Gill recalls 'surreal' derby Day encounter

Ipswich Town Manager Paul Lambert and Matt Gill speak on the phone during the Sky Bet Championship m

Matt Gill described his return to Carrow Road as 'surreal'.

When Paul Lambert came face to face with members of Daniel Farke's coaching staff during an East Anglian derby back in 2019, Matt Gill found himself in an especially surreal situation.

The ex-Canaries player and coach had crossed the divide to join Paul Lambert's coaching staff at Portman Road, leaving his position as City's U23 lead coach just four months prior to that encounter in NR1.

Norwich were flying high in the Championship and on course for a top-flight return, whilst Ipswich were languishing at the bottom of the table hoping to win enough points to keep their head above water. 

It was top versus bottom at Carrow Road in February 2019, with plenty of subplots as Lambert, a popular and successful manager during his reign in Norfolk, returned in charge of their bitter rivals. 

That fixture was also Gill's first time back at the club since departing, and he recalls the day as being completely surreal and unenjoyable.  

"I didn't enjoy the day at all," Gill admits. "The result aside, it felt really strange going back. I'd left four months earlier, you're seeing people you haven't seen for a while walking into the stadium be it Pete the kit man, some of the media staff and people you have a real connection with. 

"It was great to see them all but being on the other side of it was really strange. The game itself was disappointing from an Ipswich point of view and obviously, there was a bit of a fracas near the tunnel with the manager getting sent off. It had everything," Gill said.

Most Read

"I had my car parked in the car park so after the game I walked around the stadium and it's chocker trying to get out. I think one of the first people I saw was Neil Adams so you have a conversation with Neil. 

"It was a pretty surreal day, if I'm honest."

The major flashpoint came on the brink of half-time as Lambert was involved in a heated discussion with City's bench. The Scot eventually had to be apprehended by a policeman before being given his marching orders alongside City's head of performance Chris Domogalla.

For Gill, who is close friends with Ed Wootten and enjoyed positive relationships with Farke and his staff, it was a difficult situation.

"Things are always said in technical areas. I try not to get too involved and concentrate on the game. 

Ipswich Town Manager Paul Lambert is sent off by Referee Peter Bankes during the Sky Bet Championshi

Gill worked as a first-team coach under ex-City boss Paul Lambert at Portman Road. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

"A few words were said around tackles and then there's a coming together. It's really weird because Ed Wootten and I are good pals and worked together closely with the 23s for a period of time before he stepped up. 

"I felt I had good relationships with Daniel, Eddie Riemer and Chris Domogalla so it was all a little bit weird. It's definitely one of the strangest experiences of my coaching career. 

"I've got so much respect for Daniel and his staff. I dealt with Eddie Riemer a lot being the 23s lead around training. I got on well with Chris and he obviously got sent off. He was wrongly accused, it was probably Ed that should have gone. It's stuff that we've laughed about since. 

"I had a beer with Ed (Wootten) a few weeks back and it didn't get brought up. We've already spoken about it that much. It is strange when it's people you have relationships with or worked underneath. It was strange."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus