David 'Spud' Thornhill previews the 101st East Anglian Derby with a look back at all the times we've beaten them and some of the times when we have let them win. Sort of like a pity gift.
Sunday is upon us. Bring your colours, bring your voices, together we win.
This Sunday we welcome our bitter rivals from over the border, Ipswich Town. In a rather neat symmetry that Sunday will ruin, we have met them on exactly 100 occasions. Unfortunately they edge the head to head 41-40, with 19 draws.
However, while Ipswich may have the overall lead (just and hopefully only until Sunday), Norwich definitely have had the edge in recent years, remaining unbeaten against them in our last seven meetings. Our best ever run over them. Printing that won’t tempt fate into scuppering the run. Definitely.
The first East Anglian Derby came way back in the year of our birth, on 15th November 1902. Newmarket Road hosted a Norfolk and Suffolk League meeting, which we won 1-0. Alfred Witham took the honour of scoring the first goal in the fixture.
If you’re being picky and not counting the illustrious Norfolk and Suffolk League, then the first competitive meeting came 37 years later on September 2nd 1939. This time Portman Road was the venue as the spoils were shared; 1-1. This fierce East Anglian football rivalry precluded an actual war, with World War II breaking out the following day. The Football League was duly suspended after 3 games. All 3 matches were voided resuming again in 1946, replaying the same fixtures as 7 years previously. This time City were not so resilient and went down 5-0.
The following season, Ipswich recorded their biggest win at Carrow Road, winning 5-1 (a scoreline that rings a vague bell somewhere). Norwich would get revenge later on in the season with a 2-1 win at Portman Road.
Christmas 1951 was one to remember for City fans as we triumphed 2-0 at Portman Road on Christmas Day, ate some a turkey, drank some sherry, played monopoly and had a little lie down, before beating them 2-0 again at Carrow Road on Boxing Day.
Five years later Ipswich got revenge and had a great Easter, beating us at Carrow Road on Good Friday and then repeating the trick at Portman Road on Easter Monday. More annoyingly still, this helped Ipswich to promotion and the Division Three South title as they pipped Torquay by goal difference.
The clubs would meet in the FA Cup for the first time in 1962. Ipswich who would end up winning the Division One Title that year (earning one of their silly stars) lost to Division Two Norwich 2-1 at Portman Road after a 1-1 draw up here. Hahahahaha. Star please.
Having developed a taste for urinating on their parade (albeit a very little bit), plucky Division Two Norwich would again triumph, this time in the League Cup. Hugh Curran nabbed a hat-trick in a 4-2 thumping. Hahahahaha. Star please.
Following City’s promotion to the top flight in 1972, we almost immediately recorded our first top flight win over them, winning our second game of the season 2-1 at Portman Road.
We’ll brush over the rest of the 1970s quite quickly as they had the upper hand and trounced us 5-0 in 1977. Onwards.
In April 1981, Norwich were battling relegation with Ipswich fighting for the title with just 3 games remaining. Norwich shocked the visitors when Justin Fashanu gave Norwich a 1-0 win. It didn't prevent City being relegated but it did prevent Ipswich winning the Division One Title. Worth it? Probably.
In February 1985, both clubs were drawn each other in the League Cup semi-final. Ipswich won the 1st leg 1-0 but in the return leg at Carrow Road just 12 days later, Norwich overturned their advantage and won 2-0 with Steve Bruce scoring the winning goal with 3 minutes remaining. Hahahaha. Star please.
We had 7 years to enjoy that famous (in Norfolk) win as we replaced Town in the top-flight in the summer of 1986 and enjoying the kind of efficiency they can currently only dream of, it only took them six seasons before they were promoted back to the top flight. Only six. Imagine.
We did unofficially meet in the Hospital Cup, during the 4 pre-seasons spanning 1988-91, before the Police stepped in and pre-empting their moving of all games ever to midday, ruined all the fun.
Ipswich clawed their way back to the top-flight however and joined us as founding members of the Premier League (when actual real football began, don’t you know). Our first meeting in this newly named league came in December 1992, when with City flying at the top of the league Ipswich turned up and won 2-0.
An eventual third placed finish and subsequent European adventure (beating Bayern away is worth a star surely?) did not lead to ongoing success for City and both clubs were relegated from the Premier League in 1995.
The next season saw some late Carrow Road drama as Kevin Lynch awarded a penalty to Ipswich to give them an opportunity to equalise in the dying moments of the game. Seeing sense, Lynch correctly changed his mind and awarded us a free kick. The Town fans weren’t impressed and showed their feelings by helpfully beginning an early dismantling of the old South Stand, while George Burley aired his grievances in a nice, calm, measured, rant on live TV. Excellent.
The return fixture was less excellent as Norwich keeper Bryan Gunn misjudged a back pass from Robert Ullathorne and the ball bobbled over his foot in the dying moments, giving Ipswich a wholly undeserved 2-1 win.
Ipswich would then beat us 5-0 in 1998 in a game that was “beamed back” to Carrow Road, who got to see Alex Mathie getting a hat-trick.
The defeat kicked us into life again in Suffolk however and we would remain unbeaten in their next five visits to Suffolk, winning four over them on the way.
One of them was jolly enjoyable indeed as debutant Leon Mackenzie scored both goals in a 2-0 win, earning himself lifetime hero status among Canary fans. The result sent Norwich top of the league at Portman Road, a position we would not relinquish en route to promotion back to the Premier league.
Almost the exact opposite scenario transpired seven years later as Town beat us 3-2 essentially condemning us to relegation to League One. It remains the last time they beat us.
Since then Norwich have undoubtedly been the Pride of Anglia, with a Grant Holt hat-trick sealing a 5-1 Portman Road win as we again won at Portman Road en route to (this time a back-to-back) promotion, and 2015’s play-off semi-final triumph, en route to Wembley and another Premier League promotion. If only we could figure out how to stay there.
They may have all the stars, but we currently have the upper hand so enjoy it while it lasts City fans.