Monthly Archives: December 2010

Hello – Goodbye

As 2010 draws to a close there is an increase in transfer activity and speculation around Filbert Way.

Possibly the most surprising announcement this morning was the proposed loan move for Martyn Waghorn to QPR. The 20 year old Wearsider has not been able to secure a first team place since his signing at the end of the August transfer window. This has not been helped by his dip in form this season which is in complete contrast to the contribution that he made during last season’s play-off finish. Waghorn has also been pushed further down the pecking order since the arrivals of Vassell and Bendnar.

Also leaving will be the injury-prone Chris Kirkland who heads back to Wigan on the back of a disastrous loan spell which has been blighted by a back injury and mediocre performances between the posts.

Michael Morrison is the subject of transfer speculation with Sheffield Wednesday leading the way to secure his signature for a permanent move to Hillsborough. Morrison has been unable to hold a place down this season and with the possible arrival of Sol Bamba, a centre-half from Hibs, Morrison may be better off leaving if he is to enjoy regular first team football. Sol Bamba is an Ivory Coast international and therefore a player that is known to Sven Goran Eriksson. He is 25 years old and would likely command a £250,000 fee if Hibs were to agree the sale.

Anyone that has witnessed City’s away form recently will be pleased with the news that the squad is going to be ‘refreshed’ and the sooner the better.

 

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Against The ‘Wall

Millwall 2:0 Leicester City

On a cold, damp afternoon in South London, Leicester City turned in what was arguably their worst performance of the season and killed off the recent upsurge in optimism that we had enjoyed under Sven. There were four changes to the side that battled back against Leeds on Boxing Day with Morrison, Oakley, Bednar and Dyer replacing  Davies, Abe, Howard and Vassell. City started brightly enough and knocked the ball around confidently, denying Millwall possession and even managed to fashion a gilt-edged chance for Gallagher who snatched at the ball after Oakley’s nod-on and was well wide of the target when he should have brought a save out of Forde, at least. City were to pay for this miss in the 12th minute when Trotter crossed from the right and found Morison in space eight yards out and he side-footed home to give the hosts the lead with their first attack. Worse was to follow on 25 minutes when Jason Puncheon doubled Millwall’s advantage following hesitancy in the City defence which gave him the chance to poke the ball low in to the net and then run to the delighted (and surprised) Millwall supporters as the inquest started amongst City’s defenders. But for a couple of long range efforts from Naughton and Gallagher City failed to bring a decent save out of Forde in the Millwall goal and went in at half time knowing that a massive and unlikely improvement was needed if they were to rescue yet another poor first half showing.

With Weale and Vassell on for Kirkland and (mercifully) Bednar, City began with more purpose and Dyer had an early chance to reduce the arrears when he was put through on the angle but had his shot was tipped round the far post. If City needed a further lift then it came on 53 minutes when Alan Dunne received a straight red for a two-footed tackle on Richie Wellens in the centre circle. Sadly, it made little difference and Millwall continued to contain and frustrate City comfortably and the longer the game went on the less likely a comeback looked until a stray backpass let in Steve Howard for a one-on-one with Horne but the big striker pulled his shot well wide and that was the last worthwhile chance of the afternoon for City.

At the other end Chris Weale had precious little to do which underlined the frustration for City’s large travelling contingent; Millwall weren’t that good but then, they didn’t have to be. City’s away form is becoming a concern and particularly when the showing is as poor as today’s at Millwall. Too many players looked as if they didn’t care and when the City faithful have taken the time and money to travel in numbers (as they did again today) then a performance like this isn’t acceptable.

City: Kirkland (Weale 45), Morrison, Gallagher, Oakley (c), King, Dyer, Naughton, Wellens (Howard 62), Hobbs, Cunningham, Bednar (Vassell 45).
Subs Not Used: Waghorn, Berner, Abe, Moussa,

Millwall: Forde, Dunne (c), Trotter, Puncheon (Hackett 90), Henry (Schofield 60), Craig, Barron, Mkandawire, Ward, Morison, Abdou.
Subs: Mildenhall, Smith, Lisbie, McQuoid, Marguis

Referee: M P Russell           Attendance: 12,188

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City’s Boxing Day Fightback

Leicester City 2:2 Leeds United

After a dull start City and Leeds served up a second half feast of football for a large Boxing Day crowd at Filbert Way…

Sven Goran Eriksson made two changes to his side with Hobbs and Howard in for Vitor and Dyer.
City were on top in the opening stages with some early probing that almost set up King and Howard with chances.  A series of City free-kicks and corners were dealt with by the Leeds defence before the visitors took a 19th minute lead with their first attack.
Kilkenny’s cross from the right found Gradel in the goalmouth and, as Naughton slipped at the vital moment, the former-City man was left with a free header past Kirkland fron close range.
City were knocked back by this and the rest of the half was almost without incident. The two exceptions being a great run downt eh left by Cunningham and a good move involving Vassell and Howard which saw the latter blazing an effort well over.
Things got worse before they got better for City, with Simon Grayson’s side going 2-0 up ten minutes into the second half. A corner was cleared as far as Snodgrass out on the left and he blasted a half volley past Kirkland from an acute angle to get the 3,000 + in the away corner bouncing.
Things looked bleak for City at this stage, but a double substitution – Bednar and Dyer on for Abe and Howard – brought an improvement and they battled their way back into the game.
In the 71st minute Vassell was sent clear by Gallagher and looked set to score when he was upended by Schmeichel. It was an obvious red card, the Leeds’ keeper being the last man and denying Vassell a goal, but Referee Bates played Father Christmas and only produced a yellow.
Schmeichel, who was laughing to himself as he turned to the Kop to take his place, then had to pick the ball out of the net after another successful Gallagher spot-kick. 
Five minutes later he was beaten again. King, 25 yards out, delivered a perfect dipping shot over the keeper and under the bar for a fantastic equaliser.
In a stormy closing spell Kirkland saved from a scramble in the area, while at the other end Bednar was mugged in the penalty area for an obvious penalty that wasn’t given. A brawl then broke out as both sides literally fought for a late winner. Honours were even at the final whistle, with a large crowd being treated to an entertaining and hard fought encounter.

Sven was happy with the point: “We didn’t start very well and, when we cannot pass the ball well, we are not that good. Leeds were aggressive and did not allow us to play our normal game. The pitch was difficult but that is my fault because we have been training on it every day because the training ground is frozen. But we showed that, even if pitches are not perfect, we can work and get back into games.”

Leicester: Kirkland, Davies, Hobbs, Naughton, King, Abe (Dyer 64), Wellens, Cunningham, Gallagher, Vassell, Howard (Bednar 65). Subs Not Used: Oakley, Weale, Moussa, Morrison, Waghorn.
Leeds: Schmeichel, Connolly, O’Brien, Collins, McCartney, Kilkenny (Faye 89), Johnson, Howson (Paynter 85), Gradel, Snodgrass, Becchio (McCormack 85). Subs Not Used: Sam, Bruce, Higgs, Bromby.

Referee: A Bates (Staffs). Attendance: 30,919.

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City Whitewashed

Ipswich Town 3:0 Leicester City

Leicester lost at a snow-bound Portman Road to an Ipswich side that adapted to the farcical conditions and deserved their win but the fall-out from the match brings in to question the competency of referee Stuart Atwell.

City fans arriving in Suffolk were greeted with leaden skies and dropping temperatures and the news that Chris Kirkland would be making his debut. By kick off the pitch was under a blanket of snow and the blizzard continued unabated throughout the entire (extended) match. The facts of the match will show that Ipswich won by three goals to nil with goals from Norris and two from Scotland. What the record books will not show is that the events from 5.20pm onwards never once resembled a football match. Credit must go to Ipswich for adapting to the conditions better than City and for showing more desire whereas City simply looked as if they didn’t fancy it.
The conditions got steadily worse throughout the evening and at one point the pitch markings were invisible. Players slid around on the snow and did their best to produce some football but the problem was that, by half-time, Ipswich were three goals to the good. If the score had been 0-0 then the referee would almost certainly have ended proceedings and abandoned the game. If City had been winning then I’m sure the army of stewards and helpers wouldn’t have bothered to clear the lines and parts of the pitch of snow. And if Stuart Atwell could ‘grow a pair’ then he would have had the courage to tell Roy Keane that the match was a farce and it would be played another day. As it was, young Master Atwell was under immense pressure from the home side to keep playing; they were three up and looking to end a six game losing streak so they didn’t give a damn whether or not the match was watchable or not and who can blame them? In the same circumstances I am sure that City would have felt the same.
Meanwhile in the stands the frustrated City fans were making their own entertainment with a repertoire of songs the best of which were: “Get the game off and Keane gets sacked”, “we never lose in the sunshine” and “We never score from a corner”.

The second half saw a seventeen minute interruption when the groundstaff were once again asked to clear the lines as the blizzard continued and players began to lose their footing. Once again Atwell decided that the game would go on (much to the delight of Sky no doubt – let’s not forget how much influence these paymasters can bring to bear on occasions like this) and soon after Miguel Vitor went down on the slippery surface with what looked like a serious injury. But despite this it became clear that this match was going to finish no matter what and Roy Keane would live to fight another day and it was equally clear that the only thing that mattered in this corner of Suffolk was three points. Football would wait for another day.
The other consideration (we are frequently told) is the fans’ safety but this seemed to go by the way when each opportunity to call the game off was turned down. Outside the roads were increasingly dangerous and, at times, impassable and getting worse with each passing minute, and City fans heading home were faced with a long and tricky journey.
The events at Portman Road shouldn’t cloud the fact the City were poor and lost this game because Ipswich showed a better attitude and ‘got on with it’. What is questionable is how little consideration was given to the supporters during the ‘finish it – call it off’ debates. If you paid on the day at this game it would have set you back £32.50 and for what? Certainly not a football match! But Sky were happy, Roy Keane was happy and you can’t help feeling that was all that really mattered.

Ipswich: Fulop, Zuiverloon, Smith, O’Connor (Edwards 77), Delaney, Leadbitter, Kennedy, Norris, Colback, Scotland (Livermore 69), Fallon (Wickham 62). Subs Not Used: Murphy, O’Dea, Peters, Brown.
Leicester: Kirkland, Davies (Hobbs 70), Vitor, Naughton, King, Dyer (Howard 28), Abe, Wellens, Cunningham, Gallagher (Fryatt 65), Vassell. Subs Not Used: Oakley, Weale, Moussa, Morrison.

Referee: S Attwell (Warwickshire). Attendance: 16,728. 

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To subscribe to The FOX for the 2010-11 season, and get the Summer Special, 171, 172 and 173 in the post right away, and claim your free limited edition print send a cheque for £14.00 to:

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FOX 173 – in the Shops Now…

FOX 173 – the December/January issue – is now in the shops…

This issue features: An interview with David Bloomfield, son of Jimmy Bloomfield; Panini 81 stickers; your essential small ads; Odd One Out; Fully Programmed with Ooh Tommy Wright!; Fox Diary – the Sven has landed; the latest from the Foxes Trust; Tales From the Riverbank; Rewind to Turkey and paper hats – Oadby 1975; the Chris Lymn Column; The Gordon Banks Scrapbook; Our Man in a Van; Colours; your letters and Bentley’s Roof; and FortySomething’s Christmas…

Extract from the David Bloomfield interview…

FOX: How old were you when you moved to Leicester? 

DB: I was about 13, my Dad was manager at Orient and we lived in Epping. He had established them as a level two club having won what was Division Three the year before. Then Leicester came in for my Dad and I think they had to pay Orient a compensation fee of about £10,000.
I was very keen to go because I thought that with Leicester being in the top flight I would be able to augment my autograph book.
Towards the end of Leicester’s promotion season in 1970-71 they had come down to Orient and beaten us and they made a bit of an impression on me, with their stars like Peter Shilton and Rodney Fern.
When Leicester came in for Dad we had a family meeting about it, as we always did about these things, and everyone voted in favour of it.
It was quite a step up in status and salary so it was a bit of a no-brainer really.
We liked it at Orient and we had a lot of roots in the London area, but that wasn’t much of an issue, really.

FOX: Did you ever have any second thoughts? 

DB: No, I think we all enjoyed it right from the off. We found the schools in Oadby were good, so we didn’t regret it for a moment. The PE Teacher at Oadby used to pick on me a bit. If City lost then he would be on to me, saying, “When is your Dad going to sign a decent player?” I said: “Oh, when we have a decent PE lesson, sir.”
I was in his black books a bit and I got a shocking report from him. His name was Forster, can’t remember his first name, we didn’t know such things then.

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The FOX is available in the following outlets:  

LEICESTER: The Leicester City Megastore; Churchgate News; Forbouys, Hinckley Road; Mercury News, London Road; Centre News, Humberstone Gate; Bolands, Carts Lane; 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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Rovers Return Empty Handed After Super City Show

Leicester City 5:1 Doncaster Rovers

City shrugged off a stuttering first half performance to produce a superb display of football after the break, Sven Goran Eriksson’s men defeating Doncaster 5-1 at Filbert Way on Saturday.

There was one change to the City side with Vitor returning from injury and Hobbs demoted to the bench.
The ‘Friends and Family’ scheme had insured a big crowd for this game, but it was the Doncaster fans who were celebrating after just six minutes.
Coppinger’s cross from the right was acrobatically volleyed home by Sharp to give Rovers an unexpected lead.
City never really got their act together for the remainder of the first half. Wellens and Cunningham both fired shots over the bar and King looped a header onto the woodwork. It could have got worse for City when Healy broke clear on goal and rounded Weale before losing his balance at the vital moment and slicing his shot well wide.
City had to wait for the last minute of the half to level the game, and then they enjoyed a big slice of fortune.
Dyer, on for the injured Bednar, pursued a ball being shepherded back to Sullivan, and then fell over the keeper. The referee pointed to the spot and was pursued by furious Rovers players, before Gallagher stepped up to blast home the spot kick.
If the equaliser had been soft, there wasn’t much doubt about City’s second half display. The home side piled on the pressure from the start and Cunningham hit the bar with a long range effort and King forced a good save from Sullivan.
With City attacking constantly it was only a matter of time before they took the lead and Doncaster cracked in the 61st minute.
Wellens picked the ball up in midfield and was allowed to charge forward 20 yards without being closed down before firing a low shot just inside the left hand post.
Eight minutes later the game was won when City swept upfield and Wellens put Naughton in on the right. The on-loan right back slotted the ball coolly past Sullivan before treating L1 to a double somersault.
City added a fourth in the 75th minute when a clever through ball from Dyer set up Vassell for a neat finish under the advancing Sullivan, for his first goal in a City shirt.
City made it 5-1 deep into time added on, King beating the offside trap but sneding his shot against the right hand upright, but substitute Waghorn was on hand to chip the rebound into an empty net to finish off a superb second half  performance for City.
Sven was very happy: “It was an amazing turnaround. We could not control it in the first half, we were chasing the game. In the second half we were brilliant, absolutely fantastic, creating chances on many occasions and playing good football. Everyone was happy. They were all nice goals.”

Leicester: Weale, Davies, Vitor, Naughton, King, Abe, Wellens, Cunningham, Gallagher (Waghorn 78), Vassell (Oakley 86), Bednar (Dyer 37). Subs Not Used: Logan, Fryatt, Hobbs, Moussa.
Doncaster: Sullivan, Martis, O’Connor (Souza 75), Hird, Thomas, Coppinger (Wilson 86), Oster, Stock, Sharp, Hayter, Healy (Shiels 76). Subs Not Used: Lockwood, Brooker, Woods, Fairhurst.

 Referee: J Linington (Newport). Attendance: 27,549.

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City Feel Sting in Hornet’s Tail

Watford 3:2 Leicester City

City suffered a needless 3-2 reverse at Vicarage Road on Saturday, due to a combination of defensive errors and wasted chances… 

An unchanged City looked very hesitant in the opening stages of this game, played out in pouring rain.
Watford had already had a couple of far post chances before they took a 15th minute lead. A Mutch corner from the right found Eustace in a crowded penalty area, but he had time to prod the ball past Weale.
Seven minutes later it got worse for City when a ball forward saw Buckley outrunning City’s backline; Weale came out to challenge but missed and Buckley had the simple task of rolling the ball into an empty net.  
City almost went 3-0 down when Davies blocked a Graham effort, in what must have been their worst performance since Eriksson took the reins.
Wellens forced Loach into a good save but City had little else to show for their efforts at the half time whistle.

Things could only get better in the second half, and they did.
City took control of the game and had pulled a goal back within five minutes of the restart.
Taylor handled a Naughton cross near the byeline and under th enoses of the 2,200 City fans. Their instant and unanimous “HANDBALL!” shout may have helped convince referee Kevin Wright to point to the spot.
Gallagher did the job from 12 yards, blasting his spot-kick into top right hand corner.
Gallagher should have levelled soon after this but fired his shot too close to Loach when sent clear on goal, and again when he got his head to a cross close in but sent it straight at the Hornet’s keeper.
Then Howard, on for Bednar, also headed straight at Loach when well placed.
In the 69th minute Gallagher finally got his second. City won a free-kick 22 yards out and Gallagher lifted it over the wall into the bottom left hand corner with Loach, caught a little out of position, being glared at by his defence.
The rest of the game saw some end to end stuff, with defences getting stretched. Doyley was foiled by a brave Weale save, while Abe sent an acrobatical overhead kick over the bar.
It was Watford who dug deepest and summoned up a winner in the 85th minute. A swinging cross from Mutch was headed beyond Weale from close in the spark some joyous celebrations among the home fans.
City couldn’t find a way through in five minutes time-added-on and were beaten by a side who wanted it more, and took their chances…

Watford: Loach, Doyley, Taylor, Taylor, Mariappa, Eustace, McGinn (Sordell 79 (Massey 88)), Cowie, Mutch, Buckley (Deeney 56), Graham. Subs Not Used: Gilmartin, Bennett, Jenkins, Hodson.
Leicester: Weale, Davies, Hobbs, Naughton, King (Oakley 63), Abe, Wellens, Cunningham, Gallagher, Vassell (Waghorn 77), Bednar (Howard 58). Subs Not Used: Dyer, Logan, Vitor, Morrison.
Referee: Kevin Wright (Cambridgeshire). Attendance: 14,449.

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