Dutch legends Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen eyeing an Ipswich Town derby victory

Ipswich Town legends Frans Thijssen and Arnold Muhren (right)

Ipswich Town legends Frans Thijssen and Arnold Muhren (right)

Dutch legends Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen will support Ipswich Town from afar on Sunday, when the Blues head to Norwich for the East Anglian derby.

The Town UEFA Cup winners were at Portman Road on Saturday, as improving Ipswich were unfortunate to leave with only a point from their game with play-off chasing Leeds United.

Muhren (65), capped 23 times by Holland, scored for Town in a 3-3 draw at Carrow Road in the old Division One, on Boxing Day 1979, and was part of a Town team that enjoyed much success against their local rivals.

Almost 40 years on from joining Town, the Volendam-born midfielder, said: “We never lost a lot of games against Norwich, which was nice, as they were our rivals. It’s like Ajax versus Feyenoord in Holland, (Manchester) City v (Manchester) United.

“It’s always a big game and we have a chance to beat them but it is going to be difficult away from home. Every game is difficult at this level though.

“Norwich have a defender from Ajax, Mitchell Dijks, playing for them at the moment, but hopefully he does not play too well against Ipswich.”

He added: “It’s not far to travel as a player, and in was always nice to go to Norwich – it was a friendly atmosphere between the players, the fans I am not sure!

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“We won a lot of games against Norwich, so I was always happy to play against them.”

Muhren was in town, along with Thijssen, to sign copies of a new book about their careers.

Thijssen, who scored the only goal of the game as Ipswich won 1-0 at Norwich in April 1979, said: “At the moment, Town don’t have to look up or down, which is a pity.

“They go to Norwich, which is a special game for all the fans. I played a number of those games and we won most of them which was a good thing.”

Thijssen scored 16 goals in 170 games for the Blues, including two in the two-legged UEFA Cup final victory of 1981, against AZ Alkmaar. Muhren scored 29 goals in 214 games and went on to win the FA Cup with Manchester United and the European Championship with Holland.

Game Changers, by Tom van Huisen, can be purchased from the Ipswich Town shop, priced £16.99.