John Ruddy follows in some illustrious boot prints at Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Everyone loves a goalkeeper – and Norwich City fans have been spoilt for choice over the years.
John Ruddy is the latest stopper whose name will be forever etched in the memories of Canaries supporters - and he follows in some illustrious boot prints.
Who can forget Ken Nethercott, whose career was ended after more than 400 games because of a shoulder injury during the famous FA Cup run of 1958-59? His place was taken by Sandy Kennon, who made more than 200 appearances.
The flamboyant Kevin Keelan was not only an outstanding keeper but holder of some amazing career stats: he was twice named player of the season, he helped City to the First Division twice, played in two League Cup finals and was a league ever-present in five seasons. In all, he made a club record 673 appearances.
Bryan Gunn is an undoubted legend, while Chris Woods and Robert Green deserve honourable mentions.
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Where Ruddy will stand is anyone's guess given that football is a game overflowing with opinions. He has endured the highs and lows: promotion and relegation. In more recent times he has endured uncertainty over his number one position: by his own admission his form hasn't always been what he wanted, but he has managed to conduct himself with the dignity you would expect.
It's why he will, without a shadow of a doubt, be given a proper and deserving farewell tomorrow when the curtain comes down on City's season. It's not how he would want it: better the glory of a play-off final victory at Wembley perhaps – but if that was the case, well, he wouldn't be leaving would he?
There is unlikely to be a shortage of takers for Ruddy's services: it wasn't so long ago that Chelsea wanted him as their number two keeper and his career chart has not altered significantly since then: he wouldn't look out of place on a Premier League subs' bench, although he'd look much better between the sticks for 90 minutes.
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Will he do that in the top flight or is he destined to be a Championship keeper?
Whatever happens, you can bet he has been training all week so that he won't let the club down tomorrow.