Chris Lakey: Time to keep King of Anglia crown on the Norfolk side of the border
PUBLISHED: 16:15 16 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:15 16 February 2018
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It's nigh on impossible to get through this weekend without thinking about THAT match.
The day when one small horde from a neighbouring county crosses the border and tries to out-do the majority. Sometimes the underdog succeeds... but more often than not, Norwich win.
Oops, sorry, didn’t mean to stir things up there. I am very grateful to Ipswich: trips to Portman Road were always enjoyable because everyone was hospitable and friendly. The rivalry didn’t always extend to the press corps, although Danny Haynes’ ability to punch the ball over the line and Joe Royle’s staunch defence of his striker post-match did once lead to a few sharp words. And if you sit in the press seats at Portman Road you are, obviously, flanked by home supporters who get to know who’s who, who the visitors are and, ergo, who’s from Norwich on derby day: one or two of them have reacted in a way that suggests they shouldn’t be allowed to walk the streets on their own.
I’ve seen great derby days, great derby heroes – Iwan Roberts, Leon McKenzie, Grant Holt. All in the history books.
Makes me wonder who are the candidates for this weekend’s Hero in Waiting honours. It’s hard to get away from James Maddison, the young man who is writing his own stories. After what has happened to him this season it takes a lot of imagination to come up with a scenario where he is not the headline act tomorrow. Tempting fate? Maybe. But the odds are the young man has a big role to play. And who’d argue? His skills are verging on the sublime, the promise of a successful future is obvious. And he’s a bit of a star off the pitch as well as on. Yes, we all know he may well move on in the summer, but would you want to hold him back? He’s too good to shackle.
Trouble with derby days is you start to over-think things and this week, myself and a couple of colleagues are guilty of elevating Nelson Oliveira to hero status. Maddison can write his own headlines, but big Nelson is having a few problems of late. But that doesn’t prevent the two plus two equals five equation when it comes to tomorrow. The theory is Nelson was close a time or two last weekend and, because we all know there is a scorer in there trying to get out, the derby is made for him, that Nelson will be a Norfolk hero once again. That’s the theory, based loosely on fact.
If he does, then fantastic. There’s nothing more I’d like to see on Sunday than City winning, because a win would be a tick for the ambitions of the club. I’ve been critical of the owners in the past and my thoughts remain the same, but if self-sufficiency is the preferred route, then I do like the way the club is going about its business.
The critics, and I include myself, are quiet of late, because a message is coming across that City are prepared to offer Stuart Webber and Daniel Farke that most elusive of all footballing assets, time. to get things sorted. The sale of Alex Pritchard is almost forgotten and the aforementioned Maddison’s future elsewhere is almost fully accepted because fans are beginning to get what things are about. It helps when City sign players who impress the supporters and immediately extinguish any thoughts they are third tier Germans bought on the cheap.
Not everything is rosy in the garden, but for a mid-table team, City are enjoying the glow of healthy optimism.
Now, if you want to know what tomorrow’s game means, and what being at Carrow Road means, here’s an email I received this week from City fan Gerry Knights: “I thought it appropriate to let all home fans know how lucky you are to watch the mighty Norwich City play at Carrow Road and on regular TV.
“In Sydney we have to stay up in the early hour of Sunday morning to get our few lounge room match day glimpses. Good luck to all.”
Down Under might be nice this time of the year, but NR1 will be a whole lot better this Sunday.
The latest Pink Un magazine is out and, before you say it, yes, this is a plug.
I make no bones about it, because it’s a cracker. As usual. We’ve got our match day experts – Paddy Davitt, Michael Bailey and David Freezer, writing on the ‘managerial’ nous, James Maddison, and hidden gems, respectively.
Steve Downes chips in with wise words about the lack of heroes in modern day football while David Hannant has a modern take on an historic Canaries fixture.
Plus, remember when City played Inter Bratislava? If not, we have a photographic reminder among some crackers from our dungeon here at Archant Towers. There’s also ‘my favourite game’ written by yours truly and a must (hopefully) for King’s Lynn Town fans. In the words of the Four Seasons, Oh What A Night!
The Pink Un mag is out now – all the usual places plus there will be £1 off vouchers in this newspaper on Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week.
Up the Spurs
I had grand designs on essaying the downfall of football on the telly box this week following news of the Premier League TV package auction.
Seems Sky and BT are paying less per Premier League game this time around – though we are talking overseas telephone numbers.
Cue “football on the box is boring” and “it’s overkill”. The statements apply occasionally – and not just in Premier League coverage – but generally we have been served some decent stuff.
I don’t have Sky Sports so, like tomorrow’s derby, I will watch only when I am in the office.
But I do have BT Sport. And BT Sport has the Champions League. And the Champions League has Spurs. And sometimes i wish I was born a Spurs supporter.
Spurs provide me with the best TV viewing possible. Rarely are they involved in a dull game.
Manchester City can win and win and win with their style of footy, but give me Spurs every day.