‘Paul could lose his temper’ - John Ruddy reflects on the Lambert years at Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
John Ruddy is targeting a third Championship promotion with new club Wolves but still has a soft spot for Norwich City.
The former England keeper is flying high at the top of the early standings, after joining the Molineux outfit in the summer following his surprise release from Carrow Road.
Ruddy was a cornerstone of City’s Championship-promotion successes in 2011 and 2015 and went on to represent England in a seven-year stint at the Canaries.
The 30-year-old, interviewed for a Football League Q&A, revealed a Paul Lambert rant remains one his funniest moments in the game.
“Paul could lose his temper when he needed to,” he said. “He came in, I think we were losing at half-time and he wasn’t happy. He smacked the tactics board which was on a tripod. It hit the back wall, bounced back and hit him on the back.
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“It was one of those moments where he was so wound up that he wanted to hit it again, but he realised what would happen again.
“As soon as it happened, everyone’s heads just went down because they knew that if they looked at anybody, they were going to start laughing. You knew someone was going to laugh if you looked up and you didn’t want it to be you.
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“Or another time when Paul lost his temper and threw his jacket at the kit-man. The zip caught the kit-man on the cheek and he had a scar there for a couple of weeks.
“Paul would laugh about it later, but never in front of the lads. He would make sure that he was 100% business.”
Carrow Road was also the venue for Ruddy’s most embarrassing moment.
“Goalkeepers always have moments which leave you wishing that the ground would swallow you up. I’ve had a few of those,” he said. “When I joined Norwich, we played Everton in our final pre-season game. Bearing in mind that I had just joined from Everton, Tim Cahill had a shot from 22 yards which was a pea-roller. I went down to pick it up and I just did a Massimo Taibi (the Manchester United keeper who famously dropped a clanger in one of his few games at Old Trafford).
“It went through my arms and through my legs. It wasn’t really the welcome that I needed to try and win over the Norwich fans and it wasn’t the way I wanted to leave Everton.
“The only silver lining was that it didn’t cost us anything because it was in pre-season. It was nice to get it out of the way.”
Ruddy, who is poised to make his first competitive return to his old club later this month when Wolves travel to Carrow Road on October 31, has no regrets at snubbing interest from Chelsea in 2013 to stay with City.
“You look back on it and think, ‘Did I miss an opportunity?’ but these things happen,” he said. “You make your decisions on a feeling, not just on a professional level, but a personal level as well.
“Me and my family were extremely happy and settled. And having been at Everton for five years but never really been there because I went out on loan so much (to nine different clubs in five seasons), a settled base at Norwich and playing every week was more important to me than going somewhere just to be associated with a massive club.
“A lot of people would say I was crazy, but it was right for me at the time. I was 26 at the time Chelsea came in and still relatively young.”