So do you want Norwich relegated?

EAST Anglian derby days are always spicy affairs as it is and April 19th could be even more significant for Norwich City at Ipswich Town as it could be the day they are sent down by their rivals.

Derek Davis

EAST Anglian derby days are always spicy affairs as it is and April 19th could be even more significant for Norwich City at Ipswich Town as it could be the day they are sent down by their rivals. But chief football writer DEREK DAVIS wonders if that would be such a good thing?

IN typical Ipswich Town fashion it seems fans are once again divided.

No, not just about whether Jim Magilton should be replaced in the summer, but whether they would want to see Norwich City relegated.


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There is probably no question that if City were to be doomed to life in League One then Town fans would love to be the ones that put that nail in the coffin.

Who can forget that December day in 2004 when the Canaries were chirping 'top of the league at Portman Road' and dutifully marched on to win promotion into the promised-land that is the Premier League.

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Even if they were there just for a season what a glorious time was had by the Norfolk club.

Things have spiralled downwards since then with Nigel Worthington and Glenn Roeder gone and all that Premier League money dissipated so all that remains is a team built on loanees struggling to survive until the new man can rebuild.

After a surprise 2-0 win over automatic promotion challengers Cardiff City at Carrow Road on Tuesday, Bryan Gunn's men edged up to third from bottom and have a crunch class with fellow relegation strugglers Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.

By the time City come to Portman Road on Sunday, April 19 they will also played Sheffield Wednesday and Watford at home and Birmingham and Swansea away with Charlton and Reading left to face.

In all likelihood Town's promotion challenge will be all over by then and even those who are still clinging to the clich� 'it is still mathematically possible' will have conceded what many of us have known for a long time - it just is not going to happen.

So all Town fans have to perk up the season end is the opportunity to make up for the dismal defeat at Carrow Road back on December 7 and the added attraction of chanting 'getting relegated at Portman Road' to the old enemy.

But in the bigger scheme of things would one day of gloating enjoyment be worth it. A bit like scoffing down a giant chocolate bar but knowing you will pay for it one way or another later.

If Town were going up anyway then it would be fine to send them down because they would not miss out on two derby days anyway.

They are enjoyable occasions, depending on result and performance to some extent, but money-spinners for the hosts and the first many look for when the fixtures are published in June.

Of course no team wants to go down, just as no team should ever fear going up into the top flight just because they may come back down in a hurry, but sometimes taking a step back in order to move forward is no bad thing.

Look at Leicester City right now.

They are boasting crowds averaging 20,000, the feel-good factor around the city is immense and Nigel Pearson has got his side playing football and scoring goals that is fun and sustainable once promotion is clinched.

City would go down in the knowledge that their fan base is behind them, largely because they believe in the manager and his staff.

They have already secured in excess of 17,000 season tickets and are safe in the knowledge that they will get around 25,000 for each home game, full houses should they have a decent run.

Financially it would not be too much of a burden either because Gunn has flexibility with a squad he can cut down and get within budget, thus staving off any threat of administration.

That is not to say City, like Southampton and Charlton will not consider the option before the end of March but all the time they have a hope of staying up they will avoid that but if it happens after that they will start next season minus 10 points.

Sadly there will be Town fans who will revel in that but they should remember their own experiences and also realise that if it were not for Marcus Evans there was a chance Ipswich could have gone into a second administration.

So perhaps those who want to see Norwich relegated should be careful of what they wish for.

There would be nothing worse for Town fans at the end of their own game hearing City have won again, no matter what the division, especially if next season is a repeat of the last couple.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

SO what do you think? Would you like to see Norwich City relegated, or are the East Anglian Derby games a must? Let us know: sport@eadt.co.uk

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