BEN – PLANS FOR IPSWICH

30/01/19

You might have heard there's the small matter of a local derby on the horizon. Here's Barclay End Norwich's Thomas Markham-Uden on their plans for pre-match and why the last decade has been so good....

I'm not usually one to indulge in social media fads, particularly those with the postfix of 'challenge', but I must admit that the recent "2009/2019 - 10 year challenge" did throw up some choice gems in terms of photos from both mine and my friends' younger days. For many of us, this was pleasant nostalgia, accompanied by vaguely embarrassed assertions about just how much we've all changed.

If we were to do a Norwich City vs Ipswich Town '10 year challenge' and see how much has altered, only one side can categorise their nostalgia as in any way pleasant and the other's embarrassment is anything but vague.

Make no mistake, the past decade has not been kind to our Suffolk neighbours. We've had our ups-and-downs, don't get me wrong, but at least the occasional unpredictability has added an extra dimension to our enjoyment. If we return to the '10 year challenge' analogy, we're that friend who pinballs between jobs, partners, life experiences, but somehow always ends up on their feet and in most people's good graces. Ipswich have been stuck in the same crap job for a decade and are still sporting that questionable haircut, their only solace coming from flipping wistfully through that photo album from uni and recounting all the wild and exciting times they used to have.

This is all to say that come 10 February, for 3,584 days we have been the dominant football side in East Anglia. Holty's hat trick, Johnson's pile driver, that playoff semi-final: they've all characterised a period of time where we've rightly been able to laud it over our blue and white neighbours and one which I'm sure they'd rather forget.

What's really made it even more enjoyable, however, has been that during this time we've also had the better of them off the pitch.

We stuck with our team, our club: from the (ultimately enjoyable) lows of League One, through the heady Premier League stays and everywhere in-between. There were times when the football wasn't great, or when we felt like chucking it all in. We didn't, though, did we? We continued to pack out Carrow Road every bloody week and we're reaping the benefits of sticking around with our latest foray to the upper reaches of the league table. Oh and if we're comparing the running of the club: sure, we've had our trials and tribulations, but give me those over the morose, managed decline overseen by an owner who remained largely absent as the club he oversaw continued to tread water and then ultimately begin to sink.

So, the derby next week arrives at a wonderful juncture in the long rivalry between the two clubs. We're fighting for promotion, while they're fighting to stay afloat. We're going from strength to strength off the pitch and in the stands, while, well, you've seen the footage yourselves. So this is our challenge to you as Norwich supporters: do your part to cement our decade held status as the Pride of Anglia.

Join us from 10.30am at the Queen of Iceni on Riverside for a sing song, setting off at 11:15am to march to the ground. Bring every flag, banner and yellow and green item of clothing you own. Bring your pride in this football club that is absolutely going in the right direction. And bring your singing voices, both outside and inside the ground. A lot changes in 10 years, but next Sunday let's prove that some things can and will objectively, categorically, remain the same.

One City Strong. OTBC!


While you're here...

Have you heard our chat with Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones? Norwich's majority shareholders joined us for our latest podcast and chatted about their time in charge of the club, dealing with abusive fans, their love for Stuart Webber and the flags and what the future might hold. Then they try Tom's impossible quiz. Episode 22, with Delia and MWJ is here.

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