Keelan, Gunn, Woods... Krul’s achievement is being in the conversation as City’s best ever goalkeeper
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
It’s something that has been said for a while when people think about Norwich City. Throughout the years, despite differing spells of form, they always seem to have a dependable, quality goalkeeper.
Their latest is another to have adhered himself to the Canaries faithful. When Tim Krul arrived, his pedigree was obvious to everyone. Nearly 200 games played for Newcastle United, over 150 games in the Premier League, and he was a fully-fledged Dutch international.
Yet Krul probably epitomises the Canaries recruitment policy better than anyone else. Despite those achievements, he found himself at his lowest career ebb after suffering a major injury on an artificial pitch whilst playing for his country in 2015.
In a recent interview, Krul explained that Championship coaches had been told he wouldn’t last 10 games. Three years later, he is closing in on his Norwich City ton.
Krul’s performances have gradually improved, Daniel Farke is describing him as the best in the Championship and he has reclaimed his spot in the Netherlands national team.
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But how does he compare with the other five modern day goalkeepers to have racked up a century of appearances for Norwich City?
Whilst Krul doesn’t possess the longevity of a Kevin Keelan or a Bryan Gunn, in terms of quality, some City supporters believe he ranks amongst the best the club has ever had on their books.
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It isn’t just about shot-stopping ability, Krul possesses experience and game management in abundance. His communication is crucial to those young defenders who have developed in front of him.
Whether it be Ivan Toney’s header that he tipped away from goal, seemingly defying science in the process, or the penalties in that famous FA Cup victory over Tottenham Hotspur, the 32-year-old always stands up to be counted.
Keelan and Gunn provoke memories of a certain vintage, that famous night at Bayern Munich penned the latter’s name into City folklore. These column inches aren’t long enough to list his best saves or to do justice to his achievements.
Gunn played in Norwich City’s best side ever, in terms of league standings, and was a major protagonist in their European adventure in the 1993/94 season.
Keelan is City’s record appearance maker, was part of the side who made the League Cup final in 1970 and stood out in multiple seasons despite varying levels of success on the pitch.
The legendary goalkeeper made 673 appearances for City between 1963 and 1980, then moved across the pond to play for New England, Jacksonville and the Tampa Bay Rowdies. He was also the first goalkeeper to be crowned Player of the Season, an award that Krul is the holder of currently.
Chris Woods is another Hall of Famer at Carrow Road. The goalkeeper kept a clean sheet in City’s League Cup victory over Sunderland in 1985 as well as winning a second division medal a year later.
Like Krul, Woods was a popular figure with the supporters and played at Carrow Road for five years before leaving to join Scottish giants Rangers.
Andy Marshall continues to serve as a Marmite figure amongst Canaries supporters. Despite the affection over his time at the club, his crossing of the divide to join bitter rivals Ipswich Town has tarnished his City legacy.
Whilst a cameo in a charity match a couple of years ago helped to repair broken bridges, Marshall’s time with City isn’t remembered fondly due to the manner of his exit.
Although, clearly Marshall was a talented goalkeeper. He displaced the great Gunn and was nurtured in the Canaries academy. He went on to make nearly 200 appearances for the club before joining the Tractor Boys.
In terms of quality, few rank higher than Robert Green.
Not only does he have 12 international caps for England to his name, but Green also made over 200 appearances for the Canaries between 1999-2006.
Green was a major player in the City squad that reached the play-off final in the 2001/02 season and kept 18 clean sheets in their title-winning campaign in 2003-04.
The impressive nature of his City performances led to his first international call-up against Sweden in 2004. The news was announced over the PA system at a City game, much to the joy of the crowd.
The last goalkeeper to reach the century landmark is John Ruddy, who made 235 appearances for the club during a seven-year spell at Carrow Road.
Similarly to Krul, Ruddy’s start at the club wasn’t convincing. After a series of loans, Ruddy had finally found a home at Carrow Road.
Slowly but steadily, Ruddy found some form and made some tremendous saves to help City reach the Premier League under Paul Lambert.
City’s first year in the Premier League saw him impress and led to international recognition, before a nasty thigh injury hampered his progression on the pitch.
Ruddy was a key member of numerous eras at the club and experienced it all during his time in Norfolk. A popular goalkeeper, he was eventually let go by Stuart Webber prior to Daniel Farke’s appointment in 2017.
Krul has some serious and stiff competition to see off in order to be considered City’s greatest ever number one.
Despite spending such a short period of time at the club, the achievement is that he is even being mentioned in the conversation at all.