Norwich City look to continue 11-year dominance over East Anglian rival


It’s the day that football fans circle on their calendar immediately after the release of league fixtures. Derby Day.

Whether it be the sense of nausea from the moment you arise out of bed, to the feeling of euphoria at full-time at having got one over your local rivals. It’s a set of matches that makes football what it is.

But when it comes to one particular derby, there has always been an aroma of exaggeration. From the increased police presence as you are made to follow a pre-determined route from the train station to the stadium, to the over-enforced identification protocols as away supporters enter through the turnstiles – the East Anglian Derby.

A derby which is referred to as ‘Micky Mouse’, ‘fake’ and even a ‘waste of time’ by supporters of either sides, the meetings between Ipswich Town and Norwich City are ones that are frowned upon by others but heavily anticipated by their own supporters.

But with such an innate history of animosity between the two sides, the reason behind such enforced security and safety measures is one that seems hyperbolic, let alone the decision to ban the sale of alcohol to Blues supporters at this weekend’s Carrow Road meeting.

It’s well-known that alcohol affects everyone’s mindset and often leads to poor decision making; but we also know that football fans will always want to have their allocated amount of booze before a game, making Sunday’s meeting no different. Yes, four Ipswich Town supporters caused almost £6,000 worth of damage at the Norfolk fixture last season; however, that was a small minority in a crowd of over 2000 and they had drunk far too much alcohol but is a total ban of beer in the stadium the right answer?

It will only lead to supporters sinking cans of drink on the trains as they head across the Suffolk-Norfolk border rather than in the stadium concourses.

The police presence at the East Anglian derby continues to rise each season. Credit: Eastern Daily Press

Ten Town supporters were arrested in 2007 following an unprecedented moment of fan brutality as pride and passion clashed in unsavoury violent manners, but the two clubs hardly have an established core of football hooligans in comparison to clubs such as Millwall or Leeds United.

So, is there really a need for such a police presence and crackdown on the supporters attending tomorrow’s fixture?

It’s been a period of mass change for both sides since their first meeting this season. The Canaries have made themselves firm candidates for promotion to the Premier League since blitzing from their lowly league position having lost just twice since September 2 2018; meanwhile the Blues’ only three victories have come since then as they remain rock bottom of the Championship table.

However, with the Tractor Boys now under the helm of a manager whom has previously been accoladed as one of the greatest managers at Norwich City, the potential for trouble has increased. The Canaries could move two points clear at the top of the table and virtually hammer the final nail in Ipswich’s coffin of relegation should they win. A victory would be well and truly celebrated by Norwich supporters and antagonise the Tractor Boys.

But football is a weird game. The Blues may be winless over the eleven years since their last derby victory, a Norwich defeat which coincidentally consigned the Canaries relegation to the third tier, but who would have predicted that Paul Lambert’s Colchester United side would thrash the newly-relegated Norwich City 7-1 at Carrow Road on the opening day of the following season?

It may be a weak link in the relevance of Sunday’s fixture, but football supporters live in hope. It is the metaphorical oxygen that they survive on ahead of any league match and supporters of the Blue side of Anglia should be high on it as they head up the A140 tomorrow.

The odds may be stacked firmly against Town, but perhaps an against-the-odds victory in Norfolk could be the highlight in a depressing campaign.


About Author

When not busy covering local news for EssexLive, Matt Lee can be found in the press box at Portman Road covering Ipswich Town's return to the Championship and push for the Premier League.

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