We got in touch with Lawrie Dudfield, for an exclusive Q & A, talking with him about his life in the game and of course his relation and early career at Leicester. Again great to get a nice talk with another former player at our favourite club.
When joining Leicester from Kettering, did you have any other offers and what made you decide to join?
I also went to Luton Town around this time and had offers to go to meetings at 5/6 different clubs but once I went to Leicester City I knew it was the right decision for me. Bob Mullan also departed Kettering Town for Leicester City at the same time (Academy recruitment role) so I knew I was in good company as Bob was a huge part of my development.
You joined at the age of 17, how long did it take before you got a chance in the reserves, and was it any good words from Martin O’Neill along the way towards your first team debut?
I joined at 17 so went from first team football in the conference to playing u19’s each week which was a transition for me but great for my development. I got a chance in the reserves around 3 months later and in those days we had Monday night football so he around 4,000-10,000 people at each reserve game which always made us special. We once actually played Liverpool reserves and had 22,000 there! Regards Martin O’Neill I couldn’t speak more highly of him. His man management was exceptional and he was a huge part in my development into the first team squad.
What is your best memory from your playing days at Leicester?
A few memories stand out. I’m a west ham fan and we played a very strong reserve team and won 4-2 in which I scored 2 and set 2 up. As mentioned above we played Liverpool in front of 22,000 and Robbie Fowler and David James played and I managed to score which was a fantastic atmosphere. But without doubt the highlight was my premier league debut against Everton in April 2000! 4. What made you decide to leave? Martin O’Neill left for Celtic at the end of the season that I had made my breakthrough. Peter Taylor had come in and although we got on great I wasn’t for him as a player. He just didn’t take to me and brought others in who at the time I felt I deserved a chance. As a result I felt the need to leave to get more first team football.
You joined Hull City and Brian Little, what made you decide to move down the league tiers to join The Tigers?
They contacted Leicester and made a club record transfer offer for me and from the moment I met Brian Little and Adam Pearson (the chairman) then I knew that moving to a progressive club like hull was the right move for me. I was 20 and needed to be playing regularly.
You played for a number of clubs during your days in professional football, any special goal or happening that stands out?
Yes strangely 3 days after both of my daughters were born I scored last minute winners in games for Southend (Evie – December 2004) and Notts County (Izzie – September 2006).
They were lovely moments which I’ll never forget. And obviously my premier league debut for Leicester city, every young persons dream. I’m very thankful.
The only club you played for at the highest level was Leicester, how do you follow the club today and how did you experience the 2015/16 season. Do you have any connection to any players from your time here, and when was your last visit back?
I’m lucky that I’m still involved in football so I get to go back to Leicester city quite a lot despite living full time in the United States. I followed the 15/16 season very closely and was very happy for the club.
There’s a lot of amazing people behind the scenes that never get the credit and I was so happy for them all. They deserved it.
I still keep in touch with a number of former players such as Matt Elliott and Steve Guppy and actually met Gupps in Tampa last month as he is the assistant coach of Nashville SC in the MLS.
Both Matt and Steve are Great guys! Also I recently saw Matt Piper, we grew up together in the youth team so it was great to catch up with him.
I was very proud of him for the career he had he was just so unlucky with injuries. A very talented player!
You had a good travel around at clubs of the 3rd and 4th level. It must have been interest from higher levels, did you ever come close to a move back to a higher level?
I did actually. 3 months after I moved to Hull City, Sheffield Wednesday offered £500,000 for me, but I was so happy at Hull and I’m a very loyal person. I felt Hull had taken a chance on me and I wanted to repay them.
You later played against and probably also with a number of players from your days at Leicester, do you have any special memory of good relations on the pitch or coming up against some of your former teammates that is worth a laugh and a mention?
Absolutely. I was at Southend United with Spencer Prior and we got promoted so that was special time in my career.
Not long ago I also saw Martin O’Neill for the first time in 20 years. He was in charge at Forest and we had a team traveling from the US playing their academy.
Unbeknown to me somebody at the club mentioned to him that I was there and he invited me in for a cuppa and a chat, it was a lovely moment.
That’s the kind of guy Martin is. I’m very thankful to him for everything. I got to experience some of the best things in my life during those four years at Leicester City!
You are still involved in the game, what made you start your own company and how did that idea come around, any special people that you would mention, opening doors and giving you good advice?
I’m very lucky that I am still involved within football. The game has given me a lot and my business now enables me to give back.
We run tours from around the world to the US so we visit Premier League teams, stadiums etc, play against them and have real behind the scenes experiences.
I started it as I remember going to Holland with my club team when I was about 13 and I had the best time ever!
I wanted to bottle that up and give youngsters from around the World the opportunity to experience what I did, plus lots more!
In my opinion I have the best job in the World as it never feels like a job!
Regarding people that helped along the way, way too many so I’ll probably miss some out but; Bob Mullan (Kettering and Leicester) Keith Massie (Coach at U13) David Nish, Nev Hamilton, Martin O’Neill and Brian Little.
They all thought me most important the value of being a good person and that there is no substitute for hard work.
There was far more better players than me as a kid but not many that would run through a brick wall to get to where I wanted to be. Quite often that’s the difference.
Full Name: Lawrie Dudfield
Date of Birth: 07.05.1980
08.04.2000, Everton (H)
League games, 2 Goals, 0
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