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What makes a derby special?

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Paul Fletcher | 06:54 UK time, Friday, 26 November 2010

Former Norwich striker Iwan Roberts remembers the events of 19 March, 2000 like they were yesterday. It was the first game of Bryan Hamilton's nine-month spell in charge of the Canaries and came towards the end of a mediocre season for the Norfolk side.

With only one win in their previous 10 matches, Norwich were hardly in the best form as they prepared to travel to Portman Road for an East Anglian derby. But that counted for little as the Canaries defeated Ipswich 2-0. What's more, Roberts scored both goals.

I asked the Welshman if he could remember them and he immediately reeled off two detailed descriptions. This is what he said of goal number two: "It came from an Ipswich corner. Andy Marshall got both hands to the ball and threw it to Paul Dalglish on the right wing. He made a great run before picking me out at the back post. I controlled it with my thigh and shaped to shoot. Fabian Wilnis turned his back so I went past him, kept my head and placed it past Richard Wright, shooting to his left. Then I was off, all the way down the pitch to celebrate with the Norwich fans in the corner."

Roberts scored more than 200 goals in his career but rates that as one of his favourites. For Matt Holland, who was on the opposing side that day, the goal conjures up different memories. That's because the former Ipswich skipper spent the best part of an hour trying to get out of the car park at Portman Road following defeat that day.

Matt Holland (left) and Iwan Roberts (second left) play in an East Anglian derby.

Holland (left) and Roberts (second left) enjoyed playing in the Anglian derby. Photo: Getty

"Every Ipswich supporter stopped me and wanted to know what went wrong - it was really quite heated," Holland, a central midfielder, told me. "You are as disappointed as them but they want answers. I was trying to take the sting out of the situation."

Holland played in eight East Anglian derbies, Roberts in seven. Five times they were on opposite sides. "You were fired up for those games in particular," says Holland. "The build-up starts two to three weeks in advance. In the days before the game, every paper you pick up has articles about previous games, head-to-heads etc."

On Sunday, Ipswich travel to Norwich for the first derby since Roy Keane took over at Portman Road and Paul Lambert was appointed manager of the Canaries. Between them, they have experienced some of football's biggest rivalries - Manchester United v Manchester City, Schalke v Borussia Dortmund, Celtic v Rangers - and are strong-willed characters with an unyielding desire to be successful.

Their teams are currently separated by three points and five places in the middle reaches of a congested Championship table. Norwich are eighth, with just goal difference separating them from a play-off place. Ipswich are 13th and in something of a slump after three straight defeats.

Yet both Holland and Roberts insist form is often irrelevant when it comes to a derby. They say it is the team that handles the pressure of the situation that often triumphs.

"From a manager's perspective, the key to these games is trying to treat it as normally as possible," says Holland. "You have to make sure that you don't fire your players up too much. The build-up and the atmosphere in and around the ground does that."

Roberts, who played for Norwich from 1997 until 2004, paints a vivid picture of what it is like in the dressing room in the hour before kick-off.

"It is a strange place to be," he says. "An hour before the game there is always music. I was never one to waste energy before a game. I would sit by my peg and gather my thoughts. About 45 minutes before kick-off, the manager would come in and have a few words and we would then go out and warm up. Afterwards, we would come back in and do a few final things. Some people, for example, have superstitions. Literally a couple of minutes before kick-off, the manager would have his final say and then send us out."

Roberts remembers Malky Mackay and Craig Fleming pumping everyone up and says Phil Mulryne was always a lively presence. In the Town dressing room, Holland, as skipper, says he would speak to various players to make sure they were in the right frame of mind before focusing on what he himself had to do in the match. Apparently, Jason Cundy was the type to bang his head against the wall to psyche himself up.

Holland, an Ipswich player from 1997 until 2003, reckons that the derby games were so high tempo that they often passed in a blur and were often niggly and tight affairs. You have to go back 17 games to the last time the A140 derby was settled by more than two goals. That was Febuary 1998, when Ipswich won 5-0. Not surprisingly, it is Holland's favourite encounter with Norwich.

You often hear derbies talked about in terms of bragging rights for supporters. Holland and Roberts agree there is great joy to be had in beating their rivals but also speak about the relief of sending fans home happy. Doing so meant they did not have to skulk down the supermarket aisles in subsequent weeks for fear of being recognised.

A Norwich City supporter.

The prospect of disappointing the fans was a huge incentive. Photo: Getty

"You cannot really enjoy the day or the occasion until you win," says Roberts. "But it is only another game. You don't get six points for beating your arch rivals. The day we won 2-0, we were singing and boisterous but there was no champagne or anything like that."

From park football to the highest stage, there is a respect to be forged when you test yourself against a tough opponent. Roberts describes his battles with ex-Ipswich defender Tony Mowbray as "nothing dirty but two honest pros going about their job".

A team of Norwich legends took on their Ipswich counterparts in a match in Great Yarmouth earlier this year. Holland, who used to regularly cover 13km in a match and is still in good shape, played in the fixture, which his team won 2-1. Roberts managed 45 minutes but the hard surface gave his knees problems and he was withdrawn at the break. Nevertheless, he enjoyed watching a tackle that Fleming made on Holland.

"The competitive juices were still flowing," says Roberts. "It did not compare to a proper derby but we still didn't want to lose. There is talk of a second leg so it is not done yet."

There was no derby last season because Norwich were on a season-long sojourn in League One. The last match between the two sides, which took place in April 2009, ended in a 3-2 win for Ipswich, a result that pushed Norwich closer to relegation.

Of the 22 players that started that game, only Ipswich midfielders David Norris and Alan Quinn remain. With so many new faces set to make their East Anglian derby debut on Sunday, I asked Roberts if he had any advice for the combatants ahead of the Carrow Road clash.

His answer was this: "Don't let nerves get the better of you. A derby is something to enjoy but does not come around all that often. There is a chance for someone to write a page in the history books. Go out and grab it with both hands."

Norwich City v Ipswich Town is live on BBC One on Sunday from 1300 GMT, with the game kicking off at 1315 GMT.

You can follow me throughout the season at


  • Comment number 1.

    Excellent report - apart from the reminder of the 5-0!!! However, I am pretty sure that the kick off on Sunday is 1315 not 1500!! This will make no sense once the page is corrected.

  • Comment number 2.

    No matter where we finish in the league,it's always a good season if we beat Norwich twice.

  • Comment number 3.

    Another excellent blog highlighting proper football! I'm really looking forward to this match. Should be a spicy affair especially with the prospect of Lambert and Keane clashing on the touchline. I must say though that as a Bradford fan I'd love to see a derby match down at Valley Parade! Shall have to make do with this on Sunday lunch though.

  • Comment number 4.

    Derby day is at once terrifying and thrilling! As a villa fan I look forward to our annual clash with Small Heath. The stick I get when the bluenoses win is almost unbearable, but the pleasure I take in a villa victory is priceless! These highs and lows are part of the joys of following football!

  • Comment number 5.

    Hardly El Clasico is it....
    Probably not even worth 2 minutes debate on Mid-Morning Matters with Alan Partridge on North Norfolk Digital

    Keith Mc

  • Comment number 6.

    Still voted one of the best derbies in the country though.. Stick El Clasico this is a real derby with real fans and if you're not from East Anglia your probably to ignorant to know.

    I'll be there infilltrating the home fans.. Cant wait!

  • Comment number 7.

    Keith Mc- dont bother posting mate!

    For us Norwich fans and for Ipswich fans this is the fixture we all look forward to. Whether its Celtic v Rangers, Man Utd v Man City, or Bristol City v Bristol Rovers you can't doubt that derby days are the fixture fans always look forward too.
    Incase you haven't noticed Paul Fletcher covers the Football League, if you have no interest in this then don't bother reading his blog!

    I for one am very much looking forward to this fixture, always expected to be a tight affair but can see Norwich grabbing a 2-1 win. Our defence isn't exactly water tight, but Hoolahan looked good last Saturday when he came on against Leeds and I would expect him to start. Surman has recently came back from 3 months out and he looked a class act in his 60 minutes against Leeds- just as he did before his injury. With the exciting loan signing of Henri Lansbury I think we will just have a bit too much for Ipswich. OTBC.

  • Comment number 8.

    6. At 09:32am on 26 Nov 2010, Keane-as-an-Essex-Tractor wrote:

    Still voted one of the best derbies in the country though.. Stick El Clasico this is a real derby with real fans and if you're not from East Anglia your probably to ignorant to know.
    And boy.....ain't I glad I am NOT from East Angular....

  • Comment number 9.

    Keith Mc - you are a bit cynical aren't you ? - the BBC just wrote an excellent article on 'What Makes a Derby Special' - so your a bit off the mark.
    The Norwich Vs. Ispwich derby games are always something special - they evoke passion and rivaly that usually produces very close and hard fought games that can often upturn the form book - nothing is ever taken for granted !
    It is always dissapointing when there is no East Anglian derby (because the two teams are in different leagues) and the games this season will be welcomed as the MOST IMPORTANT FIXTURES OF THE SEASON.

    Keith Mc - good luck with your next derby against Tranmere Rovers - now that sounds like a real clasico !!

  • Comment number 10.

    What makes a derby special?..I think Matt Holland said it all Paul 'In the days before the game, every paper you pick up has articles about previous games, head-to-head etc' it's all about HISTORY and LOCAL PRIDE (bragging rights).

    The chance to turn one over on your 'mates' from the other side of the road is like a mini-cup final in itself and like all good cup games form goes out of the window. An opportunity to destroy the opposition fans taunts one by one whilst knowing even if you finish miles behind your rivals in the final reckoning you can always quote the derby win from this year, last year etc.

  • Comment number 11.

    So why bother commenting on the article then?

    You're opinion is just like a typical glory boy Premiership fan. Make sure you enjoy El Clasico.. On Sky no doubt my armchair supporting friend!

  • Comment number 12.

    I second the opinions against Keith Mc...
    I'm a Sunderland fan, and I think Newcastle is the biggest game for us, devastated to lose 5-1 but that happens...

    Ipswich-Norwich will be so much better than Madrid-Barca... Which isn't even a derby! Real Madrid-Atletico is a derby, Barcelona-Espanyol is a derby.

    Looking forward to the Anglian derby, should be a good game, not sure who to support on the day though :)

  • Comment number 13.

    Local derby games are usually the most enjoyable games of the season. Being from the Black Country, this is the first time our derby has been contested in the Premiership....I'm looking forward to December!

    I'll be tuning in to BBC 1 for the game on Sunday, hope it lives up to expectation.

  • Comment number 14.

    NickNack - the choice is easy. Norwich are the only team to support - and I am not biased in this opinion at all.

  • Comment number 15.

    Derbies remain the games for the fans. Wherever you are in the country, however big or small your club, there is nothing more satisfying than winning a game against your neighbour. Also, with so much TV coverage, derbies are good reminders of how football was with largely regional support. We wrote a similar article this week, which you might like to read if you want.

  • Comment number 16.

    Wilts-Canary, maybe so lol. I'm just looking for a good game of football :)

  • Comment number 17.

    NickNack,pay no attention to Wilts-Canary.He obviously knows nothing at all about football.

    Tractor Boys all the way bonnie lad.

  • Comment number 18.

    Ipswich fans- what do you make of your chances Sunday? Ive read that Roy Keane is under lots of pressure, and on some message boards a small group of Ipswich fans are hoping you lose so Keane will be gone....

  • Comment number 19.

    Don't waste your time on Keith MC or people like him, if you click his name you can see his other posts. He's just one of those rather empty people that are always trying to annoy anyone and everyone, but have no real opinion or point to offer. Ignore it, it goes away!

    Back to the point, excellent article and nice to hear from two old players that were all about the game not the fame. Derby games are as much about the fans and spectacle as they are the game, always makes them enjoyable to be part of!

    It's staying cold over the weekend. If I can get the timing right on the roast dinner then it's really just about the perfect Sunday!

  • Comment number 20.

    You can't beat a Stevenage - Luton derby!!

  • Comment number 21.

    It's nice that you are looking at this lower-league fixture from a difficult-to-get-to part of the UK, Paul, but shouldn't you be focussing on POOL vs Bolton? Now, that is real hot-pot!!

  • Comment number 22.

    Its great this derby game is on BBC One. I hadn't even realised.

  • Comment number 23.

    Must admit i didn't know (until i visited Ipswich recently) how far apart these two cities are.
    Would be interested to know what Ipswich fans think of a Colchester (being closer to you) game in relation to the Norwich game.
    i ask this as my team (oldham) play rochdale on sat for the first league game between us in 36 years, and for me this is the proper derby as they are our closest neighbours, rather than other derbies close to us but not as close.

  • Comment number 24.

    Ooooooh aaaaaah, huntin', shootin', feshin'....

    Ooooooh aaaaaah, where's me straw boater and me carrots??? Me likes those carrots!!!

  • Comment number 25.

    Ipswich will never be a City...

  • Comment number 26.

    Manchester United vs Manchester City ?
    If City keep spending money and improve, then maybe one day, but I figure that United vs Liverpool is still a far bigger rivalry than that one.

  • Comment number 27.

    Growing up on the Waveney I know how big this match is. I have Ipswich and Norwich fans in my immediate family and bragging rights are top of the agenda.

    With 40 miles inbetween this is different to Liverpool/Everton or City/United. There are no other local teams (Colchester and Southend don't count!!) so this is the big one that supporters of both clubs look out for when the fixture lists are released.

    Both clubs have a rich history. Stories of Jerremy Goss and Bobby Robson are a constant reminder of that, but it the race to the Premier league that keeps this fixture firery.

  • Comment number 28.

    It's an interesting blog and obviously Paul has written it to drum up interest as the game will be shown on BBC tomorrow, however although they may be rivals, Ipswich is nearly 40 miles away from Norwich so it's hardly the same as the Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool, Glasgow or even Bristol derbies.
    Can Norwich or Ipswich fans say that there are divided allegiances in there own families which provides much banter or do half the people they work with and their mates support the other lot? - I suspect very few.
    To have bragging rights means to be able to go to work on Monday morning with a big smile on your face and being able to wind up your colleagues that support your rivals.

  • Comment number 29.

    @28 Coaxingstar71
    I'll elaborate, this isn't just about different teams or cities. This is about different Counties. Every town in those counties has the same bragging right feelings on the Monday morning.

    Its about the Pride of Anglia, 'Small UEFA cup winning Ipswich Town' up against the 'big Delia Smith backed East Anglia Administrative Capital City of Norwich'.

  • Comment number 30.

    Very interesting read.

    I've also had a look at this huge game at

  • Comment number 31.

    there are an awful lot of very naive people commenting on this thread! norwich vs ipswich is more than just two places going to war - its about two counties! norfolk vs suffolk. distance doesn't come into it - its far bigger than that and the history of the two counties will tell you all about it!!

    norwich and ipswich fans hate the sight of each other and this derby was recently voted the 2nd most heated derby in british football, after the old firm (this game is often referred to as the old farm derby because of this).

    being out on a limb in east anglia doesn't help with peoples views or opinions on the area, but let me tell you this is as passionate and exciting a derby as you will ever see! i find it ludicrous that people can have such limited views, but then, i suppose thats cos they follow the 'big boys' from the comfort of their sofa...

    hopefully this fixture will return to the premier league stage sometime soon, because that is where it deserves to be and maybe then more people will understand and appreciate just what a massive game this actually is

  • Comment number 32.

    Well that's just the same as Sheffield clubs rivalry with Leeds, we hate them because our local news programmes only ever feature Leeds "remember how good they were under Revie" United and ignore all the other clubs in the county even when they are doing better.
    Still not the same as putting one over the team from your own city but of course you wouldn't be able to appreciate that.

  • Comment number 33.

    For those perplexed by the animosity between such distant towns, this derby isn't just between two urban populations. They're a derby between entire counties. (Suffolk and Norfolk just in case.)

    Norfolk and Suffolk are a lot closer and see themselves more as the heart of Anglia than say Suffolk Essex (i.e. although Colchester is nearer it's not as big of a rivalry.)

    Form would have you say Norwich to pile on the misery for Mr Keane but this could be the perfect way to get Ipswich's season back on track. And we all know form in the Championship is of little use when predicting results!

  • Comment number 34.

    And of course in the time it's taken me to write that at least two others have said the exact same thing first. Thanks guys, make me look like a right wazzock why don't you?

    Anyway, Come On You Blues!

  • Comment number 35.

    coaxingstar, you couldn't be more wrong!

    between norfolk and suffolk there is really only norwich and ipswich who you can support - unless you are a glory hunter. between the two counties the population is around 1.5 million people, many of whom support one or the other. that is massive and until you sample one such occasion you have no idea what it is all about. bizarrely, i have been to a sheffield derby and it simply isn't close to the east anglian derby in terms of raw emotion from the fans, not even close. genuinely.

  • Comment number 36.

    Paul, Could you ask Jake Humphrey not to be too biased in his MOTD coverage. How he wangled a job following his own team is beyond me!

  • Comment number 37.

    20. At 11:31am on 26 Nov 2010, SleepingSpurs wrote:
    You can't beat a Stevenage - Luton derby!!

    Luton's traditional derby is against Watford, not Stevenage.

  • Comment number 38.

    34. At 1:40pm on 26 Nov 2010, Evil-Weazel wrote:

    And of course in the time it's taken me to write that at least two others have said the exact same thing first. Thanks guys, make me look like a right wazzock why don't you?

    You can usually do that on your own E-Dubz.

    How's school?

  • Comment number 39.

    Ipswich v Norwich is one of the great unsung derbies and I think it's nice to give it some attention. The size of population or proximity of one club to another is not always the most important reason that a derby is a derby. There are many reasons why a derby becomes important and I think that is what I take from the article. Small or big, el clasico or 'el angliano del este', these matches are the ones you wait for and build up to during a season. How many teams have a derby game with a rival of equal worth - Ipswich v Norwich is pretty even in most terms while many teams rivals have fallen away or left them behind, at least these two can look forward to a match up that still means something.

  • Comment number 40.

    38. At 1:49pm on 26 Nov 2010, jacksofbuxton wrote:
    You can usually do that on your own E-Dubz.

    That's enough out of you, you glorified sheep shearer.

    I said shearer!

  • Comment number 41.

    Now that I've wound you all up.... Enjoy the game!
    I did read that Carl Bradshaw who has played in both derbies said that the East Anglian derby was just as passionate as the Sheffield one.

    Anyway don't Kings Lynn or Yarmouth have a team?...... let it go boys, let it go.

  • Comment number 42.

    carl bradshaw - thats a blast from the past! also a sheffield man, so hardly surprising he liked the sheffield derby. in comparison to the old farm derby, i suspect he was just being kind to the sheffield one... ;)

  • Comment number 43.

    40. At 1:58pm on 26 Nov 2010, Evil-Weazel wrote:

    38. At 1:49pm on 26 Nov 2010, jacksofbuxton wrote:
    You can usually do that on your own E-Dubz.

    That's enough out of you, you glorified sheep shearer.

    I said shearer!

    Perhaps you'd like to explain how you can be an Ipswich fan and a Newcastle fan at the same time.

    Still,when you're in year 2 things can be a little confusing.

    Is it time for your nap yet?

  • Comment number 44.

    43. At 2:22pm on 26 Nov 2010, jacksofbuxton wrote:
    Perhaps you'd like to explain how you can be an Ipswich fan and a Newcastle fan at the same time.

    Still,when you're in year 2 things can be a little confusing.

    Is it time for your nap yet?

    This is Suffolk, where magic happens. Usually in the same family.

    Anyway, is it time to change your bag yet?

  • Comment number 45.

    Agree that the East Anglian Derby is one of the most unsung affairs - both unfashionable clubs etc

    Remember both clubs have won major honours in the past....Norwich have won the Milk Cup and the Mr Clutch Cup. Whereas Ipswich have won the old Div One Championship, FA Cup and UEFA Cup.
    Enough said! COYB

  • Comment number 46.

    44. At 3:01pm on 26 Nov 2010, Evil-Weazel wrote:

    Anyway, is it time to change your bag yet?


    Two answers E_Dubz

    No,I've got a bag for life.Sainsbury(other supermarkets are available)change it when it gets a bit tatty.

    No,I've got a bag for life.That's marriage for you.(And she isn't my sister)

  • Comment number 47.

    I've never known a more passionate derby than Leeds United v Bradford City. I studied in Bradford 1994-98 and was lucky enough to go away to Elland Road when BCFC were in the Premier League (not exactly covered in glory!) The sheer vitriol and hatred of some fans on the terraces was quite incredible. The match was secondary to venting their spleen!
    They've both had fairly similar histories (i.e financial difficulties) since then ironically enough.
    Didn't see any trouble outside the stadium though - a bit different to Charlton vs Millwall I expect!

  • Comment number 48.

    I met some Norwich fans a few years back on holiday who hated Ipswich with a passion, yet knew no Ipswich fans! I find it difficult to imagine a dery could be that passionate if you're not intergrated with people from both sides. As a Villa fan, some of my best mates are Villa some are Blues, come derby day bragging rights are huge and you can guarentee that there will be tensions a week before and for months after a big result in favour of either side. I hate derby day for that reason, as because Villa are the bigger and better club, anything but a comprehensive win over Small Heath is seen as a failure!

  • Comment number 49.

    Come on ipswich, we are the real pride of east anglia, my reason being, okay norwich, what have you ever done? last year you played third tier football, whilst we haven't played 3rd tier football for over 30-40 years, we've won UEFA cup, and the FA cup, and produced the two most sucsessful english mannagers, one of whom one the world cup for England! Sir Alf, and Sir Bobby, what've you done?
    Come on you tractor boys, lets show them caneries what we really are!!!

  • Comment number 50.

    I think some people are getting mixed up with a local derby, and a rivalry, and before you say it, they aren't the same.

    I'm a supporter of the best derby of them all, the club itself obviously, and we have a massive local derby with Forest (yes, they might share their city with another team but we are their biggest enemy) we also have smaller rivalry with teams.

    I think if it carries with half the stupid comments thats already been said then someone will put the big derby of Man Utd - Chelsea down..

    Oh, and give me a lower league derby to a Premiership/European one any day!

  • Comment number 51.

    I'm a United fan and most derbies get me pretty excited, even if its not us playing in them. But to be honest Ipswich Norwich? Its a pretty toned down affair most of the time... It lacks passion in my opinion, Arsenal Spurs was epic, this well, lets wait and see

  • Comment number 52.

    I must admit I think the Norwich/Ipswich rivalry is a real snooze-fest.

    Good article otherwise but I can think of 50 better rivalries to devote an article to.

  • Comment number 53.

    Anyone know why they're called derbys? Why not bradfords or prestons? I could understand it if they were sheffields since the city boasts two clubs, but derbys?

  • Comment number 54.

    a lot of people putting down this fixture probably have never been to either club or ever experienced a the fixture first hand. While they big up their own derby even though they are most likely glory hunting big four boys despite never attending games. How can people like this claim to hate their rivals if you are not part of the club just watching from your living room bewilders me. An independant study into football derby can be was done by little woods in 2008. Here are the results

    The "Football Rivalries Report 2008", undertaken by The New Football Pools, owners of Littlewoods, produced a league table of rivalries based on the results of a survey of fans, ranking the results using a formula based on:[14]

    the survey responses of both sets of fans
    the respective league and cup records of the two clubs
    the regularity of league and cup meetings between the rivals
    the two clubs' records when playing each other
    the impact on attendances when they meet
    transfers between the clubs, and fans' reactions to those transfers
    off-the-field factors, such as media coverage of the rivalry
    The top five most heated rivalries were found to be between:

    1. West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers
    2. Ipswich Town and Norwich City
    3. Liverpool and Manchester United
    4. Portsmouth and Southampton
    5. Cardiff City and Swansea City

    and the fact the old farm has been away for over a year it will be as passionate as ever. OTBC

  • Comment number 55.

    NickNack - support Ipswich of course ;-) haha

    We are the true Pride of Anglia - way more successful and not just on the pitch but in producing legendary managers like Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson.

    I love the derby games - great moments over the years for both fans - we both have our heroes and villains - Bryan Gunn is both for each set of fans haha!

    You'll never catch me saying good luck to a Canary, but unfortunately - as much as you should throw the form book out of the window for any derby match - I think our yellow feathered friends out in the sticks will have the better of the Super Blues (check your history - Tractor Boys only started when Burley got us promoted, always the Super Blues before that then some Evening Star writer wrote that once and it stuck).
    Will pain me to see us lose - if we do - and i'll no doubt blame the ref (or Roy Keane!) but as many people on this post have said already - its the passion that these games evoke - it's irreplaceable! So glad we have the derby back this year

  • Comment number 56.

    oh one last thing - average attendances just over 20,000 for both teams this year but both can claim to attract about 30,000 on a great day/big game - so they are two of the best supported teams in the country - not just outside the premiership - so thats a lot of passion from both sides - no wonder its a big derby!

  • Comment number 57.

    i think yould find our average attendance is well into the 20s. Yours on the other hand ;)

  • Comment number 58.

    Surely the biggest news in the Championship this week is Ramsey's move to Forest? Have a read of.... Will Forest help Ramsey grow?

  • Comment number 59.

    York vs Scarborough...what ever happend to Scarborough FC :( as I was born in York, I saw that derby in 1990 when we(York) won 2nil. I love lower league football, its the real football. I still follow the 5 tiers on here(bbc) from Toronto Canada. Liverpool vs Everton as a life long Liverpool supporter, the 1989 FA cup final probally the greatest derby of my memory:) 3-2 after cant beat a good derby, the history, the passion. Ill tip Ipswich to win 2-1. get back too the prem!

  • Comment number 60.

    I think many of the contributors on here would be better off watching the match - BBC Sunday, 13.15 hrs - before prejudging the commitment of players, fans and management.

    If you live in the area, which I'm delighted to say I do, you'd know this fixture means as much to 'Anglians' as Man U vs Man C, Liverpool vs Everton etc do to the residents of those cities.

    Local derbies may not always be pretty, but you can't deny the passion or intensity involved, and ours on Sunday will have both in abundance.


  • Comment number 61.

    #26 Hot Dog Salesman,

    Base on your football IQ you will be selling hot dogs for anumber of years.

    CITY finished above Liverpool last year and will finish above mediocre Utd this season.

    In a couple of years you will be looking at the Manchester derby slightly differently, mark my words son, mark my words.

  • Comment number 62.

    To tell the truth I'm surprised there aren't more folk laying into the post for being an irrelevance.
    If you aren't from East Anglia or a Town or Norwich fan, I totally understand why you might comment negatively.


    You miss the point.

    This blog isn't for you. It's for anyone who has stood at one end of Portman Or Carrow Road and lived lifetimes in 90 minutes.

    Our clubs are as uninteresting to everyone else, as yours are for us, from a actual supporting point of view at least.

    The reason I put it like this is not to be rude, but so little attention is ever put on either of our clubs, any snippet is a luxury, but a blog on the derby is almost too much :). Supporting a club like Ipswich is not like supporting a big club. It's a different experience completely, as the highs are often mediocre at best (apart from the old 5-0..almost a religious experience btw) the lows are....well, let's just say Andy Cole posters were papered on my door at college for 6 weeks straight by Leith, a Utd fan in the 94 season.

    Therefore (and I would assume Norwich fans would agree) Ipswich Norwich are the 2 days a year you cannot wait for.

    To a Blue, winning this game makes up for all the many years of devotion to a cause you know is essentially the equivalent of knowing you love
    your missus, she's definitely your best girl, but if you had to admit it, wasn't much of looker.
    ( and most likely won't ever have any really wealthy friends, none at least that will put their hand in their pocket with purpose, Mr Evans, the worlds poorest multi-millionaire. Zing...)

    To try to give non Ipswich or Norwich fans a fans perspective to understand why this match is worthy of a blog and live coverage, I will tell you from the deepest place, I hate Norwich. The colours make me screw my face up in disgust like a kid with medicine.
    I won't watch Delia on the telly and frankly Norwich has an evil aura to it much like what I imagine the Temple Of Doom would have been like.

    The Joker to our Batman if you will.

    Those emotions ARE ridiculous and I'm a pretty rational bloke, but it's like a genetic trigger, I can't help it. I hope Norwich fans feel the same.

    But the reality is this. Norwich are the single most important club in the world after Ipswich. Without them we are just another medium level club. Not great, not awful.

    But with them, twice a year, regardless of form, regardless of any other crap goin in in life, and assuming league parity of course :) we can elevate ourselves to Gods. The derby IS what you support Ipswich for. The end. Almost.

    So thanks Canaries, you've given us our best and worst memories,
    and you are more than welcome to yours.

    Good luck on the weekend, may you spend next week in tears.
    And try not to throw too many coins, it's a waste of your cash. And stop throwing pound coins you daft buggers.

    Finally, to the poster claiming 'El Clasico it ain't.'

    You're wrong. It is El Clasico. But for reasons so far removed from the Barca Real game. It's about the result, not how you get there or who gets you there. Would El Clasico be so anticipated by non spaniards with let's say, 5 of the biggest stars on either side not on the park? Possibly not. But it would disappoint for sure.

    Ipswich Norwich always gets on the Telly because that doesn't matter. Virtually everyone watching the game won't have a clue who most of the players are, how much they are paid, or if they have a Ferrari or a Lambo ( or vauxhall or peugeot ), all that is left is football, pure football. How often is that seen today?

    But it is enemy against enemy, Town against City, county against county, accent against accent, blue against yellow.

    If you still love football like you were 10 and you get the chance to go to an Ipswich Norwich game, don't let the opportunity pass you by.

    Lee, I'm glad you got Rob to throw the black bags away. It was time.

  • Comment number 63.

    com on city we can win the derby! ipswich r lower in the table than us so we can wen by at least 5! andrew crofts all the way!

  • Comment number 64.

    i wonder who mitchmitchmitchdavray supports then, is he a glory hunter!

  • Comment number 65.

    MitchMitchMitchDavray has it right. Especially with the hatred of even the colours of the rival, and the idea of their town being some almost mythical evil place.

    I will never knowingly wear blue and white, nor own a car of a certain make the name of which shares a name with our rivals, nor use products of a brand which has ever sponsored them. Everytime I pass the signpost directing drivers off the M65 to my rival's ground I will make rude and infantile gestures at the offending words. I rarely visit the town of my rival, but when I do I always feel uncomfortable. I shouldn't be here, they aren't like me. What if one of them can tell I prefer the claret and blue.

    The thing is with derbies, nobody looking in from the outside can understand what it is like looking in. They are all judt as 'big' as each other to the people emotionally invested in them.How I feel about about Burnley v Blackburn is the same as someone else might feel about Ipswich v Norwich and the same as someone else might feel about City v United. I have a mate who is watching his beloved Oldham take on Rochdale this weekend for the first time in donkeys and I imagine that, to him, it is also the same thrill and the same level of 'big'

  • Comment number 66.

    Hang fire a minute. Its not called a "derby" for nothing ya know! Forget all the other rivalries, the only true "derby" is Derby County v Nottingham Forest. Look at the facts. Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire are next to each other, both cities connected by the A52,the Brian Clough Way, we both shared one of the greatest managers in English football and his son Nigel, who used to play for Forest now manages Derby County. All other so called "derbies" pale into insignificance.

  • Comment number 67.

    brilliantly put mitch, brilliantly put. i'm so fed up with armchair fans who have no idea of the passion felt by the majority of football fans about their clubs, just because they are not a big club or premier league. now i'm not just having a go at real fans of big clubs, as they feel the passion as much as us - just the ones who tag along for the ride. they literally have no idea what its all about and what they are missing....

  • Comment number 68.

    Now then,

    Thanks for all the comments. I reckon the skeptics should watch the match and try to gauge the atmosphere before writing Norwich-Ipswich off as a second rate derby.

    I'll be at the game on Sunday for my first taste of this particular fixture. I'm very much looking forward to it and don't really buy into the argument about the 40 or so miles between the two clubs taking the sting out of the rivalry. This is all about the pride of East Anglia.

  • Comment number 69.

    A few points to add to the debate.

    Firstly, on the (relatively recent) usage of the epithet ''Old Farm Derby'', which many locals resent:

    Personally, I find that sometimes I like it, and sometimes I don't!

    It's catchy, and if it makes people outside of our region sit up and take notice of our clubs then I'm all for it.

    But if someone was to actually follow the phrase to it's logical conclusion and suggest that the East Anglian derby was just a poor man's Old Firm match, I'd be very offended! ;)

    After all, it is much more than a city or even a city v. a town rivalry: it's county v. county, in the age old battle to determine which one dominates what was, before the industrial revolution, one of the most powerful regions in the country.

    Someone above suggested that the attendances of the clubs' show how big this match is, but I'd go further - the 26,000 who will be there on Sunday is nothing, both clubs have huge fanbases, and if Carrow Road had the capacity I would suggest that easily 30,000+ tickets could have been sold for this game. Consequently a lot more people than just the ones who are there tomorrow will be greatly concerned about who wins!

    With regards to the distance meaning the rivalry is not as intense:

    Anyone who suggests that there is no proper rivalry because of the distance between the two clubs is completely ignorant of the area. The two counties of Norfolk and Suffolk are economically and demographically entwined. And Norwich and Ipswich are not the backward, isolated backwaters that the media likes to portray both places as.

    Growing up at school in Thorpe St Andrew (that's just outside of Norwich, non-Anglians), I knew not only Norwich fans, but a great many Ipswich fans amongst the pupils and teachers. And it's a similar story in the workplace.

    To emphasise, distance is irrelevant, and does not detract from close contact. It is precisely BECAUSE Norwich and Ipswich are the only large urban areas in a relatively sparsely populated region that there is a lot of contact!

    After all, as a worker you can only live in, and be employed in, an area that is offering work in your particular industry or business. Norwich and Ipswich are thus a patchwork of people from around the region who have gravitated to either destination. It simply doesn't happen anymore that people are born and raised, and stay in one place for all of their lives.

    Come Monday morning, therefore, the result will be the no.1 topic of conversation amongst bitter rivals, you can rest assured.

    To those who think the game will be second-rate:

    All I can say is that the last time this fixture was broadcast live from Carrow Road (in 2008), I was at uni in York. Convincing two mates (a Palace and a Forest fan) to come with, we went to the pub to watch it.

    And they loved it! 5 minutes in, and a crunching, hard-but-fair challenge from Sammy Clingan reassured them that this was just as hard-fought, and passionate, an affair as any derby. The game proved to be a pulsating encounter, played at a high tempo, with Norwich running out 2-0 winners thanks to a stunning Lee Croft strike and a Matty Pattison goal stolen at close range (in both cases, probably the only truly worthy thing either player contributed in their time at CR).

    Give it a try eh?

  • Comment number 70.

    And for the poster who asked earlier:
    "The phrase most likely originated from The Derby, a horse race in England, founded by the 12th Earl of Derby in 1780, since at least as early as 1840 'derby' has been used as a noun in English to denote any kind of sporting contest. A local derby is just a sporting contest between local rivals.
    It may be that the Earl, and his ancestors, are responsible for lending their family name to sporting events, giving rise to the 'derby' match."
    There are other theories, but this is the one most favoured. For myself, whilst I have a neutral's affection for both clubs as good footballing sides who sometimes upset the apple-cart by over-achieving, I shall have a slight bias on Sunday. Despite my postal address being Cambs, I am actually just inside Nelson's County, plus I have a tractor-driving colleague at work who keeps making remarks about webbed feet since I moved to the Fens... ;-)
    Oh, and yes it's a good article that uses Norwich / Ipswich to ILLUSTRATE the significance of the local derby. They're important to those involved, and why should it matter whether it's in the same town / city, or based on some other criteria that makes sense to the fans involved?

  • Comment number 71.

    The comment about "football's biggest rivalries" suggests that the "Old farm derby" is somehow inferior. In fact, according to the "Football Rivalries Report 2008, it is the second most fiercely contested derby in England (after Wolves and West Brom). So much for Manchester, Liverpool and company then!

  • Comment number 72.

    Great read, both the article itself (even though I care not a jot about either team - no offence meant to fans of both) and the excellent comments from MitchMitchMitchDavray and Jim. Being a Torquay United fan, I always felt that same anxiety whenever visiting Exeter or Plymouth (past tense because I'm an expat). As a Welshman, I can't quite bring myself to hatred of red, white or green, but put white into a striped pattern with either of the other two and you have something that I don't even want to lay eyes on, let alone wear.

  • Comment number 73.

    The rivalry between the Northfolk and the Southfolk is 1500 years old. It is older by far than Manchester, Liverpool or Glasgow.

  • Comment number 74.

    Our derby may not have the money or the quality of a Manchester derby. What we have is something much more special pride, passion and the desire to go out there for your fans so there Monday morning is a bit more special than the average Monday made even more sweeter if a rival fan is at your place of work. To say it's too far away to be classed as a derby is nonsense Colchester has always been the second cousin at the wedding and our other derby's would be Kings Lynn and AFC Sudbury which with respect would never hold a candle to our "bitter rivalry" with each other. However I must confess being an Ipswich fan as long as were not playing each other I like to both of our sides win but on derby day an adrenaline takes over your blood stream and the "bitterness" returns for another 90 or so minutes of proper East Anglian full blooded football. Come Monday lunch time and all the mocking, rubbing it in to your respect work mates and your voice reappears things return to normal and a strange mutal respect returns to the clubs which is never really shown or spoken about at all but it's there alright and makes a disappearing when the reverse is played we do it all over again.

    If you want a derby full of violence, petty scwabbles go and watch your two egotistical team play for a dull 0-0 draw there will be repeats of Top Gear on Dave to keep you lot quiet but if you want a full blooded game of football tune into BBC One on Sunday. All you doubters WILL be presently surprised.

    Come On You Blues

  • Comment number 75.

    Amusing how many no marks just put this game down straight away as being small and insignificant.

    Lets remember that both Norwich and Ipswich represent entire counties. The population of Norfolk is circa 800,000 and Suffolk 700,000. Then look at other derbies, Manchester for example, population of 420,000.

    Norwich pulled in 25,000 in the third tier and have expanded capacity to nearly 30,000. Ipswich also have a 30,000 capacity stadium.

    It's not a small derby that no one cares about. Some people treat it like it's Dover vs Maidstone.

  • Comment number 76.

    Today is the day...time to regain the pride of Anglia.


  • Comment number 77.

    76: Tell us what the view's like from up the stands will ya? :P

  • Comment number 78.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 79.

    Always been very interested in football derbies and rivalry. Not just in England but across Europe, South America and beyond. Smashing article and great read!


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