Traditionally, derby rivalries build up between two teams who can't stand to occupy the same city. Manchester and Liverpool are cities bisected by reds and blues. The hatred they have for one another is something that is stoked daily, by a cavalcade of gormless enemies glimpsed chewing too loudly on buses; embarrassing themselves on dance floors; raiding supermarket frozen sections for gut-rotting cardboard alphabet potatoes.
For that reason the Old Farm Derby is one of the more intriguing derby prospects of the season. It’s one of the fiercest rivalries in the country and yet it’s played between Ipswich Town and Norwich City – two teams separated by 40 miles and county line.
To get a better idea of how the rivalry tends to play out, myself and VICE photographer Jake Lewis headed to Ipswich's Portman Road ground to watch them play newly relegated Norwich for the first time in three years.
Portman Road is the biggest capacity ground in East Anglia, with over 30,000 seats. Approximately 2,100 of those seats had been allotted to the travelling Norwich support. It’s a short walk from the train station to the stadium, and the two sets of fans were separated by little more than road markings. Throw in copious amounts of cheap lager from the carbuncle public houses dotted along the way, and it’s no surprise that the last time these two teams met there were 19 arrests as trouble between fans flared.
The Riverside Hotel, one of two pubs surrendered to away fans on match days, was rammed with travelling Norwich support, many of them too busy getting drinks down their necks in time for the early kick-off to risk throwing them across the room for a sing-song.
Meanwhile, the home fans piled into The Drum and Monkey; some of the older and less inebriated punters chatting tactics outside a Riley’s chain pool bar opposite. A shirtless town crier welcomed them all in with his Sports Direct bullhorn held high, chanting Norwich slurs in total, drunken reverie. According to Ipswich fans, everyone from Norwich is a "six-fingered sister fucker".
To most Norwich fans, the people of Ipswich are "prostitute stranglers".
When the game kicked off, however, the explosion of fervent emotion we experienced outside the ground petered out and we were resigned to watching a far better equipped Norwich team slowly dismantle their Ipswich counterparts.
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