How could any future derby win top this?

A personal message to Paul Lambert: You are going to stop me being a fairly regular away supporter at this rate.

Never mind topping that, how can you contemplate ever going back to Portman Road again after Thursday night and expect to come anywhere close to the ultimate demolition derby?

I now know what it must have felt like to have been a Colchester fan at Carrow Road on August 8, 2009.

I have already vowed never to go back to United's ground because nothing could possibly match an afternoon of high drama when we won 5-0 there last season.

But last week City so outdid their efforts in Essex when they played their first 'proper' away derby for two years and two days that they made beating Colchester seem like their annual pre-season friendly against Ridgeons League opposition, such was the even more enjoyable manner of their total supremacy.

It's not as if this was a complete one-off away display from a team who travel badly.

There have been plenty of other occasions over the past 20 months when I have thought, after seeing a Canaries away win somewhere, that if I never had the chance to go to that particular ground again I've had at least one day to remember there. Bristol City and Leicester especially stand out this season.

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Although you take the good with the bad at Portman Road – for every 2003 there's a 2006, 2008 and 2009 – I've always felt you're compelled to go whatever the circumstances.

After all, any win there, no matter how scrappy or undeserved, is an occasion to be cherished.

Now though, I'm almost beginning to have my doubts about that viewpoint since this season's visit comes into once-in-a-lifetime territory.

What could possibly compare with this? You'd maybe say winning an away League Cup semi-final leg, but since we don't do cup runs any more I guess it would have to be a play-off success – although that might be some time off judging by the rebuilding programme Paul Jewell has on his hands.

We've beaten far better Ipswich sides there before, but I've never seen a greater determination displayed at Portman Road.

City bossed the night right from the moment Grant Holt could have scored in the opening 30 seconds.

When we've done well against Ipswich before it's always been the goalscorers who have taken all the acclaim, but this time everyone on the field was a hero – there wasn't a single weak link. And it's not just me thinking this.

Since the Canaries slipped out of the Premier League six years ago our national media coverage has been almost non-existent at times, so it was interesting to read Henry Winter's report in the Daily Telegraph on Friday, especially the phrase 'Paul Lambert's attractive side will be a delight to behold on the elite stage'.

Perhaps we're already being lined up as next season's Burnley or Blackpool, I don't know, but there's no mistaking our all-out attack approach to the big games.

There were some distinctly nervy moments served up by Cardiff and QPR on Saturday, but City's players were cool, calm and collected throughout arguably their most high pressure fixture of the season.

This was typified by the final 10 minutes. At 3-1 up we could have sat back and played out time, but there was a clear desire to try to extend the lead, not just to boost a flagging goal difference but because, on and off the field, City knew the significance to their supporters of an emphatic victory in this particular fixture.

I always hoped for the big-stage approach seen at Colchester, but no one could have expected the margin of victory to be almost identical. If – and it's still if – we go up, at this rate a Paul Lambert-managed City side will probably go to Fulham next season and win to make up for 2005.

Such has been his Midas touch on the road that the Cottagers could have Andy Johnson in their line-up as well and this time in a crunch Premier League match he'd get booked for diving rather than winning a penalty.


Much as I enjoyed last Thursday's 'We'll never play you again chants', I fully expect City to return to Portman Road – though at least not until the 2012/13 season, obviously – but probably not for an evening kick-off.

If the idea is not vetoed by the police then surely Ipswich Town themselves would block it because a 7.45pm start played right into City's hands.

The atmosphere was completely different to the often sterile mood for Sunday lunchtime kick-offs and surely must have played a part in the whirlwind start made by the Canaries.

The away area was rocking well before kick-off and the atmosphere never let up for the entire evening. It was almost like the players fed off the level of the away support, which, in turn, moved up a gear every time a goal went in.

I can't comment on what happened before the game, having got inside reasonably early, but what I did see of the policing smacked of a force not being used to dealing with big crowds.

It wasn't exactly 1970s or 1980s-type trouble; for the most part there seemed to be lots of postering by 16-year-olds safely protected by lines of police or the iron railings of the Portman Road car park opposite the away supporters' turnstiles.

Rather than being moved on, they were allowed to just stand around and try, without much luck, to goad visiting fans, and when that didn't work they obviously decided upon a different tactic.

As a result I imagine that, if you like, such 'operational policing arrangements' will mean that this game will never again take place at any time other than a Sunday lunchtime, when all local roads can be closed and pubs shut.

Incidentally, the inspector quoted afterwards saying what a success the operation had been could surely have chosen his words better when he said: 'We have had no serious disorder and the vast majority of people have been able to have a good evening out and we have ensured their safety.'

Now I know I did, but I bet there were lots of home fans who didn't quite have 'a good evening out'.


Ipswich just don't get the idea that maybe, just maybe, you shouldn't go all out to help your most bitter rivals.

Not only have they managed to roll over against us – twice now – they've also beaten Cardiff 2-0 home and away.

Never mind the efforts of Agent Lee-Barrett at Portman Road, had Agents Bullard and Scotland scored their three goals against anyone else – the other was an own goal – the top of the table would now be looking rather different.


Some of those great Norwich City goals/games ratios of recent years: Peter Thorne – two goals in 42 appearances; Carl Robinson – two goals in 54 appearances; Andy Hughes – two goals in 79 appearances; and Gareth McAuley – three goals in just six appearances against the Canaries.

Just let's not sign him, eh? Otherwise he'd probably follow the example of Chris Brown and end up scoring more goals for the opposition than for us.


The best messageboard response of late? The East Anglian Daily Times reported Portman Road chief executive Simon Clegg's comment, 'I see no reason why Ipswich cannot be where Norwich are now in 12 months' time', to which someone replied: 'The only way we will be where Norwich are now is to move up the A140.'