Nice clubs turn nasty on East Anglian derby day

PUBLISHED: 08:00 25 February 2017

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy screams instruction during the East Anglian derby at Portman Road last August. Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy screams instruction during the East Anglian derby at Portman Road last August. Picture: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy admits he has been surprised at just how fierce the rivalry is in the East Anglian derby.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy admits he has been surprised at just how fierce the rivalry is in the East Anglian derby.

The Blues cross the Suffolk-Norfolk border to face Norwich City at Carrow Road tomorrow (12pm ko, Sky Sports) looking for their first victory in the fixture since 2009.

Outsiders can never quite understand how two clubs separated by 50 miles can be such bitter enemies, but McCarthy, who has played and managed in passionate derby games such as Celtic-Rangers, Manchester City-Manchester United, Sunderland-Newcastle and Wolves-West Brom, now knows all about the strength of feeling between the two sets of fans following his four experiences of the match-up.

“Ipswich and Norwich fans really hate one another and I’ve been surprised by that,” he said.

“I don’t know why I am surprised. I guess it’s just because when I have come here as a player or as a manager to both clubs, it’s all very nice, all very calm. Our fans don’t give the same level of abuse out as fans of other opposition clubs, and I don’t think Norwich do in general – they just give it to each other!

“When we first played them there was a very lovely old lady who said to me; ‘You better win against them’. Actually, she called them ‘The Scum’! I was quite surprised at that.”

He added: “When I played, I hated everybody. When people say to me ‘you better win on Sunday’, that really gets my goat. We always try and win, whoever we are playing.”

Asked if staff members at the club had been telling him just what this derby means, the Yorkshireman replied: “I think I might get the hump slightly if that was the case. ‘Do you mind gaffer if I speak to you this morning about the derby game, because I would just like to tell you how much it means to me and my family, we have lived here all our life and we want to win!’

“I have had 900-odd games and nearly 600 as a player, when did I ever start wanting to lose? Ever? How often do you see me distance myself on the touchline from the passion? I seem to remember a picture of me from the last derby (swearing at Wes Hoolahan) that caused a stir.

“I am fully aware of the heightened sense of emotions.”

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