Things We Sort of Lolled, I mean Learned: Ipswich (H)

A draw that felt like a win, a last minute equaliser. We’ve had a couple of those this season. But this one, this one was the very best. All the Little Yellow Birders have had their say on the derby draw.

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A Tale Of Two Cities. Well, one city and a town. (Soz Chas.)

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times, it was the age of foolishness, it was the age of wisdom, it was the six minutes of incredulity, it was the moment of belief, it was the season of Darkness, it was the season of Light, it was the winter of despair, it was the spring of hope, we had nothing before us, we had everything before us, we were all going direct to Hell, we were all going direct the other way.

In truth this was a poor game between two mid-table championship sides. Ipswich in the first half and Norwich in the second had chances to capitalise on dominant spells, but failed to take them. The game seemed destined to remain goalless.

But then it came. Chambogeddon. The moment they’d been starved of for nine years, at the tenth time of asking. The fist pumping, chest beating, tattooed skipper of the joy-starved blue hordes muscled in a goal from a set piece. This was always their best chance of scoring, indeed they are the most effective team from set pieces in the championship. And there it was, in the 89th minute, surely the winner, surely Chambo had bludgeoned their way to that elusive victory over the old enemy. They knew it and celebrated as such. Chambo. Their captain, their tub-thumper, their lion, their hero, their legend, had delivered what they wanted most.

The moment we knew would come one day seemed to have arrived, there was a feeling of resignation among those in yellow in the stands, though crucially not among those in yellow on the pitch.

From a combination of their goal, their very professional timewasting (they’d have been happy with a draw from the outset - ironically) and several substitutions, five minutes of added time were signalled. We play to the end.

Ipswich initially did the right thing, got the ball down in the corner and won a few throws to eat up that time. The seconds and the minutes ticked by, time was almost up. But then they foolishly tried to plonk the icing of a second goal onto the cake of a win at FCR, gifting us possession and with it one last chance.

That chance looked small when Maddison launched a hopeful ball towards the edge of the Ipswich box, which evaded everyone and seemed to be running out for a goal kick. Their full back thought so and didn’t chase it, nor did any other defender. Bialokowski saw the danger but Grant Hanley’s deceptive burst of pace, so often our saviour in defence, made him first to the ball. The keeper scrambled back towards his goal. Hanley kept the ball in play and showing a delightful bit of skill, which his appearance belies, dinked an inviting cross over towards Timm, who rose highest and planted the ball into the corner of the net before Bialokowski could get himself set again.

And so it was that a much desired and long-awaited victory over their bitter rivals was snatched away from them at the very last, instead they must wait until later this year at least to taste the sweetness of a win in the East Anglian derby.

Cruel. Hilarious. Brilliant. Magnificent. Their fans, cavorting in joy one minute, went swiftly to panic, then disbelief and finally despair. The schadenfreude was off the scale.

I almost felt sorry for them. But then I remembered the words of a great man who once, when confronted by the sight of a couple of thousand Ipswich fans, did a rude gesture and shouted “Fuck Off”.

Cheers Mick and thanks for the memories. RJ

Lovely, lovely Timm

You know when you get together with someone who seems way out of your league, so you spend the first part of the relationship worrying that they’re going to leave you for someone better? Then, time passes, and they haven’t left you, and the nature of the relationship changes. For some reason, they must really like you, and that makes you feel amazing, and lucky, and maybe this is something special.

And so to Timm Klose. We have spent a turbulent two years feeling like he’s too good for us, that he’s unhappy, that he wants something better. But as this season has progressed, Timm seems content, he’s enjoying himself, he likes us. We have to feel grateful. He’s a rare footballer, gifted but absolutely bonkers, a real eccentric. He nuts corner flags and wears blue loafers but he puts his body on the line again and again.

There’s absolutely no one in the team I would have wanted to score a last-minute equaliser against Ipswich more than Timm. That celebration photo, eyes squeezed shut, mouth roaring, biceps bulging: that is a man who cares and who wants to fight for us. We don’t just love him; we love each other. ZW

Don't stop believing

As the clock ticked over to 90 minutes, a cacophony of noise emanating from the mass of blue to my left, I took a deep breath. So this is it, it's finally time. Ah, shit...this is what it feels like, I remember now. Ok. Let's rip this bandaid off and get it over.

I was ready to face our fate.

The Norwich players in front of me continued to pass the ball across the back, seemingly without any urgency. The noise to my left got louder. The ball wasn't getting any nearer to the Barclay; sideways, backwards. Ok, this sucks. But we just have to take it. Be a (wo)man about it.

And then, when seemingly all hope was lost, a man believed. Believed he could reach that ball before Bialkowski or the touchline swallowed it up. Believed he could put in the cross of all crosses. And there, on the end of it was another believer. Believing he could leap higher. Be stronger. Score.

They believed they could, and they did.

Isn't football wonderful?

To all those non-believers who piled out of the stands the moment Ipswich scored, that was for you. For not staying and sucking it up. For giving up at the first sign of trouble in nine years.

Never, ever, stop believing. Not even in the 94.53 minute. CT