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Neil Cartwright scores for Kidderminster Harriers, watched by teammate Jon Purdie.
PURDS BOOZE AND FOOTY
Giving you an insight into the realities of life as a journeyman footballer, highs, lows and regretting not
signing that contract that got offered at Arsenal Football Club. I’m a very proud father of two young men and I’m looking
forward to the future whatever it may bring.

Welcome To Purds Booze and Footy

A true story, giving an insight into the journey of a teenage football star with the world at his feet. From the realities of a life as journeyman professional player into non-league and Sunday football in under 20 years. Told with honesty, with lots of highs and lows and interesting anecdotes along the way.

Quote from Jon Purdie

“Football was my life from being a toddler. I would kick a ball around with my dad as soon as I could walk. At the beginning I suppose this was the same as millions of other lads with their fathers – all done for a bit of fun and to bond together. However it soon became apparent that I was born with a natural ability to kick a bag of wind around much better than most kids. I just loved football, playing any time I wasn’t made to do something else such as school or eating and washing. At the age of seven I was selected for the school team, playing with 10-year-olds. Although they were bigger than me, I was still quick enough to get away from them and score goals.”

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Testimonials

‘I first came across Jon in junior school football he was the small but stocky centre forward for Kingswood Juniors and me, from memory standing a good foot taller as the centre-half for Danesholme Juniors. I recall being briefed by our team manager to watch the “little-un” up front as he was described as a bit quick. It was also in the era where “getting one in early” was an option. Oh how I tried. I couldn’t get near the little bugger, not only was he a good footballer he could run like the wind as well. I  We then made our way to “The big senior school” where new friendships were made with those coming from other feeder schools. Much to my delight “The little-un” had moved up to the same school. We had, over the next 5 years a really close knit and well drilled side managed by Dave “Master” Bates as he was known. JP would score with great regularity and I think the regular winning convinced many of us we were better players than we actually were, that said we could all play and all had that little bit to bring to the team but JP really did turn a good side into a great one.'
Mark Dibs Davis(Kingswood Secondary School, District & County)
‘I am privileged & honoured to be asked to write a little piece for my old teammate as we both started our football journey at the same time from England Schoolboys to Arsenal. I remember meeting Jon at England Schoolboy trials and was amazed by his ability of ghosting past players like they weren’t there. Off the pitch he could be quiet or jovial but great to be around, which I liked...as I’m a quiet person and preferred to be in the background. The big disappointment for me is that he didn’t stay at Arsenal long enough to come through together with the rest of our group....Jon was special just like David Rocastle. Can you imagine Rocky on the right and Jon on the left - mind blowing artistry’. 
Michael Thomas(England Schoolboys & Arsenal)
‘Being brought up in Corby in the 70s and 80s, was interesting and lively to say the least. As my interest in football developed, I started to hear of someone a couple of years older than me, from the other end of town who was making quite a name for himself. ‘He’s in the England schools team and Arsenal and Man Utd are chasing him, he could do 100 keepie ups at 8. Wow that’s quality! But I was not surprised, Jon was a street player, kicking balls off fences, garage doors, annoying neighbours - that’s how footballers start. When he signed for Arsenal our playground was buzzing with it. The local paper had a write up about it too. All the lads and teachers at school thought this was brilliant, although none of us knew him then. One of our own, had signed for one of the biggest clubs in the land. That spurred me on. Our paths had not crossed yet, but Jon’s achievement helped me and others. Signing got him respect and it’s a respect that he still has within our home town’.
Lee Glover(Corby boy and Nottingham Forest)
'Jon and I became friends about 35 years ago before he became a pro and I have followed his journey since then. In my opinion he is the most talented footballer ever to come out of our home town of Corby. Perhaps, in hindsight – Arsenal and the bright lights of London wasn’t the best option for him with a lot of time on his hands. Jon would probably agree that he never reached his full potential and wasn’t helped in his early years by a few managers. Nevertheless he comes away from it all with many memories and stories which you will enjoy in the book. Jon has always been a top man and we have a lifelong friendship.'
Alan Wortley(Lifelong friend from Corby)
'Jon wasn't just a good player, although he was certainly that. Almost as importantly, and perhaps even more so, I soon found out that he was also a great bloke - a man who you could both turn to and rely upon, and those traits were invaluable to me in 1986 as I arrived as his captain and sought about turning around a sinking ship. Some 35 years later I am still proud to call Purds a mate. I noticed his footballing ability on my very first morning. Straight away I could tell he could play. He'd like to get it down and pass, he had a lovely touch, a change of pace and an eye for goal. In terms of ability he was a step above most of the group. I remember the good days as if they were yesterday with him at the fulcrum of what we were doing in a good dressing room which is paramount for success. We had it at the Albion under Johnny Giles and Ron Atkinson, and I'm happy to look back now and say that we had it at Wolves. I was proud to be Jon's skipper and I'm fiercely proud of what we did during those days in the mid-to-late 1980s. I'm also delighted to pen these few short words. Enjoy the book. And remember that without the likes of Jon, Wolves would never have got to where they are today.'
Alistair Robertson(Wolves)
'I first met Jon when I signed for Wolves, I didn’t know anyone at first and straight away he made me feel at home. He’s one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met as he would do anything for anyone and he has a great, very dry sense of humour. As for football he was one of the most talented players I’ve ever seen and believe me I’ve played with some great players. It’s a pleasure knowing Jon and his mum and dad, they should be proud of a great, funny guy and I’m proud to say that he’s one of my closest friends, top man Jon.'
Micky Holmes(Wolves)
‘What can I say about Jon….my career was going ok until Jon came into the team, then all of a sudden it went up another level – playing with someone that could do what he did with the ball at his feet. He knew exactly where to put the ball for me and other forwards to score. Jon was capable of changing any game and I’m privileged to have played with him and I’m pleased that we are still good mates now’.
Delwyn Humphries(Kidderminster Harriers)
‘Jon was a great fella and a very intelligent footballer and one of the most skilful players I had the pleasure of playing with, he knew when to dribble, pass and shoot and had two great feet. He always produced a moment of magic in a tight or big game when it was needed. The FA cup run in 93/4 was him at his best, he created and scored goals and we should have had a penalty against West Ham in the 5th round when he was brought down. It’s great to still be in touch after all this time.’
Richard Forsyth(Kidderminster Harriers)
‘As well as revering Jon as a supporter, I have had the good fortune to work with Jon during my capacity of helping to run the Wolves All Stars. Jon will always make sure he’s available for a good cause and his commitment has earned him a place on our committee. Has he got 90 minutes in the tank anymore, by his own admission probably not but there are still the glimpses of magic that were schooled at Highbury all those years earlier. Class is permanent’.
Jason Guy(Wolves All Stars Chairman and friend)
'I wasn’t at Wolves when Jon arrived as I’d not long left the club and we first met when we played for Worcester together. I later managed him at Bilston and then played together again for Wolves All Stars. Jon was a very cultured player who always seemed to go past players with ease, almost in slow motion but still no-one could get the ball off him. He was such a cool customer and I always thought Jon was an undercover black man due to his laid back nature on and off the pitch. He’s a fantastic guy to know, I’m glad we’re still friends and I have a lot of respect for him.'
Joe Jackson(Worcester, Bilston Town & Wolves All Stars)
'Both Jon and I grew up in Corby, a real hotbed for talented footballers in the late 70s and early 80s and we were no different. As I was two years older our paths rarely crossed in school or Sunday football but Jon’s name was on everyone’s lips at the time. He was a precocious talent that had flair and could score and assist goals with his youthful confidence in his own ability. His ability rightly attracted admirers and his performance at Wembley for England Schoolboys v Holland made out whole town very proud and gave Jon the pick of England’s top clubs to choose from and he chose Arsenal – a fantastic achievement for a little boy from Corby. We have become good friends and I’m delighted he is now helping me with a new generation of budding footballers at my Crystal Palace foundation academy.'
Eddie McGoldrick(Corby boy, Crystal Palace, Arsenal, Man City & Republic of Ireland)