Let’s be avin’ you! Ipswich director Ian Milne ready to have some ‘banter’ with Norwich counterpart Delia Smith

Ipswich Town managing director Ian Milne

Ipswich Town managing director Ian Milne - Credit: Archant

Let’s be ‘avin you! Ipswich Town managing director Ian Milne didn’t go as far as repeating Norwich City director Delia Smith’s infamous half-time rallying cry of 2005, but he has called upon Blues fans to make Portman Road a cauldron of noise for Saturday’s Championship play-off semi-final first leg (12.15pm).

Norwich City director Delia Smith.

Norwich City director Delia Smith.

The ebullient executive, like owner Marcus Evans, has been kicking every ball – metaphorically speaking – with Mick McCarthy’s men securing the club its first top six finish in a decade.

And now, with the Suffolk side very much underdogs in a two-legged affair with their bigger budget Norfolk rivals, he has ramped up the pressure on the club’s fierce rivals from up the A140.

“We’ve looked at the figures and, with the new TV deal, increased Parachute Payments and the extra revenue you’d get from gate receipts, merchandising and the rest, promotion is worth at least £150m now,” said Milne.

“And with Financial Fair Play rules to consider, they have a lot more to lose than we do.

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“We are the underdogs, no doubt. I’ll probably exchange some text messages and banter with David McNally (Norwich chief executive), Alan Bowkett (Norwich chairman) and Delia Smith this week to that effect.

“There won’t be any sort of Delia moment from me on Saturday, I’ll be very good, well probably not that good, but I’ll certainly be going through the same range of emotions as the fans – excitement, nervousness, apprehension. I’ve only just recovered from last weekend!

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“Hopefully Portman Road will be packed and our supporters can create a superb atmosphere for our lads. They certainly deserve it after their efforts this season. Blues fans who contribute to the noise ARE part of Mick’s squad!”

Milne added: “Other teams have far bigger budgets than we have and we came in for a bit of criticism from some in January when we didn’t do what Derby did, for example, and spend a lot of money.

“Marcus has, self-admittedly, been on a steep learning curve since he bought this club (in 2007) though and we decided to let others get on with what they felt was right and stick with the approach which was working for us.

“I think that’s been justified by the fact that we are in the play-offs. Our success has been built on the team spirit that Mick has so carefully forged.

“I’m just so pleased that, after years of apathy slowly building among our fans, they’ve finally got something to be excited about again.

“For weeks this tie has seemed written in the stars. I know we’ve lost to them twice this season but hopefully it will be third time lucky.”

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