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Stoke great Hudson loves Fulham

last updated Monday 10th October 2011, 3:44 PM

 Fulham fan Alan Hudson
Fulham fan
Alan Hudson
We all know Alan Hudson's name has long been linked with Chelsea and Stoke City thanks to his exploits in the Smoke and the Potteries.

But lesser known, perhaps, is that his first love was actually Fulham.

Fulham are at Stoke next week and their very name still stirs emotions in Huddy - some 50 years after he once dreamed of pulling on their famous white shirt.

The former City favourite, who will be guest-of-honour at a sportsman's evening the night before next Saturday's clash with Fulham, still waxes lyrical with a mixture of affection and regret about his early love affair with the Cottagers.

 Fulham legend Johnny Haynes
Fulham legend
Johnny Haynes
Johnny Haynes
"My dad Bill was Fulham born and a Fulham fan," recalled Hudson, pictured below, "and was a good player himself who could have played.

"He met my mum and moved to Chelsea, but he was always a Fulham fan from a family of Fulham supporters.

"I wanted to play for Fulham and be the next Johnny Haynes. I saw him play as a kid and later became friends before his untimely death.

"I remember later in life being at a dinner when Johnny was on the top table with Jimmy Greaves and others like Terry Venables and Bobby Robson.

"Like Jimmy Greaves, if you told Johnny what a great player he was he would get embarrassed. Anyway, that night I shook his hand and asked him for his autograph.

"He said 'you're joking aren't you?'

"I then said I always wanted his number 10 shirt at Fulham, but I ended up getting Jimmy's number eight at Chelsea."

Huddy rarely speaks with such admiration and affection as he does about Haynes, the first £100-a-week footballer in England, who now has a statue outside Craven Cottage which is revered rather more than the Michael Jackson figure just around the corner.

"He's one of the most under-rated players," said Hudson, "and he could have probably gone on to any club in the world, including the great Real Madrid at that time.

"But he would never leave Fulham because he loved Craven Cottage and he was idolised there.

"I remember Rodney Marsh once telling me the story of when he was at Fulham and went out on to the pitch for a fitness test on the Thursday before a game on the Saturday.

"He said he threw the ball and went to run after it when the groundsman came over and said he couldn't play on there before a game.

"He said 'there's only one man allowed on there and that's Johnny Haynes'."

So how did the Fulham-loving Hudson end up plying his trade instead in another corner of west London at Chelsea?

"My dad took me to Fulham at 12, but they said I was too small. My dad hated doing it, but he then took me to Chelsea and they took me on.

"I remember being on a train a few years later when Bobby Robson, who was then Fulham manager, was also on it.

"My dad told him to go and watch a kid he had seen, but Robson never did. Then the next year, Chelsea went to watch a game at Cambridge to watch one kid, but came back with another. It was Ian Hutchison, the same kid my dad had been on about.

"So just think, if things had been different, Fulham could have had me, Hutch, Marsh, Johnny Haynes and Malcolm MacDonald. And then later on George Best and Bobby Moore."

Such tales will be in abundance next Friday (7.30pm) at the North Stafford Sports Club near junction 15 of the M6 at Butterton.

Source The Sentinel
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