Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock has revealed he almost ended Alan Shearer’s career before it even began when the former England captain stepped on shattered glass and severed three toes in a desperate attempt to stop a minibar being swiped from his hotel room.
Football hardman Razor, 52, and Shearer, 50, were team-mates at Southampton when the Premier League‘s all-time record goalscorer’s toes were left ‘hanging on by the skin’ when the prank went badly wrong during a boozy pre-season tour.
And the former Spurs and Liverpool star has credited ex-Burnley defender Steve Davis for saving Shearer’s career, as he was the only Saints player sober enough to take him to hospital to rescue his toes.
Alan Shearer’s path to Premier League stardom was almost ended by Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Razor says: ‘I nicked his fridge when he was in the bath. I could hear him shout ”stop!” and felt the glasses on top smashing behind me, I could see the jagged edge of a bottle and he just trod straight on that.
‘Two of his toes were half hanging off, one was completely hanging off.
‘We didn’t know what to do as everyone was so p***** so we got Steve Davis, the big centre half who used to play for Burney, to drive him to the hospital as he was the only one who was sober.
‘I felt so guilty afterwards. He was only a young lad – and he was my mate!’
Asked if he still feels bad 30 years on, Razor jokes: ‘If I’d have known I’d have had all those years playing against him I’d have wanted his toes to fall off.
‘But I think Al’s forgiven me, he’s got a great sense of humour. He’s not as boring as he looks on telly.’
Razor spent five years at Liverpool and got drunk with Nelson Mandela on one pre-season trip
Razor details the incident in his new autobiography The World According to Razor – My Closest Shaves (out Friday, October 29).
The book is packed with hilarious anecdotes from his 18-year playing career, starting with his apprentice days at Millwall to his brief coaching stint at Swindon, while also documenting his venture into reality TV courtesy of his appearances in I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, Celebrity Big Brother and Harry’s Heroes.
Most of his stories are fuelled by booze, like the time he led the Liverpool squad on a drinking session with Nelson Mandela, who they nicknamed ‘Nels’, during a tour of South Africa.
Harry’s Heroes: The Full English is one of several TV shows Razor has been on over the years
He explains: ‘We didn’t know he was coming. We were getting changed for the match and all of a sudden the door opened and Nelson Mandela walked in with all his bodyguards, and we were like ”alright Nels!”
‘So after the game he comes again and says ‘we go to the bar’ so we all went upstairs and sat around him drinking bottles of Castle beer. I rang my mum and dad and said ”I’m on the p*** with Nelson Mandela!”
‘I can’t even remember what we were talking about, just sitting around the bar talking s***, just drinking – we ran out of draft so we went onto bottles. We were on the p*** for four to five hours with him.’
Razor was part of the mid-nineties Liverpool side nicknamed the Spice Boys due to their reputation for being ‘flash’ and questionable off-the-field behaviour.
Indeed, Razor once punched team-mate Robbie Fowler in an airport after the striker defecated inside his Reebok Classic trainer during a long-haul flight.
‘I loved them, they were the ones Status Quo used to wear. I was hobbling around the airport in just one boot after what Robbie did,’ Razor recalls.
Razor did not see the funny side when Robbie Fowler defecated in one of his Reebok trainers
Robbie Williams once joined the Liverpool ‘Spice Boys’ squad for a boozy holiday in Marbella
He also says the Spice Boys were to blame for Robbie Williams leaving Take That after persuading him to leave rehearsals and join them in Marbella for a boozy holiday.
Razor says: ‘He turned up at Manchester airport with a Port Vale football kit on, his suitcase and a football under his arm. At that time Take That were working their nuts off, they weren’t allowed to do anything, so coming out with us was a new lease of life for him.
‘He left the band very shortly after, got sacked. So if It wasn’t for us, we wouldn’t have had Angels!’
Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman and Jamie Redknapp in the infamous Armani FA Cup suits
His Liverpool side will be forever associated with the beige Armani suits they wore at Wembley ahead of the 1996 FA Cup final against Manchester United which they went on to lost 1-0 thanks to a late winner from Eric Cantona – who Razor says is the best player he’s ever played against, along with Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola and Arsenal’s Dutch talisman Dennis Bergkamp.
Razor didn’t make the squad that day, which he describes as ‘the biggest disappointment of my career’, but he certainly featured in the post-match drinking session.
He says: ‘We hired Planet Hollywood in Piccadilly Circus and me and Stan Collymore got p***** and we climbed the statue of Eros (The Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain) nearby and put my Armani jacket on him. I drive past it now and think, ”how the f*** did I get up there?”’
Razor got on the wrong side of Sean Connery after being dared to punch him by Ian Wright
The incident isn’t Razor’s only brush with Hollywood he details in the book. The former England international recalls being goaded by then West Ham team-mate Ian Wright to punch Sean Connery.
He was told the former 007 was ‘mugging him off’ after failing to see the funny side of the Hammers stars ordering him a ‘Martini, shaken not stirred’ in the Wentworth Golf Club clubhouse.
Razor refrained from getting physical, preferring to embarrass Sean by asking him an awkward question in front of stunned members: ‘Which famous birds have you s******?’
Razor almost witnessed the death of fellow I’m A Celebrity contestant Kerry Katona
After giving them the ‘death stare’, Connery stormed out before returning and telling Razor: ‘Zsa Zsa Gabor, 1963.’
‘I still don’t know if he was joking,’ says Razor. ‘I was thinking he’d say Ursula Andrews.
‘But that line was incredible.’
After retiring from football in 2001, Razor turned to reality TV securing a lucrative appearance on the 2004 series of ITV juggernaut I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!.
His series was memorable for the Peter Andre and Katie Price romance, but Razor was fortunate not to create an even bigger storyline when he was powerless to stop a deadly King Brown snake almost ‘kill’ eventual winner Kerry Katona.
Razor explains: ‘It was my turn to keep watch of the campfire during the night to ensure it didn’t go out.
‘I was sitting on a log and this King Brown snake pops up and goes under this log and went up to Kerry and, honest to god, licked her face. Full tongue came out and went on her.
Razor has successfully managed to cut back on his drinking after receiving a reality check
‘I was told ”if you see one, act like a tree”, so I was helpless.
‘It could have killed her!’
Razor’s last reality appearance was earlier this year in Harry’s Heroes: Euro Having a Laugh in which doctors picked up a dangerous heart defect, forcing him to have a pacemaker fitted.
He’s since overhauled his entire lifestyle, which has meant cutting down dramatically on his alcohol intake which he’s found easier during Covid, as none of his pals are going out drinking.
Asked if he’ll feel tempted to drink more when social restrictions are lifted, he adds: ‘No, I’ve had a good innings.
‘In cricket terms I used to be a Twenty20 player and smash everything. Now I’m in test cricket and protecting my score.’
- The World According To Razor: My Closest Shaves by Neil Ruddock is published by Constable on October 29 (£20)