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LEICESTER CITY FOOTBALL CLUB
Leicester City won the Worthington Cup by defeating Tranmere Rovers by 2:1 History was made as it was the first time Leicester had won a major trophy at Wembley. City hero was Matt Elliott who headed both goals from Steve Guppy corners. Ex city striker David Kelly scored the Tranmere goal.
In 18 years as a professional footballer, and four previous trips to the twin towers for domestic cup finals Tony Cottee had yet to secure a winners medal. At the age where many had hung up their boots TC had another chance to get that elusive medal, and this time he did .
"I am delighted to acquire a manager
of such great calibre. Paulo has an excellent reputation as both a player
and now as a manager, and I believe he is the right man to take our club forward.
"I admire his style of football and I am sure all our supporters will join me in looking ahead to the new season."
|2009 / 2010 Review|
At the start of the season the majority LCFC fans would have settled for a mid table position in our first season
back in the championship. Even finishing fourth from bottom would have pleased some fans. As the season progressed it was clear that we were more than holding our own, and the optimism levels began to rise. Losing only one nil away at Newcastle, and holding them to a draw at the Walkers with only 10 men were highspots. The lowest point in the season was being on the wrong end of a 5 - 1 thrashing away at against Nottingham Forest. March saw a string of bad results.
A 2 all draw at the Walkers against Coventry, being 2 nil up and coasting, was followed by four straight defeats. Results in other games went our way and City maintained their top six position, but many fans thought that the bubble had burst and we would then go into freefall. The team turned it round and got back to winning ways, with five wins in the last five games, including a comprehensive thumping of Nottingham Forest when they visited the Walkers, this time Leicester winning 3 - 0, and therefore restoring bragging rights to Leicester.
With one game to go Leicester cemented their place in the play off positions, and their opponents would be Cardiff City over two legs, the first one being played at the Walkers. A tight game ensued with Cardiff the better team in the first 45, and they took the lead with 12 minutes to go from a Whittingham
free kick. Almost immediately from the restart Matty Fryatt had a glorious chance to put City level, but I suspect his lack of games and match fitness didn't help and he shot straight at the advancing Cardiff 'keeper. City piled on the pressure, but could find the 'net.
We had to go to the Cardiff City Stadium for the return leg and do something that we hadn't managed to do
in 2 previous visits that season, Win !!
City got off to a bad start when they went 1 nil down 12 minutes. It was all Cardiff and I remeber thinking when they scored that it was now game over. How wrong I was to be. Three minutes later Fryatt went through and this time he did find the back of the net. We then had them on the ropes and every time we went forward we looked like scoring. Welshman Andy King rose to head in a Paul Gallagher cross to put Leicester 2 1 up on the night, 2 all on aggregate. City contined to push forward looking for the goal that would give them the overall lead, and it was to come when Richie Wellens put away a penalty kick. The referee then awarded Cardiff a spot kick, which should not have been allowed as in the build up a Cardiff striker was clearly in an off side position. They scored to level the tie at three all, and at ninety minutes it remained the same. 30 minutes extra time could not separate them so it was to be decided on penalties.
Both teams scored their first three, but when Kermorgant stepped up for Leicester he tried to chip the keeper and it was saved. Cardiff scored their fourth, so it was all on loan striker Martyn Waghorn. He stepped up and struck a fine penalty, but was thwarted by the keeper who saved well, earning Cardiff a play off final against Ian Holloways Blackpool.
|2010 / 2011 Review|
A poor start to the season saw Paulo Sousa sacked after only two months in charge, and Leicester in the bottom three.
His replacement Sven Goran Eriksson wasted no time bringing in premier class player on loan, amongst them Kyle Naughton (Spurs), Gregg Cunningham and Ben Mee (Man City) Ricardo (Portugese international goalkeeper) Diomansy Kamara (Fulham) Jeffrey Bruma and Patrick Aanholt (Chelsea) Chris Kirkland (Wigan) Curtis Davis (Aston Villa) Roman Bednar (West Brom) and, probably the highest profile of the lot Yakubu from Everton, who was on a reported £85k a week at Everon, so who know what we were paying for his services. Another signing but on a permanent contract was Sol Bamba who joined from Hearts. Sven knew Sol from managing the Ivory Coast national team. Sol was immediately idolised by the fans as his home debut was in the FA cup against Premier opposition Manchester City, and he scored his first Leicester City goal only a couple of minutes into the game.
Unfortunately the team didn't play well week in week out. They were too inconsistent. A late surge saw them climbing the table but then slipped backwards and failed to make the play offs, finishing in tenth position 8 points behind sixth place.
|2011 / 2012 Review|
With loads of money to spend on building a premier class squad Sven splashed the cash (again) prior to the start of the season.
£5m secured Matt Mills the Reading centre half. Other new faces were Kasper Schmeichel, Gelson Fernandes, Paul Konchesky, Neil Danns, David Nugent, John Pantsil, Lee Peltier and Sean St Ledger, and, at the 11th hour on transfer deadline day Jermaine Beckford.
Michael Johnson came on loan from Man City.
The amount of money spent showed how much the Thai owners wanted Premiership football, but allthough
we had many excellent players they didn't play as a team. The opening game of the season was away at Coventry, which we scraped a 1 nil win, but we never looked anything special. This continued and allthough performances improved they didn't carry through to the next game. A home win 4 nil against Derby was the best performance of the season so far and many fans saw that as a sign the players had finally got it together. The following week they put in a strong first half against Birmingham, but failed to score. A dismal second half saw us reduced to ten men after Mills was red carded for a terrible tackle and we lost 2 nil. Two weeks later a 3 nil home defeat to bottom three Milwall proved to be the end for Sven.
Sven out.......Nigel Pearson Returns
The rest of the season was a bit up and down. Pearson had to work with Svens players, and on many occasions he said that the squad lacked balance, and players would come and go in the transfer window. Pearson had a falling out with
Sean St Ledger, who was on the point of joining Ipswich, but the deal was put on hold due to lack of cover in the centre of defence. St Ledger and Pearson made up and St Ledger regained his place in the team. Mills was next to fall out with the manager. What went on is not known , but speculation was that Mills had tried to head butt Pearson. Whatever happened it did not have a happy ending for Mills. the incident he made the bench once, but never played any part in a first team game for the rest of the season. New faces arrived, Ben Marshall from Stoke, Danny Drinkwater from Man Utd and Wes Morgan from Nottingham Forest. Out went Yuki Abe and Gelson Fernandes plus a few fringe players.
Getting back to back wins was a major issue, managing to do it only once all season. Inconsistency was their problem, even when a play off position was within touching distance we lost against lowly opposition who quite frankly we should have been able to beat comfortably.
|2012 / 2013 Review|
This would be Nigels Pearsons first full season in charge. So there could be no excuses about inheriting an unbalanced squad,
or players not good enough.
11 games City were top of the table with the defence in fine form, never conceeding more than two goals in a game.
There was one blip however, when we played the Capital One cup tie against 2nd division Burton Albion at the KP stadium,
who, incidentally were managed by ex City player Gary Rowett. A humiliating defeat saw us go down 4-2 Some fine flowing
football saw us consolidate our position at, or near to the top of the championship. Notable results were a 6-0 win against
Ipswich, and a great start to 2013 when on New Years day we beat Huddersfield 6-1. Also in January were were handed a
home FA cup tie against Burton Albion. This time old ghots were laid to rest, when City ran out winners 2-0.
January saw Nigel Pearson awarded the dreaded "Manager of The Month" award. A poison challice if there ever was one.
February saw City's fortunes turn, and they went on a very poor run of form, picking up only 8 points from a possible 36. Fans witnessed relegation form,
and certainly not a team who were looked to take one of the two automatic promotion spots.
Fans became restless calling for the managers head. But why ? We had played so well in the first part of the season, and on our day we could have beated any team. In my opinion, teams played a more physical game against us, and bullied and harrassed us. We liked time on the ball, to stroke it about, and were intimidated by the methods adopted by our oponents. Nothing wrong with the way teams set up against us, we just needed some more metal, particularly in midfield. We needed a Neil Lennon type player who would get stuck in.
Despite the poor form, we stayed in the top 8, but that top 6 finish was looking more and more unlikely. With only 4 games to go, we picked up our first win in ten games against Bolton, who were just above us. A draw against Crystal Palace and a home defeat to Watford left us going into the final game of the season away to local rivals Nottingham Forest.
Three teams were chasing sixth spot. Bolton held that position with Forest in seventh and us in eighth.
Bolton needed a win to take sixth spot. It was in their own hands. If Bolton lost then either a Forest or Leicester win would put them into sixth, leapfrogging over Bolton. Blackpool were the visitors to Bolton and surprisingly they took a two goal lead. forest went one nil up, and leicester pegged them back to 1 all. Forest then scored again, but City levelled. 90 minutes at the City Ground Nottingham the score was 2 all, and Bolton had come back to tie their game at 2 all.
Had the scores remained that way Bolton would have taken sixth spot, but in stoppage time Leicester forward Chris Wood collected the ball just past the half way line. Advancing forward he found Frenchman Anthony Knockeart to his left, who stuck the ball in the net for a 3 - 2 Leicester victory. It was the first time Leicester had won at the City ground for 20 years, and the result put them above Bolton on goal difference, and more importantly into the play offs.
The first leg of the play off came 5 days the final game of the regulation season, and Watford were the visitors to the King Power Stadium. Bizarrely they were the last team to play at the KP only a couple of weeks earlier. Watford had had a chance of automatic promotion on the last day of the season, but a home defeat 3-2 to Leeds meant they finished third and the play off lottery loomed ahead. During that game their top striker Troy Deeney was shown two yellow cards so had to sit out the first leg.
A nail biting 90 minutes ensued, with both teams having chances, but it was a David Nugent, with his first goal since January
which sent Leicester City into the second leg with a slim lead. I felt that we had to take at least a two goal advantage to Vicarage Road.
Would one goal be enough ?
The second leg was played 3 days later. Watford bouyed by the return of 'keeper Manuel Almunia, and star striker Deeney.
They took the lead with a goal from Vydra which was of the highest calibre. Nugent nodded in another goal to make it 1 all on the day, only for Vydra to come up with another to make it an aggregate score of 2 all. in the 94th minute Knockeart went on a run and into the Watford box. A challenge from defender Cassetti, sent Knockeart over, and there was no doubt that the ref had been conned when he pointed to the spot. There seemed to be a reluctance by the Leicester players over who was going to take the penalty, but Knockeart claimed it.
Up he stepped, hitting the ball to Almunia's left. Keeper saves, and the ball is in lose in the box. Knockeart follows up but hits the ball straight back at the keeper. Watford clear the ball up to the half way line. Foresterri crosses the ball from the right wing, Schmicel
comes out, flaps at the ball and misses it. Watford player Hogg has it, passes square to an unmarked Troy Deeney near the penalty spot who scores and puts Watford into the play off final.
Only 20 seconds elapsed between Knockeart taking the penalty at one end and Watford scoring at the other.
In all honesty we had not been consistent enough throughout the season to get automatic promotion, and our form since February was more akin to a team facing relegation, BUT as a fan you take whatever comes your way. We were only a penalty kick away from Wembley, but it was not to be, and another season in the Championship beckoned.
I really hope that next season we will still have Nigel Pearson in charge. In my opinion he is the best manager we've had since Martin O'Neil. My only critisim of him is his personality when being interview on TV or radio. He always comes over as very dour. He would be doing himself a big favour if
he was more approachable.
|2013 / 2014 Review|
The big question at the start of the season was how would the players react to the last minute beating at Watford.
Would that play heavy on their mind and knock confidence or would they use it to spur them on. One major concern was the lack of transfer activity. Zoumana Bakayoko was signed in July, in August Marcin Wasilewski a Polish international defender from Anderlecht and Dean Hammond from Southampton, and in September Gary Taylor Fletcher from Blackpool.
The season got underway with an away trip to the North East against Middlesborough, where a 2 - 1 win was secured with goals from Danny Drinkwater and Jamie Vardy. Four more league games followed during August with an away win at Derby, and the only loss came away at Chris Powell's Charlton, who were a bit of a bogey team for Leicester City. Two Capital One cup rounds, both away at Wycombe and Carlisle were safely negotiated.
The season progressed nicely with some fine wins and the second win of the season over Derby County when they visited the King power in the Capital One cup. During September they remained undefeated, and we have to go forward to September for the next defeat which was away at Doncaster. Despite City pilling on the pressure after Donnys 17th minute goal they were unable to find the back of the net. Highlight of the month was the home win 4-3 against Premiership Fulham, in the Capital One Cup.
November started with an away game at Watford, so the players would be returning to the scence of their bitter play off semi final.
In front of the Sky cameras, Chris Wood got on the score sheet with a fluke goal after 10 minutes as Watford's 'keeper, Manueul Almunias clearance hit him in the face and the ball rebounded past the 'keeper and into the net ! Goals from Knockeart and Dyer sealed a three on win in a game which City dominated. The following week however, a home defeat to Forest brought the mood down.
December was a testing month with games againt early pacesetters Burnley (who were one of the foavourite to go down) and pre season promotion favourites QPR, and between these two was the Capital One cup with Premiership big spenders Manchester City visiting. Burnley was one all draw and a fine away win at QPR by one goal to nil keep City riding high. We were out of the cup though when Mn City won 3 -1. However we went down fighting and Man City didn't have it all their own way.
There was a new team spirit within the club. Danny Drinkwater was putting in great performances week in week out, and alongside Matty James they were a formidable midfield partnership. Despite struggling to hit form the previous season after his move from non league football Jamie Vardy was a changed man. He had worked hard in pre season and his sharpness and understanding with David Nugent was paying dividends as they both were regulars on the score sheet. Many of Nugents goals had come from the penalty spot.
Two new signings came in January. French Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez joined. A very exiciting prospect who likes to showboat with fancy footwork, similar to Anthony Knockeart, but both able to find the back of the net in spectacular style. Kevin Phillips came in on a contract until the end of the season. A man with bags of premiership and international experience, and also experience of getting out of the championship.
By January City were top of the league and winning most of their games. Ex City striker Alan Young went as far as saying that we would go through the rest of the season unbeaten. A very bold statement indeed. As the months passed by, his prediction was loking more and more likely.
City were pulling away at the top with pre season relegation favouries Burnley in second place, and third place Derby 15 points behind.
The 4th April was a Friday night away trip to Sheffield Wednesday, changed for the benefit of Sky TV. City won 2-1. With the other Championship matches being played on Saturday, all eyes we on QPR away at Bournemouth and Derby away at Middlesborough, where wins by the home teams would mean Promotion was guaranteed for City. It was a surreal moment watching the scores come in. Bournemouth and 'Boro both won and we were up without even playing, and still seven games to go.
Four days later, Tuesday 8th April, after a 22 match club record unbeaten run, and with 5 games to go Brighton visited the King Power Stadium and put four passed a below par City team, with Gary Taylor Fletcher netting an 89th minute consolation goal.
Perhaps the weekends events had taken their eye off the ball, who knows, but it would be business as usual for the remaining 5 games which we went unbeaten.
With two games to go Leicester were crowned as Champions following their 1 nil away win at bolton
This sesson City were unplayable at times. Good performances against Premiership teams gave an indication of what the players were capable of. The home game against Derby springs to mind in which City ran out 4-1 winners. That night they played Derby off the park, and probably would have done the same to half the teams in the premiership.
Pearson got rid of players who were brought in by Sven years ago on high wages,and who had an unsettling influence in the dressing room - Jermaine Beckford and Neil Danns both went to Bolton, and others like Whitbread and Waghorn went out on loan.
The season saw a number of club records fall.
Now the planning for the Premiership must begin. The manager and several players are out of contract, Schmeichel, Wasilewski, Nugent and Dyer amongst them.
Dyer was offered a one year contract, but turned it down. He wanted three years, and unfortunately they couldn't agree on it so he took a move to Watford. I think he should have took the offer on the table, and that would have at least given him a chance to play in the Premiership.
Rumours of Schmeichel to Inter Milan and Arsenal have featured in the press, but he has remained loyal to LCFC and signed a new contract.
Pearson hasn't been slow in bolstering the squad.
In June he signed Ben Hamer, goalkeeper from Charlton Athletic, ex England and Premiership player Matthew Upson coming in from Brighton and
Marc Albrighton joining from Aston Villa.
The owners have put their cards on the table and have gone on record, saying that they will invest £180 million in the football club over the next three years, their ultimate aim of achieving Europa League Football.
During July, another long term target Leo Ulloa joined from Brighton.
The Argentinian striker impressed when Brighton visited the KP last season and came with a hefty price tag.
A club record £8m on a four year deal.
The previous record signing was Adi Akinbiyi, so lets hope Ulloa has more to offer than Adi ever did !
It sure is a great time to be a Leicester City Football Club fan........
|2014 / 2015 Review|
Nigel Pearson had done the seemingly impossible pre season by signing Argentinian captain Esteban Cambiasso from Inter Milan on a free transfer. He would go on to make 33 appearances and score 5 goals during the season.
The season got off to a reasonable start...... despite the bookies having LCFC as one of the favourites for relegation.
Highspot was the third home match of the season when Manchester Utd came to town. City came back from looking down and out at 2 nil to be
5 - 3 victors. It was a fantastic game which defied the odds.
Unfortunately the rest of the season didn't live up to expectations, and City finished the calendar year 2015 with only two wins and 13 points, and in premier league history only one club who were bottom at Christmas had gone on to avoid the drop. The omen's were not good. January to March's points tally only ammounted to 6 points and City were staring relegation in the face. End of March they had 19 points, with only 9 games to go.
The first game of April was home to West Ham, which was a 2 - 1 home win, and this was followed up with wins against West Brom, Swansea, Burnley,Newcastle,Southampton, and defeat away at Chelsea. Going into the last away game of the season at Sunderland we had ammassed 37 points, and avoiding relegation was now possible. The game ended nil nil and that was enough to secure our spot in the premier league. Last game was home against QPR which resulted in a 5 1 win for City, and a final league position of 14th.
What looked like a foregone conclusion at Christmas had been turned on it's head, but events off the field were still to play a part in the topsy turvey season.
During the home defeat to QPR during February, Nigel Pearson had put his hands round Palace's James McArthurs neck whilst he was on the ground, and later that night reports circulated that Pearson had been sacked. In a "night of confusion" this was then denied by the club, but it would appear some wanted him out, but higher powers reversed the decision.
He then courted more controversy when, after the defeat at Chelsea, he asked a reporter "are you an ostrich", and also went on to call him stupid and daft.
On 30th June he was sacked by the club who stated that "the working relationship between Nigel and the Board is no longer viable." The sacking was linked to his son James' role in a racist sex tape made by three Leicester City reserve players in Thailand during a post-season tour.
You can watch and read more about the sacking here
In my view it was a strange sacking to make, given how the team had turned things round to avoid relegation, but were his outbursts a sign of the pressure getting to him, and certainly the actions of his son did not sit comfortably with the clubs Thai owners.
Would he have done any better in a second Premiership season ?
I don't think so.
He laid the foundations during his two tennures for which all LCFC fans should thank him for. Unfortunately his brash and confrontational
manner never earned him any fans, but he should be remembered for what he did on the pitch.
Let's not forget that Sir Alex Ferguson was never Mr Happy when being interviewed by the media !
|2015 / 2016 Review|
So, the question was, who will be the next LCFC manager. Names were mentioned, Jurgen Klopp being one of them !
I remember driving home from work when they announced who it would be.....
NO, NO, NO! Why would they appoint him. 64 years old, not managed in the premiership since being ousted by Chelsea in 2004, and his last job as Greece national team manager ended in riducule when they were beaten by the Faroe Islands.
Enter the original tinkerman Claudio Ranieri !
The season Kicked off with a home game against Sunderland, with more or less the team that had finished last season so strongly.
Of the close season signings only Japan striker Shinji Okazaki started, Christian Fuch's and N'Golo Kante came on from the bench. A good start to the season with a 4 2 win.
City made things hard for themselves, often going a goal or two behind before clawing themselves back into the game. There was a certain similarity between this team and the "grinders" of Martin O'Neil.
The first defeat of the season came after 7 games when Arsenal won 5 2 at the King Power. The score however did not reflect the game.
City were scoring loads of goals but also conceeding. Claudio Ranieri offered them Pizza's as an incentive to keep a clean sheet !
It should be mentiond that Jamie Vardy scored against Bournemouth in the 1 all draw on August 29th and he continued to score in consecutive games until 28th November when he broke Ruud Van Nistelrooy's premiership record of scoring in ten consecutive games. Vardy netted his 11th consecutive goal that day in a 1 all draw against, of all clubs, Manchester United !
City topped the Premiership on Christmas Day, still only beaten once. However on Boxing Day we lost 1 0 away at Anfield, but still stayed top !
Two draws followed, and then a memorable away win at Spurs. Next a dissapointing draw at Villa Park against a team who were heading for relegation. A week later City went to Stoke and put three past them, and with that they returned to the top of the table.
The next game was home to Liverpool and chance to avenge the boxing day defeat. It was in this game that Jamie Vardy scored what would be the goal of the season. Latching onto a long ball from Riyad Mahrez the ball bounced once and Vardy hit it from 35 yards past the keeper, Simon Mignolet who was off his line. Vardy added a second to take the points.
Four days later came what was probably the defining game of the season. Away at Manchester City. Robert Huth put City one nil up. Riyad Mahrez scored a superb solo goal. Weaving through the Man City players like they wern't there before putting the ball in the top corner. Huth added a third before Man City got one back, but City ran out 3 1 winners. City looked invincible. "Pundits" had said City would bottle it under the pressure, but on the pitch there was no sign of it happening.
The third and final defeat of the season came on Valentines day at Arsenal, but there would be no massacre. City had gone one nil up, but stupidly, early in the second half Danny Simpson got two yellows within five minutes and City were down to ten men. Walcott came on and scored with 20 minutes to go and with the score at one all after 90 minutes it looked like the Foxes had done enough for a draw. On 95 minutes Marcin Wasilewski conceeded a needless free kick, and Welbeck rose to put the ball away. City had lost only their third game of the season, but remained at the top.
Games came thick and fast and City continued unbeaten with Spurs now in second place.
City then had West Ham at the KP and in this game Vardy was shown a red card. Referee Jonathan Moss had a shocker and was dropped for the following weeks games. City's top scorer would miss the next two games, and I was a bit worried on where the goals would come from. With City drawing Tottenham could narrow the gap at the top, but they could only draw with West Brom. City would have to drop points and Spurs would have to take maximum points from their remaining games to have any chance of overtaking the Foxes.
My concern about where goals would come from following Vardy's ban were unfounded, when Leo Ulloa stepped up to the mark with a brace as City despatched Swansea with a 4 nil hammering.
City now only had three games left and were in the driving seat. An away win at Manchester United on May 1st would see City confirmed as Premiership champions, but it didn't start well when they fell behind in the 20th minute. They slowly clawed their way back into the game and captain Wes Morgan found the net, which gave City confidence but alas they couldn't find a second.
Spurs were to play Chelsea the following evening, and HAD to win to stand any chance of hanging onto what was a very slippery slope. Spurs went two up and I thought that was it. The bitter rivalry between the two clubs erupted on more than one occasion in what was a very bad tempered game. Early in the second half Chelsea got one back and then Eden Hazard curled a beautiful shot round the Spurs keeper to make it two all. Spurs now had to score, but were unable to find that crucial goal. A two all draw saw Leicester City FC become the Premiership Champions for the first time in their 132 year history, and they had done it with two games to spare.
The last home game was against Everton, and it was party central. In fact Leicester had been having one big party since the Spurs defeat. It was headline news all over the world. 12 months ago City had dodged relegation and now they were Champions.
Despite the pundits saying Leicester would bottle it, it was actually Spurs who did, losing their next game against Southampton at White Hart Lane,
they slipped down to third allowing their great North London rivals Arsenal to take second place in the league.
Citys final game was away at Chelsea. Claudio Ranieri, once a Chelsea favourite received a heroes welcome from both sets of fans.
The game finished 1 all
The season certainly surprised everyone, including local hero Gary Lineker who, earlier on in the season had said he would present the first Match Of The Day next season in only his underpants if we won the Premiership.
Riyad Mahrez won the PFA Players player of the year award
Jamie Vardy won the Football Writers' Association player of the Year award
Jamie Vardy broke the record for scoring in 11 consecutive games
Leicester City won the Premiership
City finished on 81 points, Arsenal a distant second with 71 points.
Full table HERE
Played 38 Won 23 Drawn 12 Lost 3 Goals For 65 Goals Against 36 Goal Difference 32
At the beginning of the season we were 5000 / 1 to win the league ... and some LCFC fans had money on it !
For the first time in the clubs history they would be playing Champions League football next season.
It has been a fairy tale season that's for sure
As a final comment, there is another person who deserves a great deal of credit for this seasons success story.
Pearson laid the foundation and had assembled a great bunch of players. Ranieri came in, added a handful of players
who transformed it to what became a title winning team.
Pearson was not always a fans favourite, but his contribution should not be under estimated.
Thank You Nigel.
As Champions Leicester City would contest the Community Shield at Wembley in August against Manchester United, which they lost 2 - 1
|2016 / 2017 Review|
City would start the new season with some new faces comming in and without familiar faces from last season.
Going into the Euro's it was reported that Jamie Vardy was talking to Arsenal, after they had trigged a £20m release clause in his contract. He was going to give his decision before heading off with the England squad to France. But it never came. Speculation did not stop however, and it wasn't until LCFC announced that they had improved his current deal that Vardy said he would be staying. he went on to elaborate on his decision by saying he didn't think the Arsenal style of play would suit his game, and let's face it they wouldn't change it just to accomodate Vardy.
Next up was N'Golo Kante. He had also gone to the Euro's where he won a runners up medal. Whether his head was turned whilst in France we dont know but a week after the tournament had finished there was a lot of media speculation that he was about to sign for Chelsea in a £32m deal. On Staurday 16th July it was confirmed, he had gone. LCFC signed him a year ago for £6.5m so a profit of £26m in twelve month represented good business. Quite why he wanted to go to Chelsea I'll never know. They finished well down the table last season and would not be playing in the Champions League. If he had ambition surely he would have stayed at Leicester for one season, as Ranieri had asked of all the title winning players.
It was alledged that Kante never really wanted to come to Leicester in the first place, and he certainly would not have thought he was joining a club who would become Premier League Champions, the ony conclusion that I can draw is that it was all about the money.
I hope he enjoys watching the Champions League games from the comfort of his armchair.
Unfortunately Leicester's start to the season did not start where it left off, with the City suffering an away defeat at newly promoted Hull City. Their first home game was a nil nil draw with Arsenal and the following week a home win against Swansea. City's form in the league was poor, but in the Champions league it was a different story, with wins over Club Brugge, Porto and FC Copenhagen, they qualified for the group stages with a game to spare.
Stiil league form was poor, but was a change on the horizon after a 4 2 home win against Manchester City, a game in which Jamie Vardy
netted a hat trick.
The answer to that was no.
City would fail to score a single goal in the league during January, but were still leaking goals at the back. Into February it was the same story. City took on bottom of the table Swansea and went down 2 - 0. Make no bones about it, City were themselves in a relegation battle.
Only a few days before that match the club had issued a statement of unvawering support for Claudio Ranieri, and we all know what that means.
In the FA cup it took a replay and extra time to see off Derby, and in the next round a road trip resulted in a 1 nil defeat to 10 men Milwall of the First Division.
On 22nd February City travelled to Spain for the first leg of the Champions League knock out against Sevilla. I was fearing we would get a good tonking, and said I would be happy to go down 2-1. The away goal was a must. The first half display was poor. Schmeichel kept us in the game with a penalty save and continued to pull of a string of great saves, but his goal was breached after 25 minutes with a fine header, and a second goal followed after 62 minutes. City looked a much better team in the second half following the introduction of Demari Gray. With 15 minutes to go Gray linked up with Danny Drinkwater who put a great cross in for Vardy to get on the end of, and that all important away goal was in the bag. That would be Vardy's first goal since the 10th of December.
Final score 2-1 and it would be all to play for at the KP in two weeks time.
Hopes were up (again) that the result, although a loss, would be the catalsyt for an upturn in performances. What the fans did not expect was the announcement on 23rd February that Claudio Ranieri had been sacked. The decision was met with disbelief from all over. Fans of LCFC, fans of football and a host of others. Claudio and Leicester had created a fairy tale in May 2016 and here in February 2017 the fairy tale had come to a very sad end.
Would it be the right move from the Thai owners ?
With City in the bottom four should he have been given more time. But it's all about results and if we are to have any hope of avoiding relegation,
the owners had to make the call.
However, why was Claudio not asked to resign, or moved "upstairs". The decision seemed very brutal, and not the right way to part with the man who had given us the best years of our footballing lives. One that we never dreamt possible and certainly we will never see again.
Claudio ia a real gentlemen, a breed not seem in football that often. Never did he have a bad word to say about anyone, always the diplomat, and highly respected. The way he was treated was despicable.
Claudio started his official statement with:
"Yesterday my dream died.
After the euphoria of last season and being crowned Premier League champions all I dreamt of was staying with Leicester City,
the club I love, for always.
Sadly this was not to be"
There is no loyalty in football now. Money has put paid to that.
The only loyalty to be found is by the fans who attend matches through thick and thin, week in week out and in all weather.
Whatever goes on they will remain.
Claudio, thank you for what you did. Sorry to see you go, and I wish you all the best for whatever lies ahead.
For me the question is how could we go from Champions to relegation contenders in 9 months.
Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and to a lesser extent Arsenal all had poor seasons. Out of the three games LCFC lost last season
two were defeats to Arsenal and one away at Liverpool.
A few of the players were rewarded with new contracts and £100k a week to keep them at the club. Did this cause disharmony with players
who were on a lot less per week ?
The squad were given BMW i8's worth £100,000 each as a reward for winning the title.
The players played at the top of their game all season.
After winning did they realise that they would never come close to that again, and after all they had only just avoided relegation the
They had gone back to being Leicester City FC. A bottom to mid table team.
As some some pundits put it they are not really that good. Thats a bit harsh, given their achievment.
Players brought in the close season were no better that what we had, and the main area for concern, defence was not strengthened.
Huth and Morgan did not have youth on their side, and so often their lack of pace has led to goals being conceded.
Kante was not replaced. Yes, a couple of midfielders, Mendy and Amartey were brought in but they didn't settle in immediately.
The January transfer window came and went with only Ndidi and Wague comming in. Whilst both look decent aqusitions Ndidi needs time and
Wague was injured in his first premiership game.
After Claudio's departure, assistant manager Craig Shakespeare took charge of the team.
In his first game City beat Liverpool at the King Power 3-1 with a performance that harked back to the previous season. 5 days later Hull were the visitors and they to were beaten 3-1. So from not scoring a premiership goal in 2017 they scored 6 in two games.
On the back of this Shakespeare was given the job on a temporary basis, although you have to ask how Claudio with Shakespeare as assistant manager couldnt get the results, but with him in charge things picked up. Maybe there was some truth that certain players had conspired to get Claudio out. Hard to believe that they could do that to a man who had made them Premier champions.
Form in the league continued to improve.
Shakespeare joined the exclusive group of managers who had won their first 4 Premiership games in charge.
He was the first English man to do it, the others in the group being Guardiola, Mourhino, Hiddink and Ancelotti.
In the Champions League Seville came to the King Power leading 2 1 from the first leg. A 2 0 home win with goals from Morgan and Allbrighton
sent the Foxes through to the quarter final, where they would face Atletico Madrid, with the first leg played in Spain.
As had happened twenty years previously in the EUEFA Cup the game hinged on a controversial refereeing decision.
Marc Albrighton made a tackle on Antoine Griezmann outside the box, and he went down. That is a fact as TV replays clearly show.
The ref awarded Atletico a penalty, converted by Griezmann, and the game finished 1 nil.
With no away goal for the City, Leicester would need to score three goals if Athletico scored one when the second leg came to the KP. It was going to be an uphill climb, but it got worse when Atletico found the net on 26 minutes. At least we still had the best part of 60 minutes to get three !
With the score 1 nil at half time Shakespeare made changes. Benalouane suffering injury was replaced by Ben Chilwell and Ulloa came on for Okazaki to give more height up front. City also went to a 3-5-2 formation.
It was inspired tactical change as throughout the second half Leicester threatened the Atletico goal.
Chilwell's shot was blocked, possibly by the hand of Filipe Luis, but play was allowed to contine as the ball fell to Vardy who him home on 61 minutes.
The dream was alive again but City could not find a way through, and despite drawing on the night Atletico's away goal was enough to send them through.
Premier League Champions and getting to the last eight of the Champions League.
Who would have thought it.
Shakespeare was eventually given the managers job full time, which received a mixed reaction from fans.
City finished the season in twelth place on 44 points, not a bad place to be given our poor form whilst under Ranieri's leadershi. However they failed to win any of their last three games of the season. Most embarrasing was a 6 - 1 home defeat to Tottenham.
There would need to be some improvements made in the close season if the club were to have any ambitions of challenging for a top 6 place next season.
|2017 / 2018 Review|
The excitement to the start of the season started on transfer deadline day. At the 11th hour, Danny Drinkwater jumped ship and signed for Chelsea, in a deal worth £35 million. As a replacement Leicester Signed Adrien Silva drom Sporting Clube de Portugal for £22m, a player who had been on their radar for quite some time. However, the registration papers arrivedwith FIFA 14 seconds too late for the transfer to go through, and Silva would not be able to register as a LCFC player until January 1st 2018.
On the pitch, things were not going well, with only one win (against newly promoted Brighton) in 8 games, so the inevitable happened, on 15th October 2017 Craig Shakespeare was Sacked.
City then won the next two matches before ex Southampton manager Claude Puel was appointed on 25th October.
Whilst Puel was at Southampton they didn't have a reputation for exciting football, but to be fair they didn't have a vast squad. He did however have a reputation for bringing players through the youth ranks into the first team squad.
At Leicester he would have a bigger squad to choose from so he would be able to select different players and formations
according to who we were playing.
He started off OK with 6 wins and 5 draws in his first 15 games. The rest of the season was a bit up and down, and his team selections varied from one game to the next.
With a chance to finish in the top 7 and possibly Europa Cup qualification, we lost the FA Cup quarter final at home to Chelsea 2 -1 by playing a second choice team. Albeit a narrow defeat a full strength team would probably won and booked a semi final place. League points were squandered and we started to slip down the table, whilst Burnley held firm and got seventh spot.
The season finished with an entertaining 4 - 5 defeat away at Tottenham.
However fans were not pleased with what was going on. The passing game did not work as well as the fast counter attack style played in the title winning season.
On the plus side I saw non qualification for the Europa League as a good thing. The players only get a few weeks off at the end of the season before the games start and the further you progress means less rest time before the next premier season starts.
|2018 / 2019 Review|
During the close season Riyad Mahrez had ben sold to Manchester City for a whopping 60 million pounds. Not bad business as he had cost us 400,000 pounds in 2014. He would be a great loss, in the same way as Kante had been.
10 games into the season City had won 4, Drawn 1 and lost 5.
After the home draw with West Ham on October 27th tragedy struck the football club, in what would be the darkest day in its history. Fans had not long left the ground, when, as normal the chairmas helicopter took off from the centre circle. The 'copter flew above the stadium roof, but it became clear all was not well, as it started to descend rapidly before crashing in a fireball in a adjacent car park.
It was not known who was onboard until 24 hours later when it was revealed chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, two of his staff, the pilot and
co- pilot had all perished. The club was in mourning, which could be seen by the tributes that were placed at the KP throught the following week. Thankfully on this ocassion Vichai's Son, Top, was not at the game otherwise he would have been onboard on that fateful flight.
The most poignant image was captured in the early hours of the morning when all was quiet, and a camera captured this image.
Credit: Dipak Gohil
How would the club move forward after this. The Club hierachy, players and manager showed great solidarity through the following
weeks and vowed that they would play on for "The Boss"
Their next game against Southampton was cancelled as a mark of respect, so the next game was away at Cardiff.
Football comes together at time like this and colours and alegencies are put aside.
The Cardiff fans had a massive banner which was passed round. It was a fantastic gesture.
Sadly Cardiff were to go through their own tragedy later in the season when their record signing Emiliano Sala, was lost aboard a light aircraft, which crashed into the English Channel, not far from the Channel Island, Alderney. After two weeks search and rescue found the wreckage, with his body onboard. The pilot's body was missing, and at has never been found.
For LCFC it continued to be a very difficult time. results were not happening and performances were poor, though it was understandable.
In a repeat of last season City fielded a second string in the Caraboa Cup at home against Manchester City. We should have won but got edged out in a penalty shoot out, only scoring once. Only two weeks later Claude Puel left Vardy out for the away trip to Newport in the FA Cup. The match was live on the BBC and the nation saw us dumped out of the cup 2 -1 by lower opposition.
Some fans were turning against Puel. In the week leading up to the home game against Manchester Utd, Vardy had been interviewed and said that the Puel way didn't suit him, but he will allways give his best.
After losing that game cameras caught Jamie Vardy, mouthing off, his comments directed at Puel, allthough this was denied.
He started the next game on the bench, with Demari Gray starting as the lone striker. Again fans were not impressed with this, and had Vardy started it may have been different, as City put in a great performance and had Spurs on the ropes.
On the morning of 12th February it was reported that Gordon Banks had passed away.
Generally regarded as one of the best goal keepers ever to play the game, he won the World Cup in 1966 whilst a LCFC player. He will be remembered for his save in the 1970 world cup, when denying Pele what looked like a certain goal.
Next game was Crystal Palace at the KP. City had 27 chances, and the lions share of possesion but could only score one goal. Unfortunately Palace scored four. Boos rang out at the final whistle, and I commented that I didn't think Puel would be in charge for the next game.
The following morning Puel had gone. Sacked. Fans had their wishes granted.
But beware, who will be the replacement. Fans favourite for a long time has been Rafa Benitez, reports suggest that the
Club only have one man in mind, and that man is Brendan Rodgers, currently Celtic manager.
Wow, things have moved really fast.
Only two days after Puel's departure it was reported that Celtic had given LCFC permission to talk to Brendan Rodgers, and a couple of hours before the home game against Brighton, he was announced as the new manager.
A figure of £6 million had been mentioned to get him, in which case money does talk
Rodgers took his place in the stand to see his new team beat Brighton 2 - 1. His first game in charge was at Watford (Where he started his managerial career), and his first Home game would be Fulham, (who were fighting a losing battle against relegation,and managed by Claudio Ranieri) Unfortunately Ranieri was sacked in the week leading up to the game.
Under Rodgers performances improved and in the remaining 11 fixtures City won 6, drew 2 and lost 3
Finishing in 9th with 52 points.
|2019 / 2020 Review|
Rodgers made a few signings in pre season, bringing in Ayoze Perez from Newcastle United for £30 million,
Dennis Praet, £19m from Sampdoria and James Justin from Luton Town for £6.
Since the end of last season fans had been hoping they would get to sign loanee Youri Tielmans on a permanent deal, which they did, securing the Belgian international from Monaco for £40 million.
Without question the best deal struck was the sale of Harry Maguire who headed North to Manchester United for a whopping £80 million fee.
In my opinion he is not worth that much and we really mugged Man U on that one. The transfer fee made him the most expensive defender, surpassing the £71 million Liverpool paid for Virgil Van Dyke.
Maguire was not replaced, instead Rogers brought squad player Calgar Soyuncu into the team, and he has done a fantastic job so far, with City unbeaten after four games, with only 3 goal conceded.
The season progressd nicely, with City in the top three. A steak of 9 games unbeaten started against Burnley on the 19th October, finishing with a 4 1 win against Aston Villa, at Villa Park on the 7th December. The highspot of the streak was a NINE nil away win at Southampton, on a rainswept and windy Friday night on October 25th. This result equalled the best ever premier league win, held by Manchester United, who had beaten Ipswich Town at Old Trafford 4th March 1995. However City's result at Southampton was the highest scoring Away win.
An interesting fact - A Schmichel kept goal for both wining teams. Peter and Kasper.
You can see all the action HERE
Following the Aston Villa, Norwich were the visitors to The King Power. One of the lower teams in the division (who would be relegated at the end of the season) they shocked the City with a one all draw. Looking back this was probably the turning point in our season. Only one more win in December, and two in January, there was a noticible downturn in performances. A Caraboa semi final at home against Aston Villa ended one all, and the return leg was won 2 - 1 with a very late winner by Villa, so we were out of the League Cup, and a Wenbley appearance.
No games were won in February, and on 7th March Villa were the visitors to Leicester and went home with a 4 0 thumping.
It looked like Leicester were back to their old selves.
What happened next was totally unexpected.
The day following the Villa game, due to the outbreak of Corona Virus pandemic all football, and other sports were suspended.
They would not resume until 20th June, and all games would be behind closed doors.
At this point Leicester were still in the top three, heading for a Champions League spot.
Unfortunately once games resumed, their form was more akin to a team in the relegation zone. Three of our most inflenential players, Ricardo Pereira James Maddison and Wilfred Nddidi were injured, and this certainly had a big impact on our games.
A single point against Watford was the only point gained during June.
From the last 6 games in July only two wins and a draw were registered, and after spending most of the season in the top three City were now in fifth place.
Final game of the season was home to Manchester Utd. Before the season restarted we were 13 points ahead of them in the table, but our poor run, combined with a resurgent Man Utd meant we had to win the game to jump above them, and if we could do that we would finish 4th in a Champions league spot.
Despite playing well in the first half, Manchester were awarded a second half penalty, which they scored. In the last few minutes of the game Schmichel gave the ball away, and they scored a second. There was no time for a comeback, so we finished the season in 5th place, giving us European football in the Europa League.
Back in August 2019, finishing in the top sixth would have been seen as a good season.
At one point there were only three teams in the chase for first place.
Liverpool (Who were to be the eventual Champions), Leicester City and Manchester City, in that order.
The final position was a dissapointment after being in the pound seats for so long, but overall we could hold our heads up.
So called "Big Teams" Arsenal and Tottenham had finished below us.
Three Generations Of Leicester City Fans..
3rd May 2014
Les Mackness with Alex (1994?)
Alex And Tony on the King Power pitch after the Doncaster game !
Filbert street has not always been the home of Leicester City. When the original Leicester Fosse was founded in
1884 they played at Victoria Park. During 1887 they played at Belgrave Road before returning to Victoria Park in
1888 this time staying until 1891 when they moved to Filbert Street where they remained until 2002.
Filbert street held approximately 21,800 and was the laughing stock of the Premier Division. One superb stand - The Carling Stand, One reasonable - The CIS (Double Decker) and two that were a joke. Martin O'Neil joked that new
signings were walked onto the pitch backwards so the first thing they saw would be the Carling Stand and not the
East Stand, which was more like a cattle shed.
The new 32,000 seater stadium was ready for the start of the 2002 /2003 season.
The stadium name was originally announced as "The Walkers Bowl", which was instantly disliked by many.
The "Bowl" made it sound too American.
After a petition and backlash from the fans the name was changed to "The Walkers Stadium"
Prior to the start of the 2011 / 2012 the stadium had a change of name, and is now known as "The King Power" stadium, and for the coming season the LCFC shirt will also bear the "King Power" name.
|City programmes through the years|
|1967 - 1968||1968 - 1969.||1969 - 1970||1970 - 1971.|
|1971 - 1972||1972 - 1973||1974 - 1975||1976 - 1977|
|1977 - 1978||1980 - 1981||1989 - 1990||1990 - 1991|
|1994 - 1995||1995 - 1996||1996 - 1997||1997 - 1998|
|1998 - 1999||1999 - 2000||2000 - 2001||2014 - 2015|
|2015 - 2016||Filbert Fox|
|Champions Edition 7th May 2016|
|The Coca Cola / Worthington Cup Finals 1997, 1999 and 2000|
FA Cup Finals |
Click on the links below for match reports and pictures
Wolverhampton Wanderers |
Lost 3 - 1
1961 v Tottenham
Lost 2 - 0
1963 v Manchester
Lost 3 - 1
1969 v Manchester
Lost 1 - 0
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© A S Mackness 2016