I don’t care if Norwich never play Ipswich again - and neither should you
Sometimes, however vigilant we are, unacceptable opinions get through the editing process and onto this website.
This week, my fellow columnist David Hannant was allowed to post the sickening view that he'd “genuinely like Ipswich Town to bounce back” from their relegation to League One.
With extraordinary duplicity, this self-proclaimed Canaries fan went on to hope the two teams would meet again in the Premier League.
As David's line manager, I feel that I take a share of the blame for his distasteful views. He will be disciplined and I'll be reviewing my management style - potentially bringing in torture weapons and removing the 'passive' from passive-aggressive.
For the record, I hope Norwich never play Ipswich again.
Actually, I'd be happy for Ipswich to play Norwich...United. If the Tractor Boys plunged into the Thurlow Nunn, my joy would be unconfined.
I'd like to say at this point that I respect David's right to hope for Ipswich's revival - but I don't.
I was raised correctly by my Dad, to love Norwich City and to loathe Ipswich Town. The first result I look for is obviously City's: the second is Town's. Football perfection comes when we win and they lose.
This season beautifully encapsulates the cliche “you couldn't make it up”: Norwich are top of the league, Ipswich are bottom of the league; Norwich could well be going up, Ipswich are already going down; Norwich have an average home turnout of 26,000, while Ipswich have 17,600; Norwich have loads of excellent players, Ipswich have a collection of clod-hoppers.
Best of all, though, Ipswich have Paul Lambert as their manager. This is the peak point of “couldn't make it up” - one of Norwich's most successful former gaffers takes over at Portman Road and takes them down to the third tier for the first time in 60-odd years.
Any self-respecting Canary should be gloating, crowing, laughing, mocking and wallowing in schadenfreude. That's what Ipswich fans did in 2009 when we went down to League One - and rightly so.
Football is a passionate sport, and fans are passionate creatures. Love for a club needs to be balanced by loathing of another.
David will be encouraged to think about his behaviour. In Clough style, we'll “talk about it for 20 minutes, then decide that I'm right”.
As for those who will miss the derby day clashes, here are some possible solutions:
■ Revive the Hospital Cup and play it as a pre-season warm-up
■ Watch YouTube clips of recent derbies - comedy-drama at its finest
■ Organise a pre-season tournament involving Norwich, Ipswich, Dereham and Lowestoft
■ Go to an Ipswich match next season, and realise why there's no way you'd want to see them again
■ Get drawn against Ipswich in the Checkatrade Trophy next season: imagine the taunting points gained from the Tractor Boys having to face Norwich u23s.
My hope for Ipswich next season is that they are relegated again, this time to League Two. Lambert has certainly built the kind of downward momentum required to plummet. It couldn't happen to a nicer man.
I wish them thousands of empty seats, embarrassing home defeats and unbearable jealousy as they see Norwich succeeding.
In the upside-down world of football supporting, hate is great.
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