VIDEO: Norwich-supporting wife and Ipswich-supporting husband face tension of East Anglian play-off decider
If you think the Championship play-off between arch-rivals Ipswich Town and Norwich City is tense enough, spare a thought for the Sharpe household in Winfarthing, near Diss, where husband Neil and wife Angela hold season tickets for the opposing teams.
The couple, who live in Heath Road with their two children, say this weekend’s SkyBet Championship play-off semi-final second leg at Carrow Road will be the biggest East Anglian derby in the 16 years they have been together.
“It’s only for those few hours we are enemies!” said Norwich fan Angela, 37, a freelance photographer.
“There might be a bit of grumpiness for a week after Saturday. Somebody’s not going to be happy, but at least one of us is going to Wembley.”
The couple stated they had experienced “tense moments” as their clubs have met over the years, but agreed the form for both sides had been “swings and roundabouts” during that time.
“If either team wins, we enjoy the moment, but in the next game, it can all turn around again. Over the years, things will even each other out,” Angela added.
“I get stick from other Norwich fans for marrying an Ipswich fan, but it’s only a game of football at the end of the day.”
Meanwhile, Ipswich supporter Neil, originally from Diss, praised manager Mick McCarthy for turning the Tractor Boys around in recent seasons, and claimed most of the pressure is on the Canaries following the 1-1 draw in the first leg.
“The atmosphere at Portman Road was the best I’ve ever seen. It’s exciting just to be there,” said Neil, 36, a salesman for AD Veale Water Treatment Ltd in Eye.
“From what we’ve spent and what Mick McCarthy has done, I think we’ve done really well. All the players have got good camaraderie and they all show a bit of passion for the club, which we’ve not had for a few years.”
But do the pair feel confident ahead of the game, which will send the winners to the final for a shot at promotion to the Barclays Premier League?
“I think Norwich will win 3-0. If the confident Norwich we know turn up, we should be fine,” said Angela, while Neil stated he hoped for a 2-1 victory for Ipswich after extra time, but added he was just pleased to be there and would consider anything more as “a bonus.”