Five things we probably already knew before Sunday’s derby but which became crystal clearThu 2 Mar 17 by Steve Cook
1) We’ve been spoiled
For all the talk of Ipswich not having beaten us since 2009, we’ve actually only played them in three of the subsequent seasons, albeit a total of eight times.
But prior to this year, the derbies have proven to be stepping stones on the way to promotion -significant both in the manner by which we have dominated the fixture but also the wider context of the results.
“Here’s Cameron Jerooooooome… and that’s Wembley”
With the play-off places inching away from us, on the back of our failure to dispatch the league’s lesser lights (such as Ipswich), Sunday’s match had the feel of two sides from the Championship’s barren wastelands playing for little more than supposed bragging rights and local pride.
That’s fine if you’ve spent fifteen years in the second tier and the derbies are the only things that make you remotely relevant, twice a year.
But Norwich started the season with far more important aspirations than laying claim to the title of ‘the Pride of Anglia’ – an accolade, that outside of our region, is like an argument between Dopey and Grumpy about which of them is the tallest dwarf.
2) You’re not famous anymore
Both sets of fans know the script.
Ipswich fans delight in pointing out that we didn’t match their achievements from over 35 years ago. We counter that with the reality check that they have become nothing more than a mediocre Championship club which can’t fill its stadium.
I don’t blame Ipswich fans for looking back fondly at better times – even if it was before the majority of them were born.
But Sunday saw claims that they are “still famous”.
Now in today’s society, ‘fame’ comes (and goes) in many different guises.
The supposed fame claimed by Town fans is the sort which is coveted by countless Z-listers on Celebrity Big Brother or on the pantomime stages up and down the country.
The fame enjoyed by those people, who once ‘went viral’ on social media and those who’s opening introductions invariably begin with “did I ever tell you about the time?”
3) Mick will always moan about money
My friend has got an Aston Martin.
Instead of moaning about this, I recognise that he earned the right to buy it by studying hard at university and then working his nuts off, whilst I spent a disproportionate amount of that time playing video games.
Sometimes in life, you reap what you sow.
City’s current financial position owes nothing to Russian rubles or Chinese cheques, but is a legacy of the efforts of Messrs McNally, Lambert and Holt.
It might not seem fair to all those Ipswich supporters who waved wads of cash in our faces and bragged about being ‘loaded’ when Marcus Evans took over.
But life isn’t always fair.
Just ask any of the small local businesses that received five pence for every pound they were owed by Ipswich Town following the club’s voluntary administration.
4) Some Dijks are bigger than others
Mitchell Dijks is a beast.
Seeing him on a football pitch is like going back to the school playground, when the lad in Year 3 gets his brother from Year 6 to join in.
Taller, stronger and faster.
The referee disallowed Mitchell’s second-half ‘goal’ for use of the arm. However, replays would suggest the ball actually came off his ‘aura’ and was therefore a perfectly legitimate strike.
The mantle of ‘greatest-ever-Dutchman-in-a-City-shirt’ is there for the taking, even if his stint at Norwich is short-lived.
With Derveld, De Waard and The Wolf for company, it’s perhaps not that difficult. Then of course there was Leroy Fer – whose finest performance in Norwich came on the dancefloor at his wedding.
But not since the legend of Huckerby, has a loan signing looked such a class above his peers.
He’s bigger and better and bound for bigger and better things.
5) You can’t take the hooligan out of the man, but you can face-plant it into the turf
I recently wrote a column on the little things that I appreciate about the match-day experience – the small moments that don’t make the TV highlights but bring a genuine sense of pleasure.
How could I have completely overlooked the glee of seeing an away fan being wrestled to the floor and then ejected from the ground by the ‘boys in blue’?
Or in Sunday’s case, the ‘boys in blue’ being ejected by the boys in hi-vis jackets.
Assuming that the two individuals who made that walk of shame will shortly be appearing in a magistrates court at a location near you, I imagine that the case for the defence will go something along these lines;
“Your Honour, Ipswich Town has endured many years of misery and mediocrity. When Jonas Knudsen opened the scoring at the stadium of their bitterest rivals, the defendants were simply overcome with emotion to the extent that they conducted themselves in a way which they fully accept was ill-befitting for men of their advancing years”.
The prosecuting barrister will stand and simply say
“The days of skin-heads launching themselves towards the opposition fans are long gone and a throwback to darker times. Such behaviour belongs in the past – much like your club’s achievements.”