January 31 2015 Latest news:
Friday, August 8, 2014
The Super Blues kick-start their new season this weekend, with a mouth-watering East Anglian derby at Portman Road just two weeks away.
But for 22 die-hard Ipswich Town and Norwich City fans, the return of the Old Farm derby will come early – as they go head-to-head on a park in Australia on Saturday.
For the first time ever, the Australasian branches of both clubs will do battle to claim bragging rights Down Under. The dress rehearsal of the famous derby, which is also raising money for three charities, takes place at Sydney’s Centennial Park.
Ed Parker, chairman of the Australasian branch of the Ipswich Town Supporters’ Club, said they have 90 Town fans signed up.
Mr Parker said: “Earlier this year, I challenged them (Canaries Down Under) to a match.
“We opted for the opening day of the Championship season and shortly afterwards Norwich were relegated, giving us something in common – we would both be in the Championship and the Old Farm derby would be restored.
“The schedule is for us to play the match, head off for a beer and a meal – the losers buy the first round – and then settle down in a bar to watch Ipswich against Fulham (5.15pm kick-off UK time and live on Sky Sports).”
Supporters will fly in from cities across Australia and New Zealand – including Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide – for the match.
Mark Larwood, co-founder of Canaries Down Under, said: “Although it’s a friendly kick-about, there’s still local pride at stake. It will be a good community event.”
And he joked: “We were surprised there were enough Ipswich fans to form a team!”
Funds will be raised for the Norwich Community Sports Foundation, the Australian mental health charity Beyond Blue and the George Woodward Fund.
George Woodward, of Ipswich, was just 21 months old when he was diagnosed with Type 2 Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a condition which affects the spinal cord and leads to severe disability. To donate, visit http://georgewoodwardfund.weebly.com.
How will Ipswich Town do this weekend? Make your score prediction here.