Doug Rudhams retirement is linked with South Africa crisis

May 5, 1960
I am able to disclose to-day the reason behind the retirement from football in this country of 33-years-old Doug Rudham, third of a line of famous South African goalkeepers here – the others were Arthur Riley and Dick Kemp – and one of the finest sportsmen it has been my privilege to know. His decision, linked, as one would expect, with the critical position in South Africa, is one any one of us would have made in similar circumstances.

Rudham told me: “The sequence of events at home has been worrying me. My people are living in Johannesburg and so are my wife’s and I feel it would be better if I were there. There has been a lot of criticism in Britain of South African policy and I don’t like it. Every day when I open papers and read the headlines someone is giving me a knock. An Englishman would feel as I do if things were the other way round. There is no lack of critics of South African policy, yet half the people here don’t know the situation as it exists.”

Never met their like.
Rudham sails for home before the end of the month leaving his partner in a Liverpool printing business, Tony Rowley, of Tranmere, to carry on. His views on Liverpool football fans, on the value of his experience here over the past six seasons and on his severe standards of his own performance are as plain-spoken and fair as his opinion on apartheid.

He says: “I shall always be grateful to the wonderful Liverpool people. I have never before met their like. I have learned how loyal and good they are to their clubs. There is not elsewhere in the world the sincerity I’ve found here. Even in business … I wouldn’t have missed my stay here and if I’d gone back home without a penny I should say that it had all been worth while.

“One thing I may have done. I may have taken my job as goalkeeper at Anfield too seriously! I a built that way, I cannot help it. Every time a ball has been put past me I have felt I should have stopped it; that I was letting down the lads in front and that I was letting down those grand sports on the terraces.”

Rudham the most modest, the most gentlemanly of players will be remembered, as were Arthur Riley and Gordon Hodgson, as adornments to British soccer. A pit he must go.
Among his well wishers will be one incapacitated war veteran who would not have seen the Liverpool v Manchester United cup-tie this season if Doug had not heard his plight and promptly sent him a stand ticket free of charge.

That was a characteristic gesture.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: May 5, 1960; via © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited, written by Leslie Edwards.


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