The 23rd defender was no longer the field man on the field, but was still the savage man, drinking as if there was no tomorrow. It was perfect for TV.
With Razor as leader, some of the best players in England have tried to sneak in for a drink under the watchful eyes of coach Harry Redknapp and his assistant John Barnes.
It was a lot of fun… until it wasn’t.
Being part of Harry’s Heroes in 2019 would prove to be a lifeline for the father of four razors, now 52 years old.
The show’s health reports revealed that he was so unhealthy that he could have died instantly.
Razor has since had a pacemaker installed and his resting heart rate is now less than half its speed.
The 6-foot-2 player also lost three stones, cut down on alcohol and cigarettes and is addicted to walking on the beach near his Kent home.
Razor has been the dream of program creators, bringing his outgoing personality to I’m a Celebrity of 2004, CelebrityBig Brother in 2013 and Celebrity MasterChef of last year, where he reached the final.
But the former Liverpool defender will never be good enough to participate in other reality shows.
Razor said, “I was asked to do it strictly but with my knees and my arthritis, I wouldn’t last two minutes.
“And Dancing On Ice and The Jump – I couldn’t do things like that. ”
Razor’s health problems were revealed in 2018, during the filming of the first series of Harry’s Heroes.
He said, “We all had a belly and I felt a little tired.
They took me for a service – complete oil change – in London, and they discovered that my cholesterol level was rising.
“So I had to change my diet, take a few pills, and, you know, I just got back to normal.”
But during the filming of the second series, Euro having a laugh, Razor was informed that he needed a pacemaker and the program continued to pay for a private operation near his home.
Razor’s fights with alcohol are well documented.
He admitted to being a heavy drinker and said that one of his worst sessions had seen him eat six pints of lager with a double gin and tonic chasers, three bottles of wine and four brandies.
He said, “At worst, I was crazy. I made three or four bottles of wine a day, easy peas, plus spirits, beers and cocktails. ”
Razor endured a 30-day period of sobriety after his first visit to rehabilitation nearly 20 years ago, but fell from the car 12 months later.
He decided to “trust himself,” but that slowly led him to drink at least seven pints a night plus spirits – and two packs of cigarettes a day.
When he came out of rehab in 2005, his 16-year marriage to his first wife Sarah had collapsed due to his alcoholism and a series of problems.
Shortly after, he met the current wife Leah Newman, 38, whom he repeatedly credited with saving his life by forcing him to lead a healthier life.
In the second series of Harry’s Heroes, Razor received some home truths from his old friend and former Arsenal hero, Paul Merson, who also battled alcoholism and gambling addictions.
This led to an explosive line when Merson told Ruddock that his drinking was “out of control” and likely to kill him.
Razor said he and Merson, 52, are now best friends again and talk on the phone all the time.
And they replaced alcohol addiction and betting with walking and exercise.
Razor laughed: “They are two addictive personalities.
He’s just addicted to walking now.
“I don’t know if it’s in your genes but I don’t think you are planning it.”
You don’t think, “Okay, when I finish football, I’m going to start playing a lot” or “I’m going to start drinking a lot”.
“Some people don’t do it halfway.
But some people are luckier than others and the drink or the game does not grab them. ”
Ruddock has spent his 18-year career in Millwall, Tottenham, West Ham and Southampton as well as in Liverpool.
It was capped once by England in 1994.
The uncompromising defender was once voted the 17th toughest footballer of all time – but was disappointed not to have reached the top 10.
He didn’t just let his boots speak on the pitch.
Once, in Liverpool, Ruddock responded to the taunts of Manchester United player Eric Cantona about his weight by lowering the collar of the Frenchman, whom he wore famous.
But Razor thinks that today’s footballers are “soft” and prefers to watch reruns of matches from the 80s and 90s.
He said of modern players, “I think they’re all sweet now and that’s the mentality of the game – that’s how football has changed.
It is a contactless sport. They are much fitter and skillful now, but that is the big change in football. “
But Razor, who has daughters Pebbles, 13, and Kizzy, nine, with Leah, with Josh, 30 and
Millie, 28, with his first wife, himself has a confession: he is now a big softie.
He said, “I cry when good things happen, like I see the Olympics and someone wins and they do their best, I’m in tears.
“Surprise, Surprise with Cilla Black when someone came who hasn’t seen their daughter for 20 years, I was in tears. “