Knudsen: I’ll be playing for the fans on East Anglian derby day
Ipswich Town defender Jonas Knudsen insists he’ll be playing for the fans in Sunday lunchtime’s East Anglian derby against Norwich City at Portman Road (12pm ko).
The Danish left-back – nicknamed ‘Mad Dog’ by team-mates due to his fierce competitive nature – enjoyed his first taste of the cross-border rivalry last season, scoring in both of the 1-1 draws against the Canaries and celebrating wildly with the travelling fans at Carrow Road.
“It was so natural for me to do that because I can just feel how much the derby means to them,” he explained.
“We went back to Ipswich afterwards, I had some lads from back home over and we went out for a beer. Some boys came over and were singing my name. It was quite crazy. I think people knew who I was before, but when I scored that first goal against Norwich I got mentioned more in the town and definitely a lot more after the second goal.
“That’s what football is all about – it’s about the passion. I love those moments. That’s what you live for, that adrenaline kick when you are winning and scoring and making people happy. That’s the best feeling.
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“To celebrate with the fans is important because, without the fans, football is not the same.
“The supporters are the ones who pay my wages. When I was a kid I went to games and I always enjoyed seeing the passion. I know it’s not just about that, fans want to see quality too, but it’s half of the game really.
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“So definitely, when I put the shirt on I play for the club and I play for the fans. Even more so in games like Sunday.”
Knudsen, who took on captain Luke Chambers’ traditional post-match fist-pump celebrations following the win against Brentford earlier this season, continued: “People started talking to me about this game weeks ago. Everyone keeps reminding us that it’s a long time since Town have won a game against Norwich (2009), so why not do it on Sunday with a winning goal from me this time!
“Joking aside, it doesn’t matter who scores. It would just be fantastic to win against them. We could go back in the top six and it would leave everyone thinking ‘what can we make of this season now?’ The fans would be more behind us.”
The 25-year-old added: “I hope they come to the stadium and make some noise on Sunday because when it is a good crowd it does give something extra to the team – we saw that against Newcastle last season and in the game against Norwich.
“This is going to be a tough game and a tight game, so if the fans can gives us an extra five or 10 per cent lift then we will have a better chance to win. You can feel the difference.”