Ipswich/Norwich: Matthew Tacket asks ‘what’s so great about Canaries’ anniversary?’

Norwich v Bayern

Norwich v Bayern - Credit: Archant

I’ve moaned for years about the Norwich bias of our regional news programmes that are supposed to cover the whole of East Anglia.

The other day I was watching Anglia News to be confronted by a long report about the 20th anniversary of Norwich City’s “finest” moment in European football – the club’s second round defeat of Bayern Munich in October 1993.

While that was certainly a good result, I was left wondering why it merited such a major piece.

The answer is, of course, because it happened in Norwich, in the Canaries’ only season in European football . . . ever!

Here in Ipswich we don’t commemorate individual European football successes – we’d have at least one a year after our 12 seasons in European competitions!


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Let’s get Norwich’s European pedigree into some kind of perspective. They’ve qualified for the UEFA cup once. They’ve played three European ties, winning one at home, drawing one at home, and losing one at home.

Ipswich have qualified for Europe on 12 occasions in three competitions (remember the Cup-Winners’ Cup?). We’ve played 31 ties and lost precisely none at home.

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There’s also the little matter that we actually won the UEFA cup in 1981! What’s more we did it in a kit that didn’t look as if the shirts had had a very nasty experience with a paint-sprayer!

Okay so Norwich beat (what was then a very poor) Bayern Munich in 1993 over two legs. But Ipswich have beaten Real Madrid, Lazio, Cologne (when they were the strongest German team), St Etienne, and Feyenoord.

As recently as 12 years ago the Tractor Boys won the home leg match against Inter Milan – the Canaries are less keen on reminding the world that after their heroics against Bayern, they were beaten home and away by Internazionale!

But of course it’s not just in Europe that the Canaries struggle to keep up with the honours.

They might currently be one of a number of a clubs fighting hard to avoid relegation from the Premier League, but their honours board does not look that impressive!

They’ve got a couple of League Cup successes to brag about – one was from the early 60s when they beat the mighty Rochdale to lift a cup that the big boys ignored, and one was from 1985 when the success proved such a shock to the system that they were promptly relegated from the old first division!

At this end of the A140, of course, Town have won three major trophies. Norwich crow that they’ve reached the FA Cup semi-finals three times.

So have Town. The difference is we try to forget about the two that we lost (to Clive Thomas in 1975 and to Manchester City in 1981), preferring to recall winning the cup in 1978.

Norwich are proud of finishing third in 1993. Town, of course won the league in 1962 and regarded coming second in 1981 and 1982 as something of a disappointment.

Our third-place finishes in 1975, 1977, and 1980 are quietly forgotten about (even though we would have been league champions had there been three points for a win in 1975!).

So let Norwich crow about their largely empty trophy cabinet – but don’t impose it on the rest of us who have a really successful footballing heritage to look back on!

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