"Mr. Burns from The Simpsons" - Andy Griffin
Director of Football
Port Vale ('83-'99)
John Rudge was a former Centre Forward, and football manager. He was appointed Director of Football at Stoke City back in 1999. He turned down the same role for Port Vale after they sacked him as Manager, despite him being at their hot seat for 16 years.
He only ever managed Port Vale, but during his management career, he built up a reputation for spotting youthful talent and fruitful players. He brought in the likes of Marcus Bent and Anthony Gardner at the back-end of his Vale reign, and both are now at Premier League Clubs Blackburn and Tottenham. His signings have made healthy profits for Vale, but mainly gave the club that competitive edge where they achieved their most successful campaigns in their history. So much so that Sir Alex Ferguson quoted: "Every Port Vale supporter should get down on their knees and thank God for John Rudge".
Since he joined the backroom staff at Stoke, he has served under five different managers: Gary Megson, Gudjon Thordarson, Steve Cotterill, Johan Boskamp and current manager Tony Pulis.
But not all managers got on with Rudge. In November 2005, John had a fall out with then manager Johan Boskamp. Rudge made his way to Boskamp during the 2-1 win over Coventry City to offer his advice. However, it didn`t go down well with the Dutchman who took offence and reportedly said to the board 'either he goes or I go'. Boskamp gave the reason that Rudge had crossed the line and tried to undermine him, but Rudge maintains that Boskamp used the incident as an excuse to be paid off by Stoke, especially as the Dutchman reportedly couldn't handle the pressure.
Rudge was suspended twice by Stoke following fall outs with Boskamp. But with Boskamp's departure and the arrival of new chairman Peter Coates, Rudge was reinstated.
It hasn`t all been about bust ups however; Rudge has contributed greatly to new signings, training and scouting trips. His efforts behind the scenes, along with manager Tony Pulis`s and other backroom staff, Stoke achieved promotion with to the Premier League in the 07/08 season. This was the first time Rudge was in the top-flight since 1962.
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