I am a Norwich City fan and I know that. You might not agree with me after reading this article and that is your decision. Much as it was my decision at ten-years-old to support Norwich despite living hundreds of miles from the fine City. It is a choice that, as the old song goes, I will stick with until the day I die (or Glenn Roeder is back at Carrow Road).
That being said, I am a Norwich City fan who does not hate Ipswich. I know it is terrible. Burn me at the stake, sacrifice me at the altar, drown me in water, send me off to cover sports in Dubai or whatever it is you do with heretics and crazies. I used to hate Ipswich because I believed that was what I was supposed to do. That was what I was told to do by the media and other fans. I had chosen Norwich and could not like Ipswich.
In the same way that when I was 15 I was marked out as a Blur fan because I went to see them live (although that was more to do with a girl I fancied at the time) and was exiled by the Oasis fans. These people couldn’t accept my arguements that I owned and played both Parklife and Definitely Maybe. I also owned a single by Love City Groove but I certainly kept that information secret. Like Damon and Noel, Alex and Liam, (quickly googles the other members of Blur and Oasis) football also has rivalries.
Celtic and Rangers, Newcastle and Sunderland, Arsenal and Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton, Man United and Man City, Leeds and the rest of the country. Add to this mix Norwich and Ipswich who do battle on Saturday lunchtime. I know what you think I should want us to beat Ipswich beause they are the local rivals, the hated Ipswich, the Scum as others might call them. Maybe it is a geographical thing having never lived in East Anglia yet I can not see this as anything other than another game in which three points are at stake.
Okay I can see it means a little more because victory here would bring confidence to the players. It would also be a nice reward for the poor suffering travelling support who have seen some abject away performances in recent years. I want us to beat Ipswich because we need to do so and not because I dislike them.
You see, here is the thing, I actually quite like Ipswich. I quite like their manager Mick McCarthy, although I wouldn’t want to be trapped in a lift with him.
I like that they have no mega rich foreign billionaire owner. I like that they have produced some great footballing talent. Oh and Titus Bramble. I like that they have great connections to Bobby Robson, one of the great gentleman of the game. I was too young for the Ipswich side that conquered Europe under Robson but I remember a really good Premier League team of 2000-01. A promoted side that pushed to an inch for a slot in the Champions League. I willed them to qualify because they’re one of us, a smaller club.
True, some Ipswich fans are total morons but then again so are some Norwich fans. I have met some great supporters of both sides and some total idiots from both sides. Which is why I don’t get the hate. I am all for good natured rivalry or banter which makes the game what it is. We all need someone to cheer and someone to boo that is how entertainment and stories on every level work.
If Ipswich get promotion this season then I will be delighted for them, they are one of us, the underdogs, the have nots. Part of the country that the media and the National Rail services have forgotten. Good luck my Ipswich brothers just don’t sign Findi George this time around.