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Pastures new makes sense for Norwich City fan Declan Rudd

Declan Rudd has agreed to join Preston North End.  Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Declan Rudd has agreed to join Preston North End. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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When Declan Rudd spoke to fans in one of the hospitality lounges ahead of a game at the end of last season, it was clear he felt his future was at Norwich City.

It was his club, his time to shine. John Ruddy – with whom he had one short sharp battle for supremacy - was leaving, and the apathy surrounding Michael McGovern suggested a door had opened large and wide for Rudd to step through.

Within a few weeks, though, it became clear that Rudd had been offered a new deal for one reason only: to get a fee for him. That much was clear when Angus Gunn was signed on loan from Manchester City. You do not sign players from clubs like that just so they can get a pitchside seat every Saturday afternoon.

Football is business, and in business there is no emotion.

Whether Declan would have made top billing even without Gunn is debatable – only Daniel Farke knows the answer, but the 26-year-old won’t be the first local lad to have put down his Canary-crested gloves to find his fortune elsewhere – in his case, Preston North End.

His contemporary, Jed Steer, had to do the same – he and Rudd had a Ray Clemence-Peter Shilton relationship. Two good young keepers going head to head – except in their case whoever triumphed still had someone else above them to conquer.

Joe Lewis didn’t play a senior game for Norwich, despite coming through the ranks, and was sold to Peterborough United, who paid a club record fee £400,00 for the local lad in 2008.

Others have fallen by the wayside – with fans never really knowing whether or not they were any good.

Many moons ago Stephen Arnold and Arran Lee-Barrett made it into the squad list, but, Lewis, Steer and Rudd aside, there have been very few Academy products who have even come close.

For a club that has a terrific reputation for the quality of its goalkeeping ranks, there is a paucity of home-grown products: Rob Green is the last.

Before him it was Andy Marshall.

And before him? Well, it was another Gunn, Bryan. We have come full circle, sort of.

Sadly for Rudd, he will go down as another one whose dream was taken away.

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