ON September 28, 1998 Rod Ruddick sent a fax to Southampton Football Club titled “players recommended to sign”.
One of those names was Gareth Bale.
Mr Ruddick had travelled to watch him play in Newport and soon saw Bale “just running at people”.
In an interview with a national newspaper, he says he then approached Bale’s parents but moved away quickly after their getting number for fear of another scout clocking Bale.
Bale joined Southampton's satellite academy in Bath and went on to make his first-team debut for the club aged 16.
Just over a year later he moved to Tottenham Hotspur for £5m.
The rest, they say, is history – if you can forget his £85m fee when he signed for Real Madrid.
Bale now hopes to finish his first season with a Champions League winner's medal to go with the Copa del Rey he won last month.
Bale has never forgotten who it was who signed him.
In his first interview after signing for Real he said: “Rod Ruddick, the Southampton scout who spotted me at the age of nine, believed I would make it,” he said.
The man responsible is modest about his spot.
He said he was convinced Bale "had everything to be a great player" but that he doesn’t want to be the one who discovered Gareth Bale.