Norwich legend Drinkell’s Old Farm regret
Norwich City Hall of Famer Kevin Drinkell is urging the Canaries to savour the special Old Farm derby occasion against Ipswich on Sunday.
Drinkell plundered 57 goals in 150 appearances for the club during the mid 1980s – but never sampled the delights of a competitive outing against City's traditional rivals.
'Funnily enough, I didn't get to play in this game,' said the 50-year-old, who will be at Carrow Road signing copies of his recently published autobiography, 'Drinks All Round'. 'I agreed to join in the May of the previous season when they were a First Division club, but Coventry went on a run of winning a few games and we got relegated into the old Division Two. The next year we managed to come straight back up and passed Ipswich going the other way. It's just the way it was. I do remember playing in a testimonial game for the lad (Paul) Cooper over at Ipswich. That was quite a clever move because they got a big crowd but, obviously it didn't have the same sort of intensity.
'Both clubs have fell away in the last few years but I think Roy (Keane) would be the more concerned of the two managers. At the minute he doesn't know what he is going to get from game to game. It couldn't be more different for Paul (Lambert). The team is settled, the players know the formation and the shape they are being asked to play and they have the confidence of last season which has carried them on again in the higher league.'
Drinkell did experience first hand the bitter Old Firm rivalry when he moved onto Glasgow Rangers in 1988.
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'No doubt about it, that was an intense game, but any derby is because it means so much to the local people and as a player you want to please them,' he said. 'When I started coming through at Grimsby it would be games against Scunthorpe or Lincoln depending who was in the league at the time. Even when I went to Coventry, it was the same if they played (Aston) Villa.
'My first one in Glasgow I didn't know what to expect. I was never one to go out and do much of a warm up but I remember that game at Ibrox. We went out three or four minutes before kick off and the noise was just deafening. We were 1-0 down after a minute and there was total silence, but they made it clear pretty soon just what was expected of us as players.
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'We got ourselves together and played fantastic football and won 5-1 in the end. I scored as well which was not a bad way to introduce yourself to the fans and these are the games you are remembered for. With the book out now, I've had good feedback from the Rangers fans, but I was only actually there for about 15 or 18 months in total.'
Drinkell knows East Anglian pride is at stake in front of a national television audience.
'It probably doesn't have the national build up that the Old Firm game would across the whole of Scotland but like I said before it doesn't matter whether you have 25,000 in the ground, or 60 to 70,000,' he said. 'Norwich will want to come up this season, get a solid base and push on again but if the opportunity is there to do something more, of course you grab it. No one gave Blackpool a prayer but they are competing in the top flight. Just get up and then worry about the next phase. The Championship is such a tough league and you see it every year now - if they are in and around those play-offs a lot of the time it will come down to who is in form at the end of the season.'