By Tony Jimenez
LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Former Chelsea and Arsenal playmaker Alan Hudson, who almost lost his life 17 years ago when he was hit by a car, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The 63-year-old ex-England international went straight to his doctor after only becoming aware of a health issue two weeks ago and is glad he took immediate action.
"It was lucky I went straight to see my GP," Hudson told Reuters in an interview on Friday. "It was one of those things that could have carried on and on.
"When I told my friend over the phone that I had prostate cancer I thought, 'Well, I've had everything else, why not this too?'."
Hudson was one of the finest midfield artists of his generation and a return of two England caps offers scant evidence of his high-class pedigree.
He helped Chelsea win the FA Cup in 1970 and the European Cup Winners' Cup a year later before going on to play for Arsenal, Stoke City and Seattle Sounders.
After debutant Hudson stole the show in a 2-0 victory over world champions West Germany at Wembley in 1975, visiting coach Helmut Schoen said: "At last England have found a replacement for Bobby Charlton".
Guenther Netzer, Germany's great midfield playmaker, added: "Where have England been hiding this player? He was world class".
Those days are just a memory for Hudson but he believes the high level of fitness he achieved during his football career was the reason he cheated death in 1997 when he was left in a coma for two months.
"The doctors said I had died once or twice, then they said I would never walk again, but I told them I would," said Hudson who has been in the operating theatre more than 70 times in the last 17 years.
"People don't really understand what I've been through. This is a new life of being disabled and I have had to come to terms with that and live with it," he added, referring to the accident he was involved in as a pedestrian on a London street.
"I'm not dramatising things but my playing and training saved my life. I trained every day right up to the day the car hit me," said Hudson.
"I had a three-hour session - two hours on the bike and about 2,000 sit-ups that very morning - and I think that sort of daily regime helped in my recovery."
Hudson now faces a new daily regime to fight his cancer.
"My old Stoke team mates Jimmy Greenhoff, Terry Conroy and Brendan O'Callaghan have already been on the phone," he said. "They wish me all the best but what can they do?".
Hudson is a wordsmith these days. He is the author of several books and is proud of the fact they are all his own work, achieved without the aid of a ghost writer.
His eBook 'From The Playing Fields To The Killing Fields' is a straight-talking account of his life.
Hudson has been advised by a specialist to have an injection that will reduce his tumour before undergoing two months of intense radiotherapy.
He said he knew he had a problem before he went to see his GP but now he seems more concerned with making sure the diagnosis he has received is confirmed by another specialist.
"I don't want people to feel sorry for me," explained Hudson. "I just want to make sure I get a second opinion so that I am doubly sure in my own mind what I have got.
"The first thing I thought when I heard the diagnosis was, 'Here we go, I've got another fight on my hands'." (Editing by Ed Osmond)