Lee Camp: E-
I couldn’t possibly describe Lee Camp’s time at Sunderland as anything other than absolutely catastrophic, and even then I’m probably being a bit too kind to him.
Signed during a flurry of madness on winter deadline day, Camp arrived as the alternative to Leeds United’s Andrew Lonergan, who we had chased for the last week or so of January before the deal fell apart just a few hours before the window slammed shut.
Camp’s debut against Ipswich will always stick out in my memory. I arrived at the Stadium of Light earlier than normal and watched him warm up, completely bewildered by the fact he was so small and struggled to get down to make even basic saves.
And things didn’t improve from there - he conceded a couple of sloppy goals on the day, and each and every week managed to outdo himself with further abject, morale-sapping performances between the sticks.
I’m sure he’s probably a nice guy, and that he was brought here with his undoubted experience as a Championship stopper in mind, but Camp will forever go down as one of the worst goalkeepers that this football club has ever possessed - and rightly so.
Robbin Ruiter: D
Of the three goalkeepers we signed this season I’d argue that Ruiter is probably the one that is about average standard at Championship level.
Alright, he made some absolute howlers during the early part of the season - those two free kicks at home to Millwall spring to mind - but generally speaking he wasn’t that bad... right?
He was impressive in the pre-season games against Scunthorpe and Bradford which saw him earn a contract, but with the overall morale of the team incredibly low his performances deteriorated as a result.
He’s been injured for much of the second part of the season and, though he has another year left to run on his deal, I don’t expect that he’ll stick around on Wearside. But still - I have a little bit more time for the Dutchman than I do his other two goalkeeping counterparts.
Jason Steele: E
In all honesty it’s difficult to separate Camp and Steele too much in terms of who has been worse this season - both men have, by and large, been absolutely horrendous and have cost us far more points than they’ve won us.
In fairness to Steele, though, he’s improved towards the end of the season and since being restored to the team after Camp’s horror-show down at Reading he’s looked fairly competent - and I don’t say that lightly.
In a season littered with horrific errors, Steele’s crowning moment was handling the ball outside of his area and earning himself a red card in the process down at QPR when we were very much in control of the game.
He’s got two years left to run on his deal and I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him - and bizarrely I feel conflicted. He’s done alright at the tail end of the season and it does make me wonder if he’d be alright in League One. Tin hat on!
Join us tomorrow as Jimmy Lowson brings you his grades for Sunderland’s defenders!