capital gave Hibs any hope of progressing, but there was an electrifying atmosphere inside Easter Road for the first leg.

Hibs took an early lead through Dave Beaumont, but Anderlecht equalised from the penalty spot after Budgie was harshly adjudged to have brought down Bruno Versavel. Peter Van Vossen who would later play for Rangers made it 2-1 before another dreadful refereeing decision saw Micky Weir sent off, but the remaining players showed tremendous spirit and equalised near the end thanks to Pat McGinlay.

Hibs took a massive support to Belgium and the fans did themselves proud, singing non stop for the entire 90 minutes. Anderlecht took an early lead, but Darren Jackson equalised and despite Hibs' pressure, the Belgians progressed on the away goals rule. Their supporters applauded the Hibs' players off the field at the end of the game.

Despite some fine performances on the pitch, Budgie fell out with manager Alex Miller over travelling expenses relating to his train fare from his Durham home, and matters eventually came to a head following a dispute over which goalkeeping jersey should be worn, and the maverick keeper was soon on his travels again.

His last game was a 1-0 defeat to Partick Thistle at Easter Road on 15 May 1993. In his 77 games for the club, he had conceded a credible 86 goals.

After two years in Edinburgh, Budgie returned to Newcastle for a second spell at the club in 1993 signed by Kevin Keegan.

Despite being past 40, Budgie refused to hang up his gloves, and between 1993 and 1997 he played for no fewer than fourteen clubs including in chronological order: Scarborough, Lincoln, Aberdeen, Dumbarton, Falkirk, Manchester City with whom he became, at 43 years, 4 months and 26 days, the oldest player to appear in the Premier League, Darlington, Grimsby, Gateshead, Northampton, Queen of the South, Blyth Spartans, Scarborough once more. He finished his playing career with a brief spell as player-manager at Blyth Spartans in 1997, following a similarly brief spell back at Newcastle United as goalkeeping coach.

In 2006, Blackpool Supporters Association voted on their all-time heroes and selected five players from each decade. Budgie was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Bloomfield Road for his performances in the seventies, when it was officially opened by former Blackpool player Jimmy Armfield.

Budgie then had a spell on the coaching staff of the Oman national football team where he 'discovered' Ali Al-Habsi then aged 16 and was instrumental in the player's transfer to Bolton Wanderers. He has also coached English national goalkeepers Tim Flowers, Nigel Martyn and Paul Robinson.

 


 

Full name John Burridge
Date of birth 3rd December 1951
Place of birth Workington, England
Height 5ft 11in

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