Monthly Archives: September 2010

Feathers Ruffled..

Norwich City 4:3 Leicester City

Leicester slid to their third defeat on the spin last night and although they looked good going forward they were, once again, the architects of their own downfall.

Paolo Sousa made five changes to the side that was humiliated at Fratton Park last Friday with Ikeme, Lamey, Kennedy, Hobbs and Wellens in for Logan, Berner, Vitor, Neilson and Abe.

City got off to the best possible start when they took the lead in the second minute as Waghorn wriggled past two defenders before firing in a low shot at the near post that squirmed from the grasp of Ruddy in the Norwich goal and over the line.
Norwich responded positively and deserved their equaliser when it eventually came on the half hour when Crofts side-footed home from ten yards after a pull-back from the byline by Holt.
The Canaries kept the heat on until half time when City would have been the more relieved to hear the whistle.

The second half was played at a frantic pace with both sides going forward at every opportunity but it was the home side that grabbed the lead on 53 minutes when Hoolahan converted a penalty that was harshly awarded when Morrison was adjudged to have handled a cross. It was rough on City who would feel like the roof was falling in just nine minutes later when a rapid breakaway move resulted in  Hoolahan releasing Drury on the left and he had (too much) time and room to finish coolly from an angle.
Rather than cave in, City responded well and the introduction of Fryatt, Abe and Gallagher for Oakley, Wellens and Dyer gave the side new impetus and it was no surprise when Fryatt scored to keep the game alive in the 65th minute. He responded smartly to slam the rebound in to the roof of the net after Ruddy had parried a Howard shot. There was an incident after the goal that was to have repercussions later when Ward grabbed the ball from the back of the net and kicked it shamelessly in the crowd in an act of blatant time wasting. The referee didn’t punish the player and City had a frustrating wait whilst the ball was retrieved from the crowd.
As City poured forward they were caught out at the back again in the 74th minute as Hoolahan grabbed his second of the night with a stunning half volley beyond Ikeme’s dive and the home side’s two goal advantage was restored.
Once again City responded positively and two minutes later Fryatt reduced the deficit with his second of the night as he finished his run with a cool finish past Ruddy from the angle. Remembering the time-wasting antics after the previous goal, Howard, Fryatt and Norwich’s Leon Barnett sprinted to the back of the net in an attempt to be the first to retrieve the ball. All three players arrived together and after the pushing and handbags that ensued Fryatt was met on his way back to the halfway line by referee Walton who brandished the red card and Fryatt’s night was over.
It was a ridiculous situation that could have been avoided but the upshot was that City had to chase an equaliser with ten men. It was a fruitless effort and Norwich closed the game out comfortably and could have grabbed a fifth goal when Drury shot in to the side netting when it looked easier to hit the target.
City will (rightly) consider themselves unlucky not to have taken something from this encounter but they have to look at themselves to see why they lost: once again too many mistakes led to a goal avalanche, too much possession was conceded, and previously reliable players have lost confidence and form. Sides that succeed at this level are usually the sides that make fewest mistakes and City have once again shown that they are going backwards right now in this regard. Until this changes then the trapdoor once again beckons to the third tier of English football and we must hope that Sousa (or someone else) can find a way to restore confidence and form to a decent squad of players.

As a footnote to the events at Carrow Road last night it is worth highlighting the over-zealous stewarding from jumped up wannabees in high vis jackets. We pay a lot of money to attend matches these days and it is not too much to ask that we be allowed to vent some anger and emotion when events on the pitch warrant it. Last night we were continually hassled by stewards who delighted in telling us to “Sit down and mind your language” and several folk were led out for having committed no bigger crime than swearing at the ref. Was it not Delia Smith who, several seasons ago, demanded more passion from her own fans in a famous rant? It seems that the stewards inside Carrow Road are on a mission to ensure that the passion is amputated from the visiting fans and they will only be happy if we all sit and applaud politely. Special mention goes to the somewhat emasculated female steward who looked like Olive from ‘On the Buses’ and was carrying a copy of ‘The Female Eunuch’ in her pocket (probably)…

Norwich: Ruddy, Ward, Barnett, Martin, Drury, Crofts, Hoolahan (Smith 81), Lappin, Smith, Jackson (Martin 72), Holt. Subs Not Used: McNamee, Fox, Berthel Askou, Rudd, Johnson.
Leicester: Ikeme, Kennedy, Hobbs, Lamey, Morrison, King, Dyer (Gallagher 66), Oakley (Fryatt 54 (sent off 80)), Wellens (Abe 67), Howard, Waghorn. Subs Not Used: Berner, Logan, Moreno, Moussa.

Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire). Attendance: 25,091.

 

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The Second Coming…

With Paulo Sousa under mounting pressure and Martin O’Neill currently out of work having left Aston Villa at the beginning of the season, word is spreading that O’Neill could be lined up for a sensational return to Leicester…

City’s new owners * are aware of the significance of such an appointment, but would O’Neill want to return to the club he left a decade ago?
Apart from the credible maxim – ‘Never Go Back’ would the former City boss want to ‘rough it’ at Championship level, when he would surely top the short list of any Premier League job that becomes available in the next few months?

For the time being this rumour should be filed under ‘pie in the sky’ or ‘2 + 2 = 5’, though we would be delighted to see it happen. 

* pending Football League apporoval of the takeover.

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To subscribe to The FOX for the 2010-11 season, get your Summer Special in the post right away, and claim your free limited edition print send a cheque for £14.00 to:

The FOX, PO Box No 2, Cosby, Leicester, LE9 1ZZ

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Sousa Close to the Edge

Although the rumour-mill proved to be wrong over the weekend Paulo Sousa’s position as manager of Leicester City is under threat according to the Daily Mirror… 

The Mirror story claims: “Sousa is on the brink of the sack at the Walkers Stadium, with rumours growing last night that he had been fired by Milan Mandaric. It is understood that Sousa will remain in charge for tomorrow night’s trip to Norwich. But Foxes chairman Mandaric is ready to take action after the club’s dreadful start to the season, with Alan Pardew’s name already in the frame.”

Sousa is just 82 days into his reign, but a solitary win from eight league games sees City rock-bottom of the Championship with a goal difference of -11.
Chairman Milan Mandaric’s notorious trigger-finger will be itching, and the new Thai Owners can’t be terribly impressed, especially as Friday night’s 6-1 humping at Portsmouth was televised in Thailand.
Sousa needs results, and quick, starting with tomorrow’s trip to Norwich.

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To subscribe to The FOX for the 2010-11 season, get your Summer Special in the post right away, and claim your free limited edition print send a cheque for £14.00 to:

The FOX, PO Box No 2, Cosby, Leicester, LE9 1ZZ

or use the FOX SUBS button on the right to pay online via Paypal.

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Nightmare at Fratton Park

Portsmouth 6:1 Leicester City

Paulo Sousa’s City career suffered what might be irreparable damage as his side collapsed against bottom placed Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Friday night.

“Someone is in line for a real beating – Leicester City boss Paulo Sousa.”
The Mercury headline was quickly proved right, though probably not in the way Sousa intended. 
Sousa made four changes to the side that won a League Cup tie on the same ground four days earlier with Oakley, Neilson, Berner and Waghorn in for Moreno, Lamey, Kennedy and Gallagher. That meant no place for Hobbs in the centre of defence.
After a cagey opening ten minutes the first disaster of the night befell City. Lawrence delivered a corner from the right and as Morrison went up for an aerial challenge with Kitson he inexplicably stuck out an arm and made contact with the ball. He was given a card to match his yellow shirt and Lawrence slotted a perfect spot-kick low to the right, sending Logan the wrong way.
City thought they had pulled a goal back when a great ball from Dyer sent King through to beat Ashdown, but the linesman flagged for offside while replays showed King to be dead level with the last defender.
The home side applied some pressure and Logan saved well from a well struck Lawrence shot, while Brown sent a low shot just wide of the right hand post.
At the other end a rare chance for City saw Waghorn fire narrowly wide from 35 yards. 
City’s night went from bad to worse in the 32nd minute. A long ball over the top saw Vitor wrapping his arms round Nugent, who went to ground just outside the area. The ref called it as denying a goalscoring opportunity and Vitor was dismissed with a straight red. Lawrence’s free-kick then took a big deflection which carried the ball over the diving Logan and into the net.
Two minutes later Hobbs replaced Abe as Sousa reorganised his defence.
The second half turned into a nightmare for City and their loyal followers.
Dickinson skimmed the crossbar with a hopeful long range effort, but ti was only a temporary let-off.
In the 57th minute Portsmouth made it 3-0. Logan did well to save a Kitson drive and then blocked Nugent’s follow up, but couldn’t reach Nugent’s second attempt, with no aid in sight.
Just 15 seconds after the restart it was 4-0. Morrison’s second disaster of the night saw him lose possession to Nugent who squared for Kitson to chip the ball over the exposed Logan and into the net.
City managed a reply in the 71st minute when Howard battled with two defenders before toe-poking the ball home from close range.
But that rare decent moment was only a brief respite. In the 83rd minute a cross from Lawrence wasn’t dealt with by a defence that appeared to be melting away and Kitson had an easy finish for 5-1.
Portsmouth then reached half a dozen in time added on with almost embarrassing ease… Brown finishing from an acute angle to complete City’s misery.
It was a dreadful night for City, witnessed by the SKy TV cameras and made still worse by the apparent love-in between the Portsmouth fans and the beaming Milan Mandaric.

Sousa was defiant: “We need to keep fighting and the fans need to believe in us. We feel terrible but we want to turn things. I see good spirit in the squad. I never feel under pressure. I feel very secure in myself and very positive. We will turn things.”

But there was little evidence of any spirit on the field on a terrible night for City.

Portsmouth: Ashdown, Rocha (Sonko 82), Dickinson, Ward, Lawrence, Brown, Mokoena, Utaka, Mullins (Ciftci 75), Kitson, Nugent (Kanu 78). Subs Not Used: Flahavan.
Leicester: Logan, Berner, Neilson, Miguel Vítor (sent off 31), Morrison, King, Dyer ( Fryatt 59), Oakley, Abe (Hobbs 36), Howard, Waghorn. Subs Not Used: Gallagher, Ikeme, Moreno, Moussa, Wellens.

Referee: K Hill (Hertfordshire). Attendance: 13,751.

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Two Great Men…

A meeting of two great men in December 1923…

Liberal parliamentary candidate Winston Churchill comes face to face with Leicester City striker Arthur Chandler before a 4-1 win against South Shields.
The pair suffered mixed fortunes, with Chandler bagging  a hat trick, whereas Churchill was booed by the crowd.
Five days later Winston was rejected by the voters of West Leicester in the General Election.

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City Draw First Blood in Fratton Park Double Bill

Portsmouth 1:2 Leicester City

First half goals from Michael Morrison and Lloyd Dyer were enough to see City hurdle Portsmouth in the League Cup third round tie at Fratton Park on Tuesday night…

With two games at Portsmouth in four days Paulo Sousa took the opportunity to test his squad strength for this Carling Cup encounter, making eight changes to his side, Yuki Abe and Miguel Vitor both starting for the first time, and Andy King wearing the captain’s armband.
City clicked immediately and could have taken a second minute lead, Sonko deflecting away a Dyer effort.
The travelling fans were soon celebrating, however, as City went ahead for the first time this season in the third minute. Pompey keeper Ashworth managed to save another Dyer shot, but Morrison was in the right place to blast home the rebound.    
With some good work by Abe City set up a number of chances against a beleagured home side. Morrison headed over, and Howard volleyed wide, before Gallagher hit the bar from an Abe cross.
City did look a little vunerable at the back though and Logan did well to deny efforts from Nugent and Lawrence. 
Portsmouth came into the game more towards half time and Mokoena had a header cleared off th eline by Kennedy.
It was City, however, who doubled their lead two minutes before the break when Dyer, sent through by King, beat Ashdown at his near post.
Portsmouth almost found a way through in first half injury time when an error saw Nugent in on goal, but Logan produced another fine save.
Pompey began the second half in determined fashion and had the ball in the net in the 50th minute, but Sonko’s header was rule dout for a push on Moreno. 
A minute later Logan blocked yet another Nugent effort to preserve City’s two goal lead.
In the 63rd minute confusion reigned as N’Guessan came on for King, and Hughes was dismissed for the home side with a straight red card for what can only have been dissent. Not sure what he could have said, but it hit the mark.
Ten-man Pompey seemed to be galvanised by this and and Logan produced another fine save to block a Lawrence shot, but could do nothing to prevent an 82nd minute breakthrough for the home side. The City keeper got down well to parry a Ward header, but Lawrence was on hand to convert the rebound and ensure a nervy final passage of play.
But the City back line weathered some late pressure and secured a place in the last sixteen…
Friday’s repeat clash might be more important with league points at stake but Paulo Sousa was a happy man:
“Now we have an opportunity to get an important club in the next round and our fans can enjoy it, and feel closer to us. This could be very important for everyone.”

Portsmouth: Ashdown, Sonko, Dickinson, Ward, Lawrence, Mokoena, Mullins, Hughes (sent off 66), Ritchie (Kitson 72), Nugent (Utaka 80), Kanu (Brown 72). Subs Not Used: Flahavan, Ciftci.
Leicester: Logan, Kennedy, Miguel Vítor, Lamey, Morrison, King (N’Guessan 66), Dyer (Moussa 89), Moreno, Abe, Gallagher (Wellens 79), Howard. Subs Not Used: Berner, Fryatt, Weale, Hobbs.

Referee: F Graham (Essex). Attendance: 8,327. 

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FOX 171 – in the Shops Now…

FOX 171 – the September issue – is now in the shops…

This issue features: An interview with former City striker Iwan Roberts; Soccer Stars 77-78 – the full set of stickers; Tribute to Jackie Sinclair; small ads; Odd One Out; Fully Programmed from the Brian Little era; Fox Diary including that night in Cardiff; the latest from the Foxes Trust; Tales From the Riverbank; Rewind to Old Trafford 1974; the Chris Lymn Column; The Gary Lineker Scrapbook; Our Man in a Van; your letters and Bentley’s Roof and Fanatical Frank’s gone all a bit funny…

Iwan Roberts interview extract:

FOX: We met Derby again at Wembley in the Play-Off Final. On paper it seemed that we had no right winning that game as Derby were a hell of a side.

IR: They had Paul Kitson, Tommy Johnson, Mark Pembridge, John Harkes, it was a really good side and they were paying big wages at that time. They were the favourites, no two ways about it. We had a team meeting in the morning and I had been out for the last half dozen games with broken ribs. I wasn’t expecting to start.
Brian Little came up to me and said: “Can you give me an hour?”  because there was a certain way he wanted to play against them. I said: “Yes, I’ll do what I can.”
I was a bit apprehensive to be honest, because I’d only started training the day before.
But with me, Walshy, Big Sticks… there was only one way we were going to play really wasn’t there?!
We thought that if they had a weak side it was defensively and their defenders weren’t that great in the air. So it was a case of getting the ball wide and banging crosses into the box, that was our best chance of scoring.
And it proved to be the case with our first goal, the equaliser.
Gary Coatsworth just lumped a high ball into the area, I clattered the goalkeeper, Walshy headed it in. Any other day I think Roger Milford would have given a free-kick. I’m still amazed that he didn’t, to be honest.

FOX: We all are!

IR: I was going for the ball but I did clatter him with my left elbow. And then I sat on him. But Paul Williams really should have cleared it anyway. How did he let that go past him and into the back of the net? If he’d have stood still it would have bounced off him.

FOX: Obviously we got better in the second half and the longer the match went on the more we looked like winning it…

IR: I think I came off after about 55 minutes and Julian came on. We knew he would pose them a different problem with his pace and his directness. Which he did. He did well for the goal, sending that ball out to Simon Grayson. Larry wasn’t really known for putting over too many quality crosses, but what a ball he put in for Walshy’s second. The keeper made a great save from Sticks header but Walshy was there to poke it home. It was very fitting for such an absolute legend for the club to score the goal that got us promoted. He’d been through a terrible time with injuries that season and fought his way back. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke.

The FOX is available from the following outlets:
LEICESTER: The Leicester City Megastore; Churchgate News; Forbouys, Hinckley Road; Mercury News, London Road; Centre News, Humberstone Gate; Bolands, Carts Lane; AZ Newsagents, Halford Street; CGS News, Walnut Street; Mercury News, Cardinals Walk; Mercury News, Downing Drive.
Forbouys, Blaby; Mercury News, Blaby; Whetstone News; Mercury News, Countesthorpe (Bank and Station); Mercers, Wigston; Mercury News, Kelmarsh Avenue, Wigston; Forbouys, Launceston Road, Wigston; Mercury News, Cosby; Huncote News; Mercury News, Narborough; Broughton Astley Post Office; Roger Simms, Lutterworth; Mercury News, St Marys Place, Market Harborough; Mercury News, Kibworth; Mercury News, Fleckney; Mercury News, London Road, Oadby; Mercury News, The Parade, Oadby; Mercury News, Rosemead Drive, Oadby; Mace Express, Syston; Peberdys, Syston; Forbouys, Birstall; Mercury News, Rothley; Carillon News, Loughborough; A&B Attenborough, Wordsworth Road, Loughborough; Mercury News, Melton Mowbray.

You can also get The FOX through the post:

To subscribe to The FOX for the 2010-11 season, get your Summer Special in the post right away, and claim your free limited edition print send a cheque for £14.00 to:

The FOX, PO Box No 2, Cosby, Leicester, LE9 1ZZ

or use the FOX SUBS button on the right to pay online via Paypal.

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