Monday, November 29, 2010

Something that will never be seen again as long as I live...

I should stop being so pessimistic. I'm severely shattered, but still in awe of Strauss, Trott and especially Alastair Cook. They fought and they fought back well. More than well. I stayed up all night on Saturday and lasted until tea yesterday, for fear that should I leave, we would crumple in a heap. I couldn't even listen to TMS. I followed it on Cricinfo text updates and Hawkeye. I must've made a right picture. 

Absolutely brilliant. And just the tonic to losing to those folk from north of the border. I'm glad I'm not in East Anglia for a while. Bloody Ipswich Town. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The East Anglian derby.

A Sheffield United fan once said to me, "It's not really a derby. To be a derby, you have to be in the same place. Not 40 miles from one another." 

It's not the Suffolk derby, is it? It's not the Norfolk derby either. This is the East Anglian derby. The two biggest clubs in our pokey, lovely region, fighting it out not just for bragging rights for the supporters, but for the county. It makes kids hate the sight of yellow and green (or blue and white, but why would they, when these two colours clearly stand for all the beautiful things in the world. Sorry, I'll try and be this thing called 'unbiased'...), hate Norwich/Ipswich, get stared at whilst wearing the colours of either Ipswich/Norwich in Norwich/Ipswich, makes people pronounce the names of these places wrong, makes half decent players become loathed because they played for the wrong team. 

I read this article on the BBC Sport website and the comments section highlights just how much this derby means to the inhabitants of Norfolk and Suffolk. It's the city of Norwich vs the town of Ipswich. People outside of East Anglia seem to dismiss it, they don't understand what all the fuss is about and just think it's the locals getting restless. But a neutral sitting in Portman Road or Carrow Road would see just how passionate this derby is, how much of an atmosphere envelopes the ground. The Portman Road fixture, despite, weirdly, being on a Thursday evening will probably attract over 25,000. It's Good Friday next day. The kids are off school (probably, I haven't really checked dates), I'm home from university and will be itching to get a ticket in the lower deck of the North Stand. 

Heroes have been made in East Anglian derbies, Danny Haynes for his last minute winner, that we all maintain went in off his head. Honest. Probably incredibly insignificant to most, but also David Wright, for scoring the equaliser in my first ever away derby. That's the over-riding reason I was gutted he left during the summer. Sad, yes, but it shows just how much the East Anglian derby means to me. 

The uproar (well, there was uproar in this university room, I shouted, "WHAT!" quite loudly at the laptop and went into a huff) that Jake Humphrey, a Norwich fan, is presenting the coverage of the East Anglian derby is something people can't understand. Ipswich fans think the BBC is biased towards Norwich. ITV Anglia definitely is, in this paranoid mind. You know how it annoys you that they have ex-Liverpool players as summarisers on MOTD? Yeah, this is 10 times worse. I only hope Matt Holland is in the studio, but then he plays neutral very well. 

Humphrey, if you so much as smile about anything to do with your side, you are going down. 

Being outside of East Anglia for it is difficult. I know no other true Ipswich fans, and when I see people wearing yellow and green scarves, they're Manchester United fans. So I shall be watching the derby somewhere, preferably in the comfort of my own flat, because I don't think my colourful language will be suitable for a bar at that time of day. Or I will listen to it online and hope that the BBC put it up afterwards.

As a kid, being an Ipswich fan made me dislike one of the faces of my childhood, Blue Peter presenter, Simon Thomas. Because he's a budgie. As a teenager, it makes me sad that a man as intelligent as Stephen Fry would support them. I've tailed off the point here, so I think all that's left to say is, come on Ipswich. We may be in a slump, but if you can't get up for this, then there's no point in you being here. We've got local, young lads in the squad now, who surely must understand the passions involved in this Anglian pride. Play well, and you're a hero to thousands.

With the inevitable likely to happen in Brisbane, bring it on, budgies. Bring it on.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My nerves are jangling.

Blimey, what a first session. Apparently Strauss was so surprised by the fact Hilfenhaus' first ball didn't go to second slip that he decided to cut the third to gully. Brilliant.

I'm feeling quite awake but I think that's because my synapses have been in overdrive. I've drank enough tea to fill a swimming pool and have got my window open, meaning I have my woollen socks on. 86-2 at lunch though, after that start? I'm happy to take that. It could've gone all Headingley, but so far it's alright.

Still, the Aussies have a left arm spinner. KP is in. Cook has a strike rate of less than 50 and has been dropped by the new boy. Shane Watson has an economy of 2.50. And a wicket. Well done, Trott. Geoffrey Boycott has already said "uncovered pitches" and "corridor of uncertainty" and it's only lunch.

There's still a long old way to go, but if the next two sessions are as exciting as the first, I don't think I'll be needing my two bottles of Lucozade...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mandatory blog about Ashes Fever.

Symptoms include:
  • Frantically pressing 'F5' on the keyboard whenever on Cricinfo for news of injuries.
  • Dreaming about Simon Katich's steely gaze of determination.
  • Stocking up on energy drinks as plans to become nocturnal come into full force.
  • Waking up in a sweat due to remembering that Adelaide game in 2006/07.
  • Dreaming that Ravi Bopara made it into the England squad.
  • Waking up in a sweat realising that Tim Bresnan is in the England squad.
  • Having nightmares about Kevin Pietersen's moustache.
  • Being sad enough to type in "Has anyone called Xavier ever played Test cricket before?" then slapping your head as Xavier Marshall comes up.
  • Trying to dig out the voodoo doll of Mike Hussey from the 2006/07 series, and then realising you might not need it.
  • Trying not to get your hopes up about England's chances.
  • Hoping that the first ball of the Ashes series in Australia isn't as shit as the last one. 
 I've got it.

I hope you have too.

That is all.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ipswich Town in the dictionary.

This time last week, I was buzzing from witnessing my second (!) away win of the season. Today, I am confused and angry, because yesterday we lost 3-1 to Barnsley. At home.

Had I been there to witness it, I probably wouldn't be so annoyed, as then I'd have been able to form my own opinion. This blog is based on what I've read on various social networking sites and from match reports.

Apart from the fact it's £26 to get into Portman Road, and that's if the ticket is in advance, the football doesn't sound as though it's much quality. A quote from the Observer Championship Verdict page says, "Keane has produced a team that's capable of some of the dullest football we've ever seen at Portman Road." And I thought last season was grim.

However, I guess it's not all doom and gloom. We are only 3 points off the play-offs places in November. This time last season mass suicide was the only answer. But then, how can we compare to last season? We have a new keeper, new strikeforce, new defence and new captain. Tamas Priskin is a new person as someone in the Ipswich Town community seems to have given him a hug. He nearly scored a beauty against Sheffield United last weekend and was apparently our best player yesterday. Yet Keane took him off. Odd.

As a crowd, Portman Road is extremely fickle. Play crap, you get jeered or are greeted with moans of frustration. Play well, you get silence and the ocassional clap
/an incredibly satisfied crowd. I know I'm extremely fickle. It's probably for the best I'm not around anymore.

So I'm not off to Hull. Not for football reasons, even if they got smashed 10-0 yesterday, I'd have gone if it wasn't for trains being expensive. £13 for a student ticket? Brilliant. Sadly, I went to Sheffield on four hours sleep and I'm still feeling it. Never good.

So I will continue to shout at my laptop, await text updates from my mum and dad as I refuse to pay for Ipswich Town player. If I can listen to Notts County vs Colchester online, why can't I listen to Radio Suffolk? I'm too bitter. And then in two weeks today, I make my way to a bar on campus hoping that it will be showing the biggest derby of the season and not Newcastle vs Chelsea.

Form counts for sod all in East Anglian derbies. We can only live in hope Ipswich fans.