Mighty leaders are drawing up their plans, conferring with their generals, and assessing their armies as to fitness for battle as the dawn of the first part of the most awaited clash of 2023-24 falls nigh.
On one hand, sits Queen Delia, who has controlled the halls of NR1 since 1996 when the modern classic ‘Game of Thrones’ hit the bookstands. At this point in her tenure, it could be suggested that there was something prophetic in the title
Like the British Empire before it, the shine of her reign has diminished in recent months as a growing clamour among the general populace increases in volume, suggesting it is time for her to vacate the seat of power for a powerful mogul who can rain pounds and pence upon our club in order to find the right players to lead us to victory.
Opposite sits a newcomer to the throne of Portaloo Road.
Mike O’Leary heads the council of power and wisdom known as Gamechanger 20, seeking to restore their once-mighty club to its former glory and hoping to end the 14-year drought of enjoying a win against their greatest rivals.
According to Wikipedia, the ‘Old Farm Derby’ has been competitively contested 115 times, although the teams have faced each other on 148 occasions throughout history.
It is interesting to me that, as a lad growing up on the then quiet and friendly Heartsease Estate, I had wondered many times which of these two juggernauts had the edge over time.
When I looked it up in the days before Google, I noted that the Canaries were a long way behind the Tractor Boys but it seems that 20 matches in a row has altered those stats.
Now, as we do not care about the games that were not played for points, let’s look at the statistics:
Matches played 115 … Canaries 47 … Tractors 45 … Drawn 23
Of those 115 matches, 58 have been played at Ipswich and 57 at Carrow Road.
So as the two armies draw their battle lines, where will it go this time around?
There is no doubt that Ipswich are cruising on a wave of confidence. A new young manager, available funds, and the boost of last season’s promotion sees them top in the league as I write this after beating Watford 2-1.
They seem set to repeat the feat of Paul Lambert with the Canaries when they went back-to-back promotions to reach the Premier League. However, it has been noticed in years gone by that results over and after Christmas always seem to mean more in the title chase than the pre-festive period.
This current Norwich group seems to be under-performing. We certainly miss the Wiles of Wes, the defensive solidity of Big Dunc and Dave Stringer, the goalscoring of Gavin, Allcock, and Roberts, the ‘keeping of Kev K, and the wily tactics of gaffer Mike Walker – he of the win in Munich.
We were the heavy underdogs that night and we came away the winners. We are the heavy underdogs again this coming Saturday and I will not yet write us off.
Derbies are funny things.
I know the travelling support will do their best to get us going. I know the players will give their all. I hope that Liam Gibbs will shoot straighter on his return to Suffolk.
I am hoping to see Captain America come off the bench, and the return of Captain Hanley, with Jonathan Rowe playing wide, running at defenders, and scaring the hell out of them.
I know Onel CAN finish a run with a great strike … I am sure I recall one occasion.
I know I will be sitting in front of my TV in Australia at 11:30 PM Saturday (Oz time) with a coffee in my hand and hope in my heart.
I will however have one eye looking out of the window for that flying pig.
Come On You Yellows