What is life without adversity? We better ourselves through competition, through challenge, practice and resolve – but such is not enough to create anything more than a solid and powerful force.
A tough opposition tests our physical potential and mentality, but such is just a physical challenge and offers little to our character and personality. For that, we need a rival.
Kitted in blue and rowdy as boars, the Tractor Boys provide that.
We dim to the glory and reputation of the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but such matters not when one considers the sheer character of our rivalry and our derbies.
“You’re comparing our rivalry with that of United and Liverpool? To Barcelona and Real Madrid?”
Yes, I am, and for good reason.
It’s clear that we lack the credibility of such enormous football teams, but our rivalry doesn’t stem from worldwide success and reputation.
We don’t put our rivalry on hold for a better chance in the Champion’s League and we don’t cool ourselves when faced with better chances in any domestic cup.
Fans would choose to compromise our standing in the league for the chance to tear those Tractor Boys a new one in the field. We relish in mocking those two stars of yesteryear and we weep tears of joy in the knowledge that Ipswich Town haven’t defeated us since 2009.
For many Canaries, the biggest day of the season is our home game against the Blues.
Our competition isn’t just one based on us being great teams in some city-to-city pissing contest with no other association with each other. Ours is a war between two counties.
Ours is the battle of the East, but that doesn’t even get close to summarising the intensity between our two teams.
Perhaps more prevalent now than ever before, our performances show us to be little more than two totally average teams. Ipswich Town begrudgingly sit at the very bottom of the Championship whilst we struggle to gain draws against the likes of Birmingham City.
Things don’t look good for either of us.
We’re two teams that seem to have fallen far from our past glories and, while the likes of Sheffield United and Leeds scoff in our faces, the threat stands as real as ever to our Anglian neighbours.
There’s a difference between hatred and rivalry.
We don’t pity the Tractor Boys. We remember the damage they’ve done to us and we acknowledge their history, just as they do us. We don’t see “tin pot nobodies” in Ipswich and they don’t see us as the yellow pushovers that many Championships seem to. We see more.
We form something of a symbiotic relationship with our southern counterparts, depending on each other for intense competition, banter and, above all things, acknowledgement.
Teams throughout the Championship see nothing more than a name and a shirt when they see us drawn in fixtures and blindly rain down mockeries with no respect for our history and capabilities, and we do the same – but when we fire our shots at Ipswich it comes from a much deeper place.
We mock the blues out of pride, tradition and paralytic fear of losing to them. All of these are aspects shared between the both of us.
They’re every much a part as much of our history as every promotion and every cup we have ever won and they stand as one of the most consistent aspects of our history and character.
With them we find acknowledgement, passion and a warped respect, whether we do battle at Carrow or Portman Road. With them we find a competition as fierce and proud as ourselves, and with them we will find another win on the Second of September.