Alan Hudson

The locally-born midfield prodigy made his February 1969 debut against Southampton in inauspicious circumstances.

Osgood, Cooke and Boyle had been dropped by Dave Sexton for preferring a liquid King’s Road lunch to training. Aged just 17, the Fulham boy was part of a side beaten 0-5 at the Dell.

After his next chance, a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane in August the same year, Hudson was hailed for being ‘busily deployed as an auxiliary at almost every point of activity’ – an early depiction of the versatile, roving approach that would soon make him a hero at the Bridge.

Athletic, technical and strong, with excellent decision-making for a youngster, Hudson was almost Brazilian in the way he could carry the ball great distances and find just the right weight of pass at the end of a run.

Still only 18, he played in every round of the 1970 FA Cup run up to the semi-final, but sadly an ankle ligament injury suffered at West Brom in March meant he missed out on the epics against Leeds United. He did, though, star in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup final and replay against Real Madrid a year later.

By 1971/72 Hudson was the complete, imperious midfield playmaker and much-coveted by other managers. One was Tony Waddington of Stoke City, surprise victors over the Blues in the 1972 League Cup final. A falling-out with Dave Sexton prompted Chelsea to cash in and Waddington swiftly took him to the Victoria Ground, much to the disappointment of those who hoped to see him in his prime at the Bridge.

Following moves to Arsenal and the USA, Hudson returned for a brief second spell involving no further first team action, though his support and advice for younger players was appreciated.

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