RUDDY: We want promotion for Carl
THERE’S one date in John Ruddy’s diary and two others he’d like to pencil in. Definite is the evening of Tuesday, October 31. That’s when Ruddy goes back to Norwich, the club he left this summer after seven years.
The other two dates are less certain. But more important.
Ruddy wants fellow goalkeeper Carl Ikeme at the Wolves training ground as soon as possible.
Wolves to get promotion this season and for Ikeme to be at Molineux to see it happen.
Ikeme, 31, is currently fighting acute leukaemia, instead of taking on new boy Ruddy for the Wolves goalkeeping job.
Ruddy’s move had been set up before blood tests showed Ikeme had cancer, but the news was still raw when he arrived four days later.
“I thought I’d be rivalling Carl here for the jersey”, says Ruddy. “I have spoken to him since I’ve been here, just to pass on my best wishes. I thought that was the right thing to do.
“For a number of years, I have competed against him,
“I’ve got a lot of respect for him as a goalkeeper and as a guy. I said that in one of the first interviews I did when I came here, I wanted to say something.
“It’s heart-wrenching. It puts into perspective what life actually means.”
There was emotion all around Molineux before Wolves beat Middlesbrough on the opening day of the season.
In a video message, Ikeme thanked the fans for their support as he goes through his treatment and said he will see them soon.
Speaking this week amid the pitch noise, the banter, the everyday life of Wolves’ training ground that Ikeme will be missing, Ruddy said: “Myself and the lads are really hoping that Carl can make his way back down here at some point and give us the boost we need during the season.
“I think that’s what it would be, a massive boost for everyone. Probably Carl as well. I think he’s in good spirits, the treatment is going well.”
Out of the dreadful news from a routine day when Ikeme wasn’t feeling 100 per cent and went for some routine tests has come a crusade involving Wolves and Cure Leukaemia.
Fans are helping, too. There was a 24-hour penalty shoot-out next to the club shop that went on from 10am on Friday to 10am of the Boro game.
Steve Bull, former captains Karl Henry and Jody Craddock were all there and Craddock’s son, Toby, who has beaten leukaemia, took the last penalty.
Geoff Thomas, a Wolves man who kicked leukaemia out of his life, is backing the fund-raising and has been in touch with Ikeme. More than £70,000 has been raised so far and all goes to Cure Leukaemia.
Ikeme has the biggest game of his life to win and will then campaign for more stem cell donors because he has discovered there is a shortage.
Mila, Ikeme’s daughter, led the teams out last Saturday and, ahead of yesterday’s game at Derby, Ruddy said: “It reminds you of the good life we have.
“It was so inconspicuous the way he found out, just a couple of routine blood tests. Carl wasn't feeling well and all of a sudden he is in this situation.
“This makes you think ‘you know what, football is a wonderful sport but that’s what it is, it’s a sport’.
KEEPERS UNITED: John Ruddy wants Carl Ikeme, inset above, fit and well to challenge him for the No.1 spot. Insets, right: How the fans are showing their support