John Ruddy explains awkward interaction with Birmingham City pitch invaders

The latest Birmingham City news as goalkeeper John Ruddy delivers his verdict on the Birmingham City protests amid a double pitch invasion.
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Birmingham City goalkeeper John Ruddy has “no issue” with the ongoing fan protests despite facing an awkward interaction with pitch invaders at the weekend. Losing their fifth successive game in the Sky Bet Championship, Blues struggled once to a 2-1 defeat as Preston North End went home with all three points.

John Eustace changed formation for the clash, going with a back four rather than a three, but this didn’t seem to make much of a difference as the visitors capitalised on Blues’ sloppy defensive errors. Birmingham were 2-0 down after just 15 minutes and they struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities until the dying embers of the fixture.

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Lukas Jutkiewicz scored with a header at the far post to bring a tense end but it was too little too late as Preston absorbed all - if any - of the pressure mounted upon them. Before the game’s end, with around a quarter of an hour left on the clock and with Blues still 2-0 down, two spectators entered the pitch and began running in circles around Ruddy.

It took at least 30 seconds for any involvement from stewards to get the pair off the field and by that point, they had already managed a short exchange with Birmingham’s goalkeeper. “I tried to shout to them to get off the pitch, and all they shouted was ‘we want our club back’. That indicates why they did what they did,” Ruddy said post-match.

“It’s something we can’t control and players, it’s something the manager can’t control. We have no effect on what happens above us at boardroom level, what we can effect is what happens on the pitch - and for the last two months, we haven’t been good enough. It’s as simple as that,” Ruddy continued.

Eustace’s side slumped to 19th in the league standings after yet another disappointing result and they are now closer to the relegation zone than the top half. Not too long ago, just before Christmas, Birmingham were looking up the table rather than down it with a distant hope of challenging for the playoffs.

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Blues had been so impressive and they were one of the best defensive teams in the entire division, but they now look an utter shadow of their former selves. That drop away in form would be enough alone to frustrate the St Andrew’s faithful, but an ongoing uncertainty surrounding the future ownership of the football club makes matters even worse. Ruddy is very aware of this and he has plenty of empathy.

“The fans have been exceptional with us as a team,” Ruddy added. “They have every right to voice their displeasure at what’s going on with their club - I have no issue with that. It’s never been reflected on us as players, they’ve been unbelievable with us this season. Ultimately, we’ve let the manager down these past few weeks. We’ve let the fans down as well.”

John Ruddy shouted at pitch invaders to get off, but their response gave Blues’ goalkeeper a full understanding of their actions.John Ruddy shouted at pitch invaders to get off, but their response gave Blues’ goalkeeper a full understanding of their actions.
John Ruddy shouted at pitch invaders to get off, but their response gave Blues’ goalkeeper a full understanding of their actions.

Birmingham will be glad to have a week or so away from Championship action as their next league fixture isn’t until February 4. There’s still a game to be played at the weekend - away at Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup Fourth Round - but a lack of midweek action gives Eustace and his men time to recuperate some energy somewhat.

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