Notorious football hardman Neil “Razor” Ruddock claims reality TV saved his life.
The former Liverpool and England star believes he would be dead now had he not appeared on telly show Harry’s Heroes, which uncovered a litany of potentially life-threatening health problems.
Medical tests undertaken on the programme revealed Razor, 52, has an irregular heartbeat.
It led to him having a pacemaker fitted while he drastically cut down his alcohol consumption, which he admits had become a problem.
His heart also stopped during an emergency heart operation. His health was in jeopardy after years of going on huge booze-filled benders.
The ex- Premier League ace told Daily Star: “It’s fair to say going on the show probably saved my life.
“I’d urge people to get checked out, you could be a ticking timebomb. I didn’t feel bad at all but the full medical uncovered some serious problems.
“It was really scary but was the kick up the ass I needed.
“My party days are well and truly behind me now. Lockdown actually came at a good time for me because a lot of the temptation has been taken away from me.
“I don’t really miss it and Leah (Razor’s wife) is not a big drinker anyway. Now it is very much everything in moderation.”
Harry’s Heroes saw former football manager Harry Redknapp put together a squad of ex-England internationals before whipping them into shape for a comeback game.
All the players were weighed and had their bodies analysed.
Merson said on the show: “I’m scared, confused, frightened. With Neil, he’s a tomorrow man.
“Stop tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes. It doesn’t matter if you’re the richest person in the world or the healthiest, you only get today.”
Ruddock, who also played for West Ham United , later admitted that Merson’s frank words played a part in him cutting back on the alcohol.
Ruddock was renowned for his tough tackling during his playing days, and he was also part of a heavy-drinking Liverpool squad dubbed “the Spice Boys”.
Ruddock admits he and his teammates would go on the lash “win, lose or draw”, with older players leasing young players to “boost team spirits”.
But he admits the way 90s players behaved would be much more difficult to carry off in the modern day because everyone has camera phones to catch out stars when they are in the pub before a big match.
He added: “Nowadays players are all drinking water. I’m sure we would be a lot fitter if we were playing today.
“We used to go out every Tuesday without fail if we didn’t have a midweek match.
“We would say we had to go out to boost the team spirit.
“Now everyone has camera phones. They’re the new paparazzi!”
- Ruddock’s new book The World According to Razor: My Closest Shaves, published by Constable, is out now
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