David Hannant: 'On the night that Town went down' - a Norwich City poem
PUBLISHED: 07:56 15 April 2019 | UPDATED: 07:56 15 April 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
I felt no real need, for a dance on the streets, On the night that Town went down.
We’ve been there before, we all know the score,
The devastation that relegation will bring.
And on another occasion, I may have been of the persuasion,
To tip my head back like Holty and laugh.
But for me the one reason, to remember this season,
Is our heroes in yellow and green.
Sure, perhaps if like last year, by this point it was clear,
That our season is petering out.
I may take some enjoyment, in the ill-fated employment,
Of our once worshiped leader and his boys.
But with our City flying high and terrific record on Sky,
That’s all the enjoyment I need.
Without spending the biggest of bucks,
And by making all of our own luck,
We’ve taken a group, that few pundits gave hope,
To the brink of the Premier League.
There’s Pukki, who signed on a free,
And Aarons and Lewis, you see.
There’s Emi the genius, and Zimbo so tall,
So really there’s no need at all.
To take pleasure and fun,
From the plight of the team wearing blue and white.
This campaign has already brought,
So many things more worthy of thought.
There’s the faith in our youth and the undeniable truth,
There’s been nobody better than us.
So for this simple reason, this wonderful season,
Won’t be remembered for the night Town went down.’
Okay, so of course I appreciate the irony of going to the trouble of writing a poem about Ipswich going down to make a point about how little Ipswich going down should mean to us.
Obviously, a large part of being a football fan is taking a little bit of pleasure out of the downfalls of our rivals.
Ten years ago it was us slipping through the trap door to League One - a real low point.
I can’t remember exactly how them lot down the road reacted to it, but I suspect it was in a fairly similar vein to how many City fans are responding now.
And yes, of course Lambert’s involvement adds a bit of spice to the equation.
So while I won’t begrudge any City fans having a little bit of a chuckle at Ipswich’s expense, it’s worth thinking about what has happened to us in the decade after our darkest hour.
I’m not sure too many people will disagree with me in my belief that - at that moment in time - taking a step backwards was possibly the best thing that could have happened to us.
Obviously that is very easy to say with the benefit of hindsight, but I see it as something of a ‘Sliding Doors’ moment - in that had we stayed up that season who is to say whether we’d have spent a single subsequent season in the Premier League - let alone four.
There are a lot of similarities between the Norwich team of ten years ago and the Ipswich team of now, in all fairness.
Glenn Roeder took a team already in something of a rut and stripped them of any identity, confidence and unity.
We all know what happened next and wouldn’t change it.
Ipswich, similarly now look a shell of a club, having been in one heck of a rut.
While under Mick McCarthy they didn’t really look like they would threaten the top of the table, neither did they look in any real danger of relegation - a testament to the solid job he did there.
Again, there’s a similar trend - one man making a major difference. For us, it was the man on the pitch - Darren Huckerby. Without him, our League One tour may easily have been a year prior.
For Ipswich - it seems - it was McCarthy - hindsight suggests.
Time will soon tell what impact Ipswich’s relegation will have on them, and I for one would genuinely like to see them bounce back and meet us again - in the Premier Leauge ideally.
However, as I mentioned in my piece of prose, in ten years time I will never look at this season as being the year Ipswich went down.
It’s by no means job done yet, but assuming we seal the deal, I will remember the campaign as Norwich’s best promotion yet.
For weeks on end now we’ve all been writing about everything that has made this campaign probably the most enjoyable in the past 20 years. The style of play, the late drama - everything.
The fact Ipswich went down is merely a foot note for me - appropriately, given where foot notes are on the page.