Often at this juncture – as weeks turns to days and then hours ahead of a Carrow Road derby – I’ll find an excuse to write a piece that is little more than a thinly veiled call to arms.
I’d trot out the usual lines and clichés around the opportunity that awaits, which “simply has to be grasped because it may not come along again anytime soon”, and probably chuck in a ‘carpe diem’ at the end.
I don’t suppose for one second it registers with anyone, but there’s definitely a cathartic element to it and if no-one else is fired up when those blue shirts clash with the green of the Carrow Road pitch, then at least I am.
But this derby feels different. Is different.
There is no need for talk of fire and brimstone, nothing to be gained by tub-thumping and certainly no need for Daniel Farke – accompanied by stirring background music – to recite Kipling in the moments before the players depart the dressing room.
In fact, the more Farke’s men are able to treat it as just another league game, the better.
What we actually need is for this week to be a week like any other, where the Colney routine differs not one jot from the one that has served them so well for the last six months. Tim Krul has already spoken of the intensity on display in the final training session before departing for Yorkshire – so another week like that will do nicely.
We can guarantee Stuart Webber and Team Farke will be doing everything they can to ensure this is precisely the case.
A local derby naturally demands nerve, cool heads and, when the situation demands, for tackles to be unflinchingly made. In other words, the exact same qualities displayed by Messrs Trybull, Vrancic and twelve of their mates in the white-hot cauldron of Elland Road last Saturday night.
Nothing that 2000+ from that “little corner of Norwich that will be forever Ipswich” can throw at them will come close to 35,000 spitting, seething Yorkshiremen collectively telling them to go forth and multiply.
Every game is different of course, every event is different, and Elland Road on Saturday night was an occasion like no other, but despite Sunday being one of those twice-annual events that stirs emotions that lay dormant for 50 weeks of the year, the same mindset and application is most definitely the order of the day.
No extra venom is required, no need for the veins in the neck to be bulging and certainly no need to for raw meat to form part of their pre-match meal. In the same way that being hyped and wide-eyed did Los Blancos no good whatsoever, Carrow Road on Sunday, while no place for faint hearts, will be a place for clear heads.
‘More of the same’ should, and no doubt will, be the message from Farke with there being nothing to be gained by the players getting wrapped up in the emotion a local derby naturally evokes.
Paul Lambert, on the other hand, and as described beautifully by Mick in his piece this week, will want quite the opposite. He wants it to be an occasion every bit as venomous and bristling as those previous two East Anglian derbies he was involved in. He wants it to be an afternoon over and beyond the norm at Carrow Road, where the venom and ire are directed at him and, in turn, deflected away from his players.
And, of course, there is the small matter of him positively itching to be given the treatment by the City faithful when he deliberately and provocatively goes out of his way to connect with said little blue corner. Expect fist pumps with maybe a thumping of the heart thrown in for good measure.
Quite whether those who see the crossing of the hard border, albeit via a tour of the country, as a heinous crime will be able to contain their wrath is debatable, but if there is one thing that would get under Mr Lambert’s skin it’s for him to be met with indifference.
But, infinitely more important than who is sitting in the opposition dugout and how he interacts with his new fan club, is our chosen XI in yellow going about their business as they have done successfully all season.
We do that, we avoid it becoming ‘a war’, we make it a football match and we win the match. Don’t we?
There is one thing that could throw a spanner in the works, and that’s the intervention of those little buggers sometimes referred to as the footballing gods – and I’ll be honest… I don’t trust them – but all we can do is trust Daniel and his men to deliver as they have done all season.
Not once have they let us down, even when we’ve lost the game, and I don’t see that starting on Sunday. For our part, we can make sure Carrow Road is bouncing… and not to Lambert’s tune, to Farke’s.
On the Ball City.