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Norwich City is the rivalry Leeds United needs

With a League Cup tie against Norwich City quickly approaching, Ben explains why the Canaries should be Leeds United’s most hated. 

Norwich City v Watford - Premier League Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

I like to think that I’m a rational Leeds United fan.

I’ll accept that’s likely an oxymoron; no fanatical is a balanced reasonable person when the Whites are in your life... but you know what I mean.

As the years have gone on and this club has found new ways to disappoint, I have needed a judicious approach to accept all the losing. The ritual of expecting nice things, only to have them snatched away, became too much.

Does this mean my fandom has slipped? You might want to say yes, but I don’t think it has.

I love Leeds United, but I’m an Australian sitting in Perth. I have 29 degree (84 degree Fahrenheit for our American friends) sunshine coming my way this weekend. Not even a Leeds loss can ruin that. The weather, along with a myriad of other footballing drugs, have been my pain relief for Leeds United.

I’ll readily admit other things can consume my life when this club is underperforming. It’s an ingrained habit by now. Tuesday’s donation of points to Wigan was the latest example.

A decade ago, my summer mornings were ruined by such annoying results. Now, they are the norm. We’ve seen it all before. So be happy with the point and roll forward to the weekend, knowing we sit only 3 points outside the playoff positions.

One match doesn’t define my week anymore. A childhood obsession is now a part of my life, not my life. If the 14-year-old version of myself could see me now, wow, would he hate that current version. A weak arse front-runner would probably be the first of many insults coming from his fat, pimple infested face.

So, why am I telling you this?

With Garry Monk breathing life into this club, my feeling of obsession is returning. Saturday’s loss to Derby ruined my weekend. I haven’t felt so disappointed and annoyed at a football game since I was a child! It was painful, annoying and horrible. Yet it was a glorious moment.

That feeling of apprehension is why football is great, and it’s why we support Leeds United. It’s the type of feeling that only arrives when there is a realistic target over the horizon.

I hope you have felt it too.

Expectations can be dangerous, but real expectations, the ones you truly believe deep down, these are powerful.

Knowing that we are on the path to regaining our title as a premier English club, not just in league name, but in every sense of the word? That is a powerful thought.

So as Monk starts us down the Yellow Brick Road, I want my revenge for all the losing we have suffered this decade. I want our revenge. I want Leeds United to write the wrongs of the past 12 years.

Yes, I truly want the Premier League and for our fans to dance victorious in the stands of Old Trafford. This is the dream, but we have more pressing business.

Which leads me into Norwich City.

I sports-hate Norwich City. Where that hatred sits on the scale of jealousy, resentment, envy and plain old aversion is up for debate. I just don’t like them. They have climbed into the Premier League (unsuccessfully, of course) while we trudge through the Championship.

They have stolen our players, treating Elland Road like a feeder team for an entire decade. Robert Snodgrass and Jonny Howson were each newly appointed captains of United when the pesky Canaries stole them. Luciano Becchio was our sole attacking option in 2013 prior to his defection, while Bradley Johnson has also made the switch this decade.

Losing each was a shot to heart, not that any player could be blamed for the move. Each was probably too good for that version of Leeds United. Just as AFC Bournemouth in the case of the Lewis Cook, Norwich has been a better footballing destination than Leeds United for almost a decade.

Norwich kept coming back for more, and our old mate Ken Bates was happy to oblige. Norwich was treating us like the poor relation.

Under the current Championship set up, Norwich is the side I want to beat the most. They should be our number one public enemy.

Because who are our actual rivals at the moment? I hate Manchester United because, well… they are Manchester United, the Goliath that takes whatever they want. We’re a pitiful sidenote to them at present, and most of the world hates them anyway.

Quick side note, find your special place and watch Mr. Jermaine Beckford break their hearts on repeat for an hour. It’ll take you to Happy Gilmore’s happy place.

But we’ve only had two touching points with them since falling out of the Premier League. They are far above us at the moment. It sucks, yet it’s the reality of life. Same goes for Chelsea. The Blues are an arrogant bunch but they are out of our reach for now.

These rivalries must continue, don’t for a minute think that I’m saying anything else. We will return to the Premier and when we do, they best look out. It’s just going to take a little time.

As for our West Yorkshire rivals - Bradford City and Huddersfield Town – these are rivalries in the same way that me and my little brother are rivals. He might get one over me now and then, but we know both know who the big dog is.

Norwich represents the first major stepping stone in our path back. As we fell to our nadir, they stole from us. Even when in separate leagues, they bullied us and looked down at us with disdain.

So where does that leave us now? In a position all too familiar.

Norwich sit second in the table, while we sit 13th. They score goals with reckless abandon while we rely on a big Kiwi to get our work done, occasionally. They are also coming to Elland Road on Tuesday for an English Football League Cup tie.

Norwich is the bookies’ favourite to come into our house and knock us out of the cup. This is like adding fuel to the Springfield tyre fire.

Next week’s cup tie is bigger than 90 minutes of football. It represents a chance to start righting a wrong, to start returning respect and confidence to the fan base. I want Norwich, and I want to beat them in every sense of the word.

I am also the same person who said he hates Cup runs... for this squad, anyway. Teams sitting in the middle rungs of English football should be focused on climbing the ladder, not progressing an extra couple for rounds in the Cup. The end result is inevitable either way. Either you lose to average team ‘X’ in the third round or a goliath in the quarterfinal.

Aw well, all the logic in the world doesn't matter to me next Tuesday.

My rationale can go f*ck itself, and my obsessive fandom can take the drivers seat. Let’s slaughter Norwich. MOT.