Saddened to here the news about the passing of John Ridley. He played alongside both Gordon Banks and Gary Lineker, two of the greatest players to have appeared for Leicester City FC.
Ridley had a short stay at Leicester City joining the club from Port Vale in 1979 for a fee that at the time was a record sale at Vale Park, Jock Wallace paying £55.000 for his services. A number of the games he played for Leicester City were shown live on TV in Norway during a winter when most games were postponed, but because of the famous pitch tent covering Filbert Street, games could be played.
John Ridley did play in teams with teenagers such as Gary Lineker, David Buchanan and Andy Peake. He also featured in that special FA Cup game v. Norwich City in 1979, winning 3-1, but did not get the headlines, those were taken by Keith Weller who appeared in his special white underwear and put on one of his extraordinary performances.
Before appearing with the likes of Gary Lineker and Keith Weller, John Ridley also played alongside the great Gordon Banks during a spell with Fort Lauderdale Strikers being in a team managed by Ron Newman. This gave John Ridley a chance to perform in football among World stars of the game.
To be in the same team as Gordon Banks must have been a thrill, and to be “the bridge” at Leicester City between three different eras playing alongside Banks, Weller and Lineker makes John Ridley unique in that way.
During his loan stay with “The Strikers” he also played alongside legends such as George Best and Ian Callaghan, both being in the NASL at the same time. Ridley’s time with Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Leicester City might have been full of starry highlights but these few months did in no way represent his full career and as so many other great professionals Ridley never appeared in the top flight of English football.
Most of his years in football were spent over two periods at Port Vale, first from 1973 to 1979, and than coming back and playing from 1982 to 1985, adding up a total of 270 league games and scoring 5 goals.
John Ridley was also a teacher of math and did combine this with his love for football, being involved in his local area as a player and coach many years after finishing his Football League career. Again thanks for those fond memories and sad to see the passing of yet another Leicester City footballer, RIP John Ridley.