Who’s the biggest club? Norwich City or Ipswich Town?

Norwich City fans celebrate Jonny Howson's goal against Ipswich Town at Portman Road in 2015.

Norwich City fans celebrate Jonny Howson's goal against Ipswich Town at Portman Road in 2015. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

With the East Anglian derby soon upon us, we take a look at the two clubs and makes some unscientific comparisons.

Who's the biggest club? Norwich or Ipswich?

Perhaps best to get this one out of the way quickly when trying to compare the two clubs – because this is the one many can't truly answer.

It hasn't gone unnoticed in these parts that when fans of both teams debate which is the bigger club, those of a Blues persuasion will immediately turn to the history books for their evidence. They will point to their 1978 FA Cup win, their Uefa Cup success of 1981, their many consecutive seasons in the top flight and the likes of Alf Ramsey and Bobby Robson, and Terry Butcher and Mick Mills. They won't mention Paul Jewell or administration, or the fact that they are starting their 15th Championship season in a row. Norwich have their own skeletons. A season in League One in 2008-09 was the worst type of reality check. Their major honours? Two League Cup wins, two final defeats, third in the first Premier League season, 1992-93 – and a dalliance with European glory in 93-94.

None of the above, though, is admissible. It's about the modern era, say the last five years – and in that case, Norwich are bigger: more games in the top flight, bigger crowds, bigger wins. There's no argument. And if you don't agree, take it up with the Independent Press Standards Organisation and see if I care. Anyway....


Now to the gritty stuff. We're talking about the whole season here, not just Sunday. Who would you put your dollar on? Independent observers would surely say Norwich. They have decent financial backing: ok, they are missing out on mega millions after relegation, but parachute money obviously helps, plus they have kept together most of the squad. It's a squad which went down: but it is a squad which knows how to get out of the Championship. Town's budget is much less, which is why there's a bit of a same old, same old feeling about them. Has Mick McCarthy built a squad to get out of the division? You doubt it.

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Early doors

After the midweek matches Norwich were second, after two wins and a draw. Ipswich were 12th (ever get that mid-table feeling?) after a win, a draw and a defeat. It's becoming a bit predictable...

Striker light

Town have lost David McGoldrick to an ankle ligament injury while new boy Grant Ward scored a debut hat-trick on the opening day. Freddie Sears has been moved into a striker's role, coming in from the wing. And Daryl Murphy has scored three goals this calendar year. But at least they are strikers, of a fashion. City have Cameron Jerome, and when he was subbed at the weekend, they didn't have an out and out striker on the pitch. Kyle Lafferty is hardly Mr Popular, it the search for more goal-getters so often reaches a dead end. Doesn't bode well, does it?

Best haircut

It has to be asked, if only because Luke Hyam is out injured. Who on earth is going to be on hair duties for Town? Might have to wait until kick-off for that one. In the City ranks, it's all a bit boring hair-wise. Whatever happened to the likes of Dale Gordon's shiny curls and Jamie Cureton's derby day special?

Who's the (best) boss?

If experience counts for anything, Mick McCarthy has the upper hand. If recent success is the yardstick, then even a relegation doesn't blot the landscape for Alex Neil. McCarthy comes across as old school – he certainly has a face that has been there, seen it, done it and he's been sworn at by the best of them. But how much has he got left in the tank? How many more seasons in the Championship can he endure? At least Neil has brought us a range of emotions to keep City fans interested. Plus, he is clearly building for the future at Carrow Road. Yes, he has parachute money (and no doubt his opposite number will drop that into a conversation the next time City spend 'big'). But McCarthy has an owner with deep pockets, hasn't he...?


And while we are on the subject of owners, how do you compare Suffolk residents Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones with Marcus Evans. Smith and Jones are prepared to put their heads above the parapet, even if they do class themselves as poor millionaires. Success on the pitch is what moves City closer to self sufficiency, not them dipping into their pockets every transfer window. Admirable political views (depending on your own persuasion of course) makes them even more admirable. But what of Mr Evans? Rarely seen, he is currently embroiled in a bit of Olympic controversy, involving his company and Olympic Games tickets. For Town fans, all they will be interested in is seeing him write out some bigger cheques to bring in some quality players. Personally, I'd take City's owners any day of the week.

Grounds for concern?

Portman Road will, inevitably, be jammed to the rafters on Sunday. The locals won't know what has hit them (metaphorically, of course). A crowd of 17,320 were there for Town's first game of the season, against Barnsley – that's less than 60pc of capacity. Norwich's 26,236 was 96pc. Last season, Town averaged 18,918. It is perhaps inappropriate to mention City's given they were in the Premier League. But we'll do it anyway: average 26,972. Not bad, eh?

Best fans?

Away fans always make the most noise: Ipswich's travelling support last season was just as noisy as City's will be on Sunday. At home, it is a different ball game: Carrow Road is quiet on match days. Seriously quiet. By all accounts, Portman Road isn't much louder. However, fans do need something to shout about and they can be notoriously fickle: On Saturday City's home draw with Sheffield Wednesday was greeted by booing in some places. It's ok to boo: it's your freedom. It's also okay to point out that it's the least encouraging sign of disaffection.