John Ridley came late to the professional game, having gained a degree at Sheffield University and qualified as a teacher.  The tall, Consett-born centre half joined Port Vale - local to his teacher training college - in July 1973 and amassed 149 full league appearances for the Valiants in this spell, before Leicester City were persuaded to offer £55,000 for him in 1978. His Filbert Street time was unahppy, although he played 17 games for the Foxes, and he was on his way to Chesterfield for £35,000 within a year.

A powerful, dominating type, he nevertheless had a calming influence and elegant touch to his play.  He and Bill Green formed an awesome central defence, but John was equally adept in a midfield role.  A member of the club's Anglo-scottish Cup side, he left in the summer of 1982 as Chesterfield's financial crisis deepened, returning to Port Vale, who he helped to promotion from Division Four.

As his football career moved into its final phase he filled a number of coaching posts at such clubs as Stafford Rangers, Matlock Town and Newcastle Town.  John became a maths teacher in Stoke.

For Chesterfield: 121+3 FL appearances, 8 goals.