Ruud Gullit

Ruud Gullit - Former Footballer - After Dinner Speaker - Awards Host

Ruud Gullit started his football career in 1979 signing for the professional club Haarlem making his league debut at the age of sixteen. He went on to score 14 goals with the club and was voted the Second Division's player of the year in his first season. From there Ruud made his international debut, on his 19th birthday, in a 2-1 defeat against Switzerland in Zurich. In April 1982 Ruud signed for Feyenoord for £300,000.He scored his first goal for Holland in a 2-1 victory against the Republic of Ireland.

 

In 1983 Feyenoord signed Johan Cruyff and he inspired the team to the League and Cup double. Gullit played in his first European competition - the UEFA Cup for Feyenoord.

In 1985 Ruud moved on to PSV Eindhoven who went on to win the League Championships. Ruud played as a sweeper that season and scored 24 goals. In 1986 PSV again won the League title but Ruud was unhappy at the club and asked for a transfer. He was sold to AC Milan for a record £6.5 million.

In 1987/1988 AC Milan win their first League Championship in a decade. At the end of the season Gullit inspired the Dutch national side to victory in the European Championships. In the final Gullit scored one of the goals in the 2-0 victory over the USSR. He was voted World and European Footballer of the Year dedicating this to jailed African Congress leader Nelson Mandela.

Also with AC Milan Ruud went on to win the European Cup - scoring 2 out of the 4 goals in the game.In 1993/94 Gullit moved to Sampdoria, and then AC Milan re-signed him. However, before the World Cup in the USA, Gullit walks out of the Dutch training camp and retires from international football. He then rejoined Sampdoria and led them to victory in the Italian Cup final.

In 1995/96 Ruud was available on a free transfer and moved to the Premiership signing with Chelsea. He finished up runner-up to Eric Cantona for Player of the Year. At the end of the season manager Glen Hoddle left the club to become England Coach. Gullit took over as Chelsea boss. In 1996/97 Gullit is the first foreign manager to lead an England club to the FA Cup Final, where Chelsea beat Middlesbrough convincingly by 2-0.

Ruud left Chelsea in 1998 and went on to become the Manager at Newcastle United in 1999.

Despite leading them to an FA Cup Final, he had a poor spell in charge at Newcastle famously falling out with local idol Alan Shearer and leaving the club rock bottom of the league before quitting in 1999

Ruud has since continued coaching at various levels and is currently in the USA