I feel for John Ruddy right now, I really do. He knows his horrible Halloween howler cost us the match, whilst also resulting in Russell Martin being sent off and now being banned.
Salt in the wounds after a gutsy, battling effort against the probable league champions come next May.
We’ve all been down in the dumps as a result of his error but just think how bad his weekend must have been!
As if that wasn’t enough pain and embarrassment for him to endure, Ruddy’s had to turn out in that dreadful grey and pink kit (sometimes all pink) this season. No one deserves that weekly humiliation surely?
The measure of a man (or woman) is how they conduct themselves in adversity. I expect Ruddy will knuckle down, not feel sorry for himself and come back fighting.
It was gut-wrenching and avoidable, but in the words of that eminent Greek philosopher Stavros the Obvious, “s*** happens.”
At the moment, the brown stuff seems to be flying in our direction more than anyone else apart from Chelsea and Villa maybe – some small comfort along with Ipswich’s mid-table struggles.
Until some fiendishly unflappable robotic invention replaces the human being between the sticks, keeping bloopers will happen.
All keepers have done it. Joe Hart did it just five or so minutes before after all. Fortunately for him, he did it with enough time left for his team mates to ship him out of the spotlight, whilst also redeeming himself with a blinder to deny Olsson at the death.
Lest we forget that England’s number 1 had a similar sticky patch to Ruddy’s current one a couple of seasons back and found himself on the bench. It doesn’t seem to have done him any harm.
Similarly, Simon Mignolet at Liverpool was on the end of some fearful flak this time last season, got benched and has come back stronger.
And how about Manuel Neuer’s last minute flap which handed Arsenal victory recently? Best keeper in the world.
I’m sure if we had the time and inclination to trawl back through grainy archives, we’d come across similar stuff-ups by the likes of Gordon Banks, Peter Shilton and Pat Jennings.
I have seen YouTube footage of a track-suit bottomed Kevin Keelan making a dreadful balls up in an early 70s match at Molineux. I’m sure it wasn’t the only one.
Back then of course, keepers didn’t have to suffer the 24-hour multi-media circus, endless post-match analysis and instant online onslaught that their modern equivalents do.
Ruddy has made some magnificent saves this season – that needs saying. Those saves have kept us in those games even if subsequent errors by defenders have undone his best efforts.
But coupled with the gift presented to West Ham in combination with the much discussed defensive frailties, a shake up at the back is on the cards.
It probably is time for Declan Rudd to get that bloody awful grey and pink outfit against Swansea but we all hope that Ruddy will come back better and stronger if the bench does indeed await him for a few games.
Rumours of a possible move to Chelsea for Ruddy last summer were rife. With their current implosion, that may have been a lucky escape for him.
Right now, his career at Carrow Road lies on a cusp – a similar cusp maybe to that of another former Canary keeper: Robert Green.
Green was on the whole, superb in his time for City. First choice for five full seasons – albeit only one in the top tier – he chose to move from Norfolk to the gold-paved roads of the capital.
Along the way, he has suffered the slings and arrows of multiple promotion/relegation campaigns along with a faded fledgling England career. Not unlike our John?
Whatever he does before hanging up the gloves for good, Green will never quite shake off that ‘butterfingers’ label gained after allowing Clint Dempsey’s shot to slip through his grasp and deny his country victory in the World Cup opener of 2010.
Like Paul Robinson before him, one very costly cock-up effectively signalled the end of Green’s part on the international stage. And yet, both recovered to cement themselves as the number one at their respective clubs.
Ruddy’s chances of adding to his second half appearance in a friendly against Italy (he kept a clean sheet) are increasingly slim with the stellar form of Jack Butland and the eventual return of former City loanee Fraser Forster.
However, he remains the Canaries’ number one keeper. That doesn’t mean he’s infallible and shouldn’t mean he’s undroppable.
The next move of course belongs to Alex Neil. He has shown a largely unshakeable faith in the boys who got us to the minefield of the Premier League.
Ruddy will be working his proverbials off at Colney knowing full well that his understudy is sniffing around harder than ever for his position.
Whoever gets the Neil nod, we should bear in mind that either keeper, and for that matter any keeper in the country, is but a fraction away from calamity at any given moment under the spotlight.
Who’d be a keeper?