Alan Hudson was born 21 June 1951 and played for Arsenal for two seasons. Although he left us after arguments with the management he did bring an extra flair and solidity, if not stability, to a side that was starting to exert its presence once more thanks to the extraordinary development of Liam Brady.
He was born in Chelsea, initially rejected by Fulham, but then signed by Chelsea and started playing with them on 1 February 1969 (in a 5–0 defeat to Southampton).
He developed himself as the playmaker but ultimately left as Chelsea’s mismanaged finances forced the sale of several key players. Hudson fell out with Dave Sexton, the manager, and he left in January 1974 for Stoke City.
The Stoke of the 1970s was nothing like that which Stoke became in the 21st century, and Hudson took creative control of the side. But by then everyone knew that Hudson was consuming a lot of alcohol and establishing himself as a night club man. What he needed was a Wenger type manager who could take him in and sort him out in the style of Wenger’s work with Adams but Stoke’s 23 games undefeated at home meant that such issues were ignored as Stoke finished four points behind Derby who won the title.
But then Stoke’s chronically underfunded (and seemingly under insured or uninsurable) Victoria Ground was damaged in a storm, and with the insurance not paying out Hudson was sold to Arsenal for £200,000.
He was part of the team that reached the FA Cup Final which we lost to Ipswich in 1978.
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Since Arsenal were not about to get into financial troubles as Chelsea and Stoke had, it was arguments with Terry Neill that cut short Hudson’s time at Arsenal and he was sold to Seattle for £100,000 and then on to Cleveland.
He went back to Stoke with that club’s brief hint of glory long behind it and relegation threatening. They survived in 1983/4 but were relegated in 1984/5 with just three wins all season, and 33 points away from safety, but by then Hudson had retired.
Internationally Hudson did not handle matters well, refusing to play with the under 23 side. He did however play two games under Revie for England.
Since leaving football the problems with alcohol has continued and he was declared bankrupt. He suffered a extremely serious accident when a car hit him while he was walking, and had multiple operations since then after two months in a coma. As a result he is now disabled, and he has commented that he believes that the “accident” was an attempt on his life. However his autobiography The Working Man’s Ballet (named after a phrase applied to the Stoke team in which he played first time around) was a success and gave him work as a newspaper columnist. He has since published two more books.