Potential trouble makers in town next season

IPSWICH TOWN: There will be much more edge in the Championship next season for the Blues.

This follows the unlikely sequence of events that has seen Norwich City, Leeds United and Millwall promoted from Division One.

The arrival of the Canaries back in the forefront of East Anglian soccer produces images of Town fans being herded like cattle from Norwich Station to Carrow Road.

And of City fans being escorted along Princes Street to Portman Road surrounded by rows of police complete with mounted constables and baying alsations.

The rewards for victory in the ‘Old Farm’ derby are immense and to beat Norwich twice would send Ipswich fans into ecstasy and for some even compensate for another lower half of the division season.

But to lose to the enemy from across the border would put thousands into a near terminal depression regardless of whether Roy Keane leads the Blues to the Promised Land or not.

The cost for policing runs into thousands of pounds and the inevitable switch to two Sunday late morning kick-offs upsets the weekend routine.

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Is a football match worth all this hassle?

Most will say yes – with victory helping of course – but a few will welcome Town getting up out of the Championship and away from the near savage intensity and brutality that surround these derby games.

And for the peace and quiet of entertaining and visiting relegated Peterborough, Plymouth and Sheffield Wednesday, Town fans will next season add Norwich to their fixture list along with Leeds and Millwall.

Ipswich supporters will be only too aware of what disruption a minority of supporters following Leeds and Millwall can cause.

Every Town fan who was at Elland Road three years ago with Leeds were relegated will still vividly recall the violent pitch battle aimed at visiting fans that disrupted the final stages of the late April game.

They may be a club with great traditions with some notable trophies having found their way into their boardroom, but a Leeds game – like Norwich – will ensure another huge police turn-out.

This leaves us with Millwall, a London-based club with plenty of crowd trouble history.

Yes they have improved and yes – like the other two promoted clubs – they do deserve to play at Championship level, but it will be another game that has the potential to ignite into a something sinister.

Teams moving into the Championship from the other direction will be much more palatable with the arrival of Portsmouth – the incessant drum banging apart – Hull and Burnley surely universally welcomed.

But for all the passion that a Norwich derby brings their return – plus that of Leeds and Millwall – will cause the pulse to race for those in charge of crowd control at Portman Road as much as rank and file supporters.

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