Alex Mathie: Ipswich Town can reclaim the East Anglian bragging rights from Norwich City

Alex Mathie (right) celebrates scoring one his three goals against Norwich in 1998. Matt Holland joi

Alex Mathie (right) celebrates scoring one his three goals against Norwich in 1998. Matt Holland joins him. - Credit: Archant

Alex Mathie believes Ipswich Town can reclaim the East Anglian bragging rights next season.

The former Blues striker memorably scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 demolition of the Canaries back in 1998, but it’s the Norfolk outfit who have had the upper hand in recent years – Paul Lambert’s team winning 4-1 and 5-1 in the derby matches which preceded their promotion to the Premier League in the 2010/11 campaign.

Now, following a three year absence, the rivalry is back following Norwich’s

relegation from the top-flight.

And with the Championship fixtures for the 2014/15 season announced yesterday morning – Ipswich set to host Norwich on August 23 and visit Carrow Road on February 28 – Mathie believes Mick McCarthy’s men can turn the tables on their neighbours from up the A140.

“They’ve have a little bit of disruption with the change of manager (caretaker boss Neil Adams appointed after several names were linked) and I’m sure there will be some reshuffling there in terms of the playing staff,” said the Scot.

“There’s a lot more stability here. I played with Mick (McCarthy) at Celtic and I’m such a fan of his. He’s a fantastic manager who gets the best out of people. If we can keep hold of him then I think we can go places again.

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“If you go back to the days of Sir Bobby Robson, we were always the side who had the edge in the derby matches. Even in my era, we were always the side fancied to win. It’s turned around in recent years though. It pains me to say it, but Norwich have moved on a little bit more than Ipswich. I see no reason why that can’t turn around again though.”

Town will host newly-relegated Fulham in their season opener, that match on August 9 to be televised live by Sky (5.15pm ko). Then follows three away games – at Crawley (in the League Cup), Reading and Birmingham – before the visit of the Canaries.

Mathie continued: “I’m so glad the East Anglian derby matches are back. Talking about it now is bringing back all the memories and making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

“I know that I wasn’t one of the best players to wear an Ipswich Town shirt, but I’ll always be remembered for scoring that hat-trick against Norwich.

“One of my neighbours at the time, who’d I’d never met, came around the following day with a bottle of whiskey and said ‘thanks for that – you’ve just made my life fantastic for the next few weeks’.

“As a player you’re fully aware of what it means to the fans. I’m just a fan now, an Ipswich fan, and I can’t wait for these games against Norwich.”

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