Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock has opened up on his antics against Manchester United during the mid-1990s.
Remembered as one of the toughest footballers of his generation, Razor Ruddock never met a challenge he didn’t want to throw himself into but there were a couple of individuals he didn’t look forward to confronting.
Ruddock has admitted that he was terrified of crossing paths with legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson after jokingly referring to the Scot as ‘Taggart’ when Fergie reacted furiously to an incident involving Mark Hughes.
The reference to the long-running Scottish detective series was appreciated by then-United captain Bryan Robson more so than it was by the then-Red Devils manager.
“I had a barney with Fergie – I kicked Mark Hughes on the halfway line at Old Trafford once, and Fergie came running – you know he used to come running onto the pitch?” Ruddock said on Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast.
“I said: ‘F*** off, Taggart.’ I just called him Taggart!
“I remember Bryan Robson coming up to me during the game saying ‘that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.’
“The changing rooms at Old Trafford, you used to turn right to go to the bath, and Fergie’s office was halfway up there, so I used to s*** myself walking up through there in case he’d come out and got me.
“I’ve never really been close to him after I called him Taggart.
“It was like going to school and keeping out the way of the headmaster with Fergie. He wasn’t even my manager and I was terrified.”
Ruddock also revealed how he used to wind up Eric Cantona during games between Liverpool and United.
Cantona famously used to turn his jersey collar up and Ruddock would attempt to get under his skin by repeatedly putting it down but when the offer of a physical altercation came from the Frenchman, ‘Razor’ enlisted the help of Reds goalkeeper David James to get him out of the situation.
“Eric Cantona used to wear his collars up, and I used to turn his collars down just to put him off,” Ruddock revealed. “He just wanted to fight me then, he didn’t want to play football, he called me a fat b*****d and said ‘I’ll fight you in le tunnel’.
“To be fair, he was bigger than me, and I was a bit panicky. At the final whistle, he shot off to the tunnel at the Stretford End.
“Of course, I’m walking after him, and I’m getting closer to him and I’m thinking ‘f*** me, he is quite big’.
“I started doubting myself. Then David James come and stood next to me, and Cantona’s effing and blinding.
“I’m looking to David James saying ‘you going to let him get away with that?’ And David James, who was about seven ft 10, chased Eric Cantona up the tunnel.
“I get to the tunnel and I’m going ‘where’s that French t***?’ I was going to tear his head off! Lucky enough, he retired after that season, so I never played against him again, thank f***.”