GREAT TURNOUT FOR JOHN RUDGE BOOK LAUNCH
Legendary football manager John Rudge launched his autobiography To Cap It All on Sunday 24 September 2023 at Vale Park, home of the club he managed for 15 years.
The event was organised by Dave Thorley and the committee of the Port Vale Supports Club who are raising funds for a statue of John to be placed outside Vale Park.
Also in attendance was the statue's sculptor Michael Talbot, one of the leading figurative sculptors of his time, according to the Saatchi Gallery, and author Simon Lowe, who worked with John to bring this much-anticipated book to supporters of Port Vale, Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, Carlisle United, Torquay United, Bristol Rovers and Bournemouth, John's clubs throughout his 60-year career.
Both Simon and Michael gave speeches and took audience questions before John himself took to the stage to entertain the audience with a selection of tales from his long-awaited book.
To Cap It All tells the remarkable story of John's playing career, which began as a 15-year-old with him sleeping in Denis Law's bed, and how that laid the foundations for a career in management at Port Vale, where his side became renowned for playing attractive football, with fast, attacking wingers, registering a plethora of giant killings against the likes of Spurs, Derby, Southampton and Everton, the FA Cup holders.
The book also spills the beans on his tempestuous relationship with Vale Chairman and owner Bill Bell, while also reveals the circumstances around his sacking at Vale and agreement to become manager at Stoke City, a hugely controversial move.
In the end, John decided to only take up the Director of Football post at Stoke and then spent 14 years at the club working with the likes of Gary Megson, Gudjon Thordarson and Tony Pulis. His season under the management of the bizarre Johan Boskamp is told in detail, including how John ended up on gardening leave after attracting the Dutchman's ire whilst trying to help him out.
John then goes on to detail how he helped sign the team which won Stoke promotion to the Premier League under Tony Pulis, with tales of stars such as Ryan Shawcross, Robert Huth, Rory Delap, Peter Crouch, Ricardo Fuller, Jonathan Walters and Michael Owen.
This is a story of dedication, skill and success, football and family, with a vast array of hilarious anecdotes along the way, including stories about the player who left a game at half-time after being subbed, the player who brought their mum along as their agent.
It tells how John outwitted Neil Warnock to sign Ian Taylor and David Moyes to sign Chris Iwelumo, the unusual circumstances in which John motivated his Vale team to win promotion in 19993/94, who John's best ever signing was and how he discovered there were no beach huts in Burslem.