Month: August 2012

Déjà Blue – Leicester Plunged Into Managerial Turmoil

With every new season comes a fresh set of expectant foxes and with the inspiration of London’s 2012 Olympic Games and last season’s failures a not so distant memory, Leicester fans had been more expectant than ever of setting the record straight. The season started well for the Foxes with a convincing 2-0 home win over Peterborough United. Nevertheless, three consecutive defeats to Charlton, Blackburn and Burton Albion would leave some fans calling for Pearson’s head.

Under fire… Some Leicester fans are calling for Pearson’s removal

It appears to be the same old for Leicester just four games in to the competitive campaign. A vicious cycle consisting of pre-season hype, an opening day win followed by a handful of defeats and in fickle Leicester fan nature, boos are already ringing around the King Power Stadium.  First4LCFC carried out a Twitter poll following Leicester’s league cup exit asking whether Pearson should stay or go with 76% wanting the manager to remain in his position. However, just under a quarter of Leicester fans still think even more change is best for the club.

But the minority campaigning for Pearson’s dismissal seem to have obtained short-term memory loss. It is no secret that last season, Leicester fans bemoaned our dreadful lack of consistency, a quality that is key to escaping this division at the right end. So changing our manager FOUR games in to the season is surely nothing but a hindrance? If we go back as early as last October and the dismissal of Sven-Goran Eriksson, we can see that changing managers mid-season is not beneficial, leading to months of false dawns and ultimately disappointment. As the saying goes, mistakes are made to be learned from and if we learned anything from Sven’s reign at Leicester, it’s that knee-jerk decisions get you no where in football.

Harsh…Sven was a victim of City’s fickle fanbase.

Another point to argue is that of Leicester legend, Martin O’Neill who came under fire during his early days at the club following some disappointing results. However, given time and patience  he managed to lead Leicester to two major trophies and gave us a wealth of Premier League memories on his way to becoming one of Leicester’s greatest ever bosses. It’s imperative that we back Pearson during this season. The key to success in the second tier is consistency and that has to start with the manager. The Foxes had been playing well in the league and have been unlucky to take just 3 points when we should have had at least 7.  Leicester also made 8 changes from the starting line-up at Blackburn for the mid-week 4-2 defeat at home to Burton Albion, indicating that some fans may be catastrophising.

Admittedly, it’s not the start that many had hoped for. Most people craved for us to hit the ground running and avoid playing catch-up to the league’s early leaders but sacking Nigel Pearson will only make that challenge harder. There’s no denying that we need to start turning performances in to results and that any Leicester side should be dealing with the likes of Burton Albion but those defeats are in the past now and there are still a minimum of 44 competitive fixtures left this season. So all Leicester fans really need to do is follow the club’s now cliched mantra and keep the faith.

2012-13 Football Rivalry Survey Results

The survey was carried out between August 2012 and February 2013 and was answered by just under 2,100 football fans.

Rivalry… English football’s hate stakes revealed

Headline statistics

  • 17 clubs’ main rivals have changed since 2003.
  • Leeds United  have the most teams considering them as main rivals with four. Manchester United and Nottingham Forest are joint second with three each.
  • Gillingham  have the fewest rivals, appearing in no club’s top three rivalries.
  • 52.2% of fans believe that geographical proximity is the cause of their main rivalry. 34.7% blame it on history whereas 8.2% think it’s down to league position.
  • 73.9% of football fans claim they would miss their rivals if they ceased to exist.

Changing rivalries

Since 2003, 17 club’s main rivals have changed. They are as follows;

Team Old Rival New Rival
AFC Bournemouth Reading Southampton
Arsenal Manchester United Tottenham Hotspur
Bolton Wanderers Manchester United Wigan Athletic
Brentford Queens Park Rangers Fulham
Carlisle United Middlesbrough Preston North End
Chelsea Arsenal Tottenham Hotspur
Colchester United Wycombe Wanderers Southend United
Coventry City Aston Villa Leicester City
Crewe Alexandra Stoke City Port Vale
Doncaster Rovers Rotherham United Leeds United
Fulham Chelsea Queens Park Rangers
Huddersfield Town Bradford City Leeds United
Oldham Athletic Manchester City Rochdale
Reading Swindon Town Aldershot Town
Torquay United Exeter City Plymouth Argyle
Tranmere Rovers Bolton Wanderers Oldham Athletic

Clubs with the most rivals

With 3 points allocated for having one main rival and two for having a secondary rival etc., here is a ranking of clubs with the most rivals in the Football League.

Rank Club Points
1 Leeds 25
2 Chelsea 15
Manchester United 15
4 Bolton 14
Swindon 14
Wolves 14
7 Burnley 12
Millwall 12
Sheff Wed 12
10 Crystal Palace 11
Leicester 11
MK Dons 11
13 Aston Villa 10
Blackburn 10
Brighton 10
16 Bristol Rovers 9
Liverpool 9
Nott’m Forest 9
Oxford 9
Reading 9
West Brom 9
West Ham 9
23 Arsenal 8
Preston 8
Tottenham Hotspur 8
26 Birmingham 7
Bristol City 7
Cardiff 7
Colchester 7
Derby 7
Exeter 7
Port Vale 7
Sheff Utd 7
Southampton 7
35 Huddersfield 6
Hull 6
Morecambe 6
Newcastle 6
Peterborough 6
Plymouth 6
Portsmouth 6
QPR 6
Southend 6
Stoke 6
45 Accrington 5
AFC Wimbledon 5
Barnet 5
Barnsley 5
Chesterfield 5
Dag & Red 5
Fulham 5
Middlesbrough 5
Northampton 5
Oldham 5
Rochdale 5
Sunderland 5
Wigan 5
58 Blackpool 4
Bradford 4
Brentford 4
Charlton 4
Doncaster 4
Everton 4
Ipswich 4
Leyton Orient 4
Torquay 4
67 Aldershot 3
Bury 3
Carlisle 3
Manchester City 3
Norwich 3
Rotherham 3
Stevenage 3
Swansea 3
Walsall 3
Wycombe 3
77 Crewe 2
Hartlepool 2
Shrewsbury 2
80 Bournemouth 1
Coventry 1
Crawley 1
Notts County 1
Scunthorpe 1
Yeovil 1
86 Burton 0
Cheltenham 0
Fleetwood 0
Gillingham 0
Tranmere 0
Watford 0
York 0

Rivalries – Who are they?

Here is a complete list of the 92 Premier League and Football League clubs’ top three rivalries;

Team Main rivals Second rivals Third rivals
Accrington Stanley Morecambe Blackburn Rovers Burnley
AFC Bournemouth Southampton Reading Brighton & Hove Albion
AFC Wimbledon Milton Keynes Dons Crystal Palace Crawley Town
Aldershot Town Reading Woking Swindon Town
Arsenal Tottenham Hotspur Chelsea Manchester United
Aston Villa Birmingham City West Bromwich Albion Wolves
Barnet Stevenage Dagenham & Redbridge Northampton Town / Carlisle United
Barnsley Sheffield Wednesday Sheffield United Leeds United / Huddersfield Town
Birmingham City Aston Villa Wolves West Bromwich Albion
Blackburn Rovers Burnley Bolton Wanderers Manchester United
Blackpool Preston North End Bolton Wanderers Burnley
Bolton Wanderers Wigan Athletic Burnley Blackburn Rovers
Bradford City Huddersfield Town Leeds United Rotherham United
Brentford Fulham Queens Park Rangers Chelsea
Brighton & Hove Albion Crystal Palace Portsmouth Southampton
Bristol City Bristol Rovers Cardiff City Swindon Town
Bristol Rovers Bristol City Swindon Town Cardiff City
Burnley Blackburn Rovers Bolton Wanderers Blackpool / Preston North End
Burton Albion Chesterfield Derby County Notts County
Bury Bolton Wanderers Rochdale Oldham Athletic
Cardiff City Swansea City Bristol City Leeds United
Carlisle United Preston North End Hartlepool United Middlesbrough
Charlton Athletic Crystal Palace Millwall West Ham United
Chelsea Tottenham Hotspur Arsenal Manchester United
Cheltenham Town Swindon Town Oxford United Shrewsbury Town / Kidderminster Harriers
Chesterfield Mansfield Town Rotherham United Sheffield Wednesday
Colchester United Southend United Wycombe Wanderers Ipswich Town
Coventry City Leicester City Aston Villa Birmingham City
Crawley Town AFC Wimbledon Brighton & Hove Albion Swindon Town
Crewe Alexandra Port Vale Stoke City
Crystal Palace Brighton & Hove Albion Millwall Charlton Athletic
Dagenham & Redbridge Barnet Leyton Orient Brentford
Derby County Nottingham Forest Leeds United Leicester City
Doncaster Rovers Leeds United Barnsley Sheffield United / Sheffield Wednesday
Everton Liverpool Manchester United Manchester City
Exeter City Plymouth Argyle Torquay United Bristol Rovers / Yeovil Town
Fleetwood Town Morecambe Accrington Stanley Barrow
Fulham Queens Park Rangers Chelsea Brentford
Gillingham Millwall Charlton Athletic Swindon Town
Hartlepool United Darlington Carlisle United Sheffield Wednesday
Huddersfield Town Leeds United Bradford City Sheffield Wednesday
Hull City Leeds United Leicester City Scunthorpe United / Grimsby Town
Ipswich Town Norwich City West Ham United Colchester United
Leeds United Manchester United Chelsea Huddersfield Town / Millwall
Leicester City Nottingham Forest Derby County Coventry City
Leyton Orient Southend United Brentford Dagenham & Redbridge / West Ham United
Liverpool Manchester United Everton Chelsea
Manchester City Manchester United Liverpool Everton
Manchester United Liverpool Manchester City Chelsea
Middlesbrough Newcastle United Sunderland Leeds United
Millwall West Ham United Crystal Palace Charlton Athletic
Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough United AFC Wimbledon Northampton Town
Morecambe Accrington Stanley Burnley Bradford City
Newcastle United Sunderland Middlesbrough Manchester United
Northampton Town Peterborough United Milton Keynes Dons Leicester City / Oxford United
Norwich City Ipswich Town Wolves Leeds United
Nottingham Forest Derby County Leicester City Sheffield United
Notts County Nottingham Forest Mansfield Town Chesterfield
Oldham Athletic Rochdale Wigan Athletic Huddersfield Town
Oxford United Swindon Town Reading Wycombe Wanderers
Peterborough United Northampton Town Cambridge United Leicester City / Milton Keynes Dons
Plymouth Argyle Exeter City Torquay United Portsmouth
Port Vale Stoke City Crewe Alexandra Shrewsbury Town
Portsmouth Southampton Brighton & Hove Albion Millwall / Leicester City
Preston North End Blackpool Blackburn Rovers Burnley
Queens Park Rangers Chelsea Fulham Cardiff City / Stoke City
Reading Aldershot Town Swindon Town Oxford United
Rochdale Bury Burnley Oldham Athletic
Rotherham United Doncaster Rovers Sheffield Wednesday Chesterfield
Scunthorpe United Hull City Grimsby Town Doncaster Rovers
Sheffield United Sheffield Wednesday Leeds United Barnsley / West Ham United
Sheffield Wednesday Sheffield United Barnsley Leeds United
Shrewsbury Town Walsall Wolves Port Vale
Southampton Portsmouth Brighton & Hove Albion Bournemouth
Southend United Colchester United Leyton Orient Dagenham & Redbridge
Stevenage Milton Keynes Dons Barnet Dagenham & Redbridge
Stoke City Port Vale West Bromwich Albion Wolves
Sunderland Newcastle United Middlesbrough Leeds United
Swansea City Cardiff City Reading Bristol City
Swindon Town Oxford United Reading Bristol City / Bristol Rovers
Torquay United Plymouth Argyle Exeter City Bristol Rovers
Tottenham Hotspur Arsenal Chelsea West Ham United
Tranmere Rovers Oldham Athletic Bolton Wanderers Everton / Liverpool
Walsall Wolves Aston Villa West Bromwich Albion
Watford Luton Town Leeds United Crystal Palace / Queens Park Rangers
West Bromwich Albion Wolves Aston Villa Birmingham City
West Ham United Millwall Tottenham Hotspur Arsenal / Chelsea
Wigan Athletic Bolton Wanderers Blackburn Rovers Preston North End
Wolves West Bromwich Albion Birmingham City Aston Villa
Wycombe Wanderers Colchester United Milton Keynes Dons Oxford United
Yeovil Town Bristol Rovers Exeter City
York City Hull City Leeds United Bradford City

Neutral opinion

The 20 most offensive clubs to the neutral football fan;

  1. Manchester United

    Hated… Manchester United are the most disliked English football club

  2. Liverpool
  3. Leeds United
  4. Chelsea
  5. West Ham United
  6. Stoke City
  7. Millwall
  8. Milton Keynes Dons
  9. Cardiff City
  10. Queens Park Rangers
  11. Manchester City
  12. Arsenal
  13. Tottenham Hotspur
  14. Crawley Town
  15. Birmingham City
  16. Aston Villa
  17. Hull City
  18. Nottingham Forest
  19. Reading
  20. Portsmouth

The 20 least offensive clubs to the neutral football fan were;

  1. Brentford

    Buzzing… The Bees are the Football League’s least offensive club

  2. Aldershot Town
  3. Burton Albion
  4. Bury
  5. Yeovil Town
  6. Cheltenham Town
  7. Dagenham & Redbridge
  8. Exeter City
  9. Torquay United
  10. Fulham
  11. Bournemouth
  12. Colchester United
  13. Leyton Orient
  14. Rochdale
  15. York City
  16. Carlisle United
  17. Crewe Alexandra
  18. Hartlepool United
  19. Tranmere Rovers
  20. Accrington Stanley

All stats compared with 2003 Football Fans Census : Rivalry Uncovered. However, this survey is not affiliated with the Football Fans Survey.

Ten Years on Filbert Way : The 10 Greatest Matches

August 2012 marks the tenth anniversary of the first competitive fixture played at Leicester City’s new home, The King Power Stadium. We’ve seen ups, downs, drunken fans attacking goalkeepers, Newcastle players knocked unconscious from a sharp free-kick, wordly strikes from Nalis to Gudjonsson and a 12-month-cameo by a super Swede. But here are the 10 picks for Leicester’s greatest match at our new home.

10. Leicester City 4–0 Norwich City

2007/08 Coca-Cola Championship        Att:  25,854

The first on the list is an oddity of sorts. A win under Ian Holloway in the dreaded 2007/08 season and on top of that DJ Campbell found himself on the scoresheet for the Foxes. It may not be the Foxes’ fan’s favourite win over the six-fingered faithful from Norwich but at the time, it was quite a scalp. Norwich had been on a 13-game-unbeaten run and Leicester were staring a relegation scrap straight in the face. The game also sparked violence from the Norwich fans in the city centre which led to Leicester fans being unjustly and nonsensically labelled ‘high risk’ for 2012’s FA Cup fixture. Cue David Nugent.

Trounced… High-risk Howard punishes the canaries.

9. Leicester City 3–0 Coventry City

2006/07 Coca-Cola Championship      Att: 25,816

What a difference a chairman makes! Number 9 on the list is Leicester’s first game under sneaky Serb, Milan Mandaric and it was a fruitful affair indeed. The Foxes kicked off Mandaric’s manager-chopping reign with a dominant win over M69 rivals, Coventry City. One the Hinckley-dwelling Foxes will savour for years to come.

Handful… City’s scorers embrace.

8. Leicester City 4–0 Nottingham Forest

2011/12 FA Cup 3rd Round Replay      Att: 16,210

It was inevitable really, the 8th best game on Filbert Way was the classic FA Cup replay of January 2012. In truth, Leicester dismissed Forest with ease. In some respects, the scoreline was flattering to the away side who couldn’t even hit the back of the net from 3 yards with an open goal. It says it all that hat-trick hero, Jermaine Beckford scored 3 times despite suffering from a cold. I’m starting to think, that Alan Birchenall could have taken to the pitch and scored himself. However, if there is one downside; this game seemed to be the turning point that saved Forest from relegation.

Rout… But it’s okay. Forest only hate Derby, remember?

7. Leicester City 2–0 Brighton & Hove Albion

2002/03 Nationwide Division One     Att: 31,909

Number 7 on the countdown is the 90 minutes that confirmed a controversial promotion for the Foxes. Having suffered relegation at Filbert Street 12 months earlier, Leicester bounced back to the big time at the first attempt after beating the Seagulls two-nil. Of course as Neil Warnock would have it, Leicester’s remarkable 92 point tally was condemned as ‘farcical’ due to financial issues. News flash, Neil – If the Foxes had had a 10 point deduction, they would have still finished in an automatic promotion spot.

Promotion…Jordan Stewart scored the crucial goal that sent Leicester up

6. Leicester City 4–0 Derby County

2011/12 nPower Championship    Att: 22,496

They say history never repeats itself and that was proven to be false in October 2011 as the 1994 classic ‘Silence of the Rams’ churned out a thrilling sequel at the King Power Stadium. The Foxes and the Rams had had unexpected starts to the season; Promotion favourites, Leicester had found themselves in the bottom half whilst Derby were leading an unlikely play-off charge. However, a convincing 4 goal winning margin in the East Midlands derby brought the feel good factor back to Leicester and left a handful of travelling sheep slunking back to Derby with nothing but a spanking.

Baaaaaad luck… Vassell sends the home crowd in to raptures.

5. Leicester City 2–2 Manchester City

2010/11 FA Cup 3rd Round     Att: 31,200

The only draw to make the countdown is the FA Cup third round clash against Man City. To fit the old cliché, it was a classic cup tie; two sets of passionate fans, two big spenders and a fascinating teacher vs. pupil battle in the dugout between Leicester’s Sven-Goran Eriksson and Man City’s Roberto Mancini. However, Leicester not only took the game to the Premier League club, they were unlucky to only get a replay. Bamba bundled the ball across the line in the first 50 seconds before Leicester let their lead slip. Andy King found the equaliser in the 64th minute with the search for the winner continuing in to the last minute. Even former fox, Mancini revealed he was ‘relieved’ to escape with a draw.

Premier League? You’re Having a laugh… Bamba makes a name for himself

4. Leicester City 3–2 Tottenham Hotspur

2005/06 FA Cup 3rd Round     Att: 19,844

The Gary Lineker derby as it was affectionately dubbed on the day is perhaps one of the most infamous victories of Leicester’s recent history. Having been two-nil down by the 41st minute, The Foxes who were 21st in the Championship at the time embarked on a remarkable second half comeback led by the Elvis Hammond and Steven Hughes. The Foxes were back in it by the hour mark, leaving Mark ‘donkey’ de Vries to score the 90th minute winner and dump Premier League Spurs out of the cup.

Scalp… De Vries’ placed shot sends City through

3. Leicester City 3–0 Nottingham Forest

2009/10 Coca-Cola Championship     Att: 31,759

The first ‘El Clasico me duck’ thrashing came in February 2010. Both Leicester and Forest were locked in a battle for promotion and having been on the receiving end of a 5-1 defeat at the City Ground, it was time for the Foxes to get some revenge. The two East Midlands’ giants played out a dull hour with no real chances before a fifteen minute deforestation would get the Walkers rocking. A goal each from Bruno Berner and Andy King and a memorable free kick from Paul Gallagher ensured 3 points as the Foxes sank their teeth in to their bitter rivals, knocking them out of the top two.

Tale of two thrashings… Leicester exact their revenge on the Tricky Trees

2. Leicester City 1–0 Leeds United

2008/09 Coca-Cola League One     Att: 25,507

It was the battle of the big clubs in April 2009 as the Foxes edged closer and closer towards a remarkable turn in fortunes. Following years of decline, the Foxes were finally back on the up after a dramatic last minute header spread vibes of delirium around the Walkers Stadium. In truth, the game was a rugged affair and to fit the old cliché; a tremendous advert for England’s third tier. But it was Leicester who stood tall as Howard headed Gradel’s corner in to the back of the net, writing off the 2008/09 season as Leicester’s one and ONLY third tier tour.

Classic… ‘Super’ Steve Howard practically seals Leicester’s Championship return

1. Leicester City 4–0 Leeds United

2003/04 Barclays Premier League     Att: 30,460

The greatest game to ever unfold before our eyes at the King Power Stadium is the famous four-nil drubbing of Leeds United. The victory seen by millions on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football captured all the best Leicester’s most recent Premier League team had to offer. From the first whistle, the Foxes were on the hunt and the scoreline was one the home side had earned. Complete with four tremendous goals, in particular, a jaw-dropping 30-yard volley from Lilian Nalis, Leicester saw off a Leeds United team that had graced Europe just one season before. The victory was celebrated by fans alike including Chris Moyles’ breakfast show colleagues who concocted a jingle mocking Leeds’ (Moyles’ team) defeat to City. The win was the first of only five Premier League wins that season but boy was it a sweet one.

Rankings based on the votes by members of the FoxesTalk forum. 

Out of the Blue : A Dawning Rivalry?

When Leicester meet Peterborough on Saturday during the nPower Championship’s season opener both will be gunning for three points but for one set of supporters, a victory will mean so much more.

All blue affair… Leicester and Posh are Championship comrades once more

History

Historically, the Foxes meetings with the Posh have been few and far between with Saturday’s encounter only the 16th competitive

Sour grapes…Some Posh fans still envy Leicester’s League One triumph

meeting between the two clubs. Typically, Leicester are considered a much bigger club than their Eastern blue counterparts with Leicester traditionally competing in the top two tiers of English Football and Posh in the basement divisions  of the Football League. This could explain Leicester fan’s disillusion to the rivalry believing that Peterborough’s history is beneath them. In fact, United’s highest ever finish in the league ladder was 10th place in the 2nd tier (currently the nPower Championship), one place below Leicester’s standing from last season, a season the Foxes faithful considered a failure. But meetings between the two are becoming more and more frequent with 40% of the fixtures between the two being played since 2008.

Why?

The first flickers of rivalry arose in the 2008-09 League One season in which both clubs found themselves towards the top of the table with Peterborough finishing runners-up to champions, Leicester. Accompanied by two convincing home wins that season by both clubs (4-0 at Leicester and 2-0 at Peterborough),  an on-the-pitch gulf in class was becoming shorter as Posh would go on to spend the two of the next three seasons at Leicester’s side even totting up some shock victories as they became City’s bogey team. Peterborough’s seemingly inability to roll over and die at the feet of Leicester is perhaps the only reason any dislike is felt on the Foxes side whereas Posh fans seem to harbour much more.

Big day out… Posh always travel well to Leicester

Geographically, the cities of Leicester and Peterborough are only 41 miles apart and with Leicester supporters scattered in towns such as Corby, Stamford and Kettering, it is clear to see why there might be friction with the neighbouring Posh fans. Especially as their traditional rivals Cambridge United and Northampton Town seemed to have disintegrated in to Sunday League outfits. However, despite being the closest club to Posh in the Championship, Leicester are not short of rivals in the congested East Midlands with their sights firmly fixated on Derby and Forest. In fact, a football rivalry survey I conducted in March of this year revealed Posh considered the Foxes among their top 3 rivals whereas Peterborough stood a lowly 8th place for Leicester fans behind the likes of Aston Villa and Leeds United.

How Leicester see it

Quotes from FoxesTalk forum;

Tinpot. Small time. Deluded supporters, a team that no-one really takes much notice of. “

“I like their terrace. But otherwise I don’t think much of them, just another team in the league that we’ll play at some point.”

“Third or fourth tier club who’ve done very well in the past few years, that we unfortunately lose a number of points to, presumably from not treating the game seriously enough/them putting in a good performance.”

“Underestimate anyone at your peril! Of course they don’t have a particularly illustrious history but they seem like a good, albeit old fashioned, football club.”

“It’s a decent day for a drink up plus they have a terrace. Shame their fans don’t make the most of it.”

“Very efficient train station”

The general consensus among Leicester fans seems to be that Posh are not considered rivals.  Having stumped up a lowly eighth place in the Foxes rivalry ranking, it is clear that only a very few fans consider Posh to be a rivalry. Of course those roaming the streets of the major Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire towns may look at Posh with a healthy contempt but in reality The Foxes have bigger fish to (Barry) fry.

How Peterborough see it

“Big club, with a big fan base but too over-rated , think they can buy the league and they lose or draw to teams which they should be beating, and we consider them as rivals cus of all the meetings they had in League 1 and Championship”

“I think for some we have lost all rivalry with other clubs due to our rise in leagues so they are looking for a new rival…Leicester is relatively close to Peterborough so for some I think they want to create a rivalry, for others its a money thing”

“Hmm, I know there are a few Posh fans who think Leicester as a rivalry but I reckon it’s more to do with the fact that Leicester got the League One title instead of us! And there’s the obvious geographical but we don’t really class Leicester as rivals. They’re a decent club, and I reckon they could get a top 10 finish this season!”

“I appreciate that the feeling isn’t really mutual, but most Posh fans would love to beat Leicester!”

However for Peterborough fans the fixture seems to be increasingly more important. Evidence for this includes one fan naming Leicester as the team they would most like to beat this season, the chants of ‘If you all hate Leicester clap your hands!’ and ‘Shoot the Leicester scum!’ at the King Power Stadium and an FA Cup tie in which Posh faced Sunderland last season. Reports spread on Twitter at the end of April that Peterborough fans were chanting anti-Leicester songs as they passed through the city on their way to Pride Park to face Derby County and the Peterborough Telegraph even described the opening day fixture as a ‘mouth-watering derby trip’ on the day of the fixtures’ release.

So when the thousands of blue clad supporters descend upon the King Power Stadium this Saturday. It will be a battle for 3 points for one but a fight for pride for the other. But who knows, maybe something extraordinary will happen and we can all enjoy a rivalry that both clubs partake in equally. But given the gulf in the extent of our histories and traditions, I’d say it’s fairly unlikely.

Peterborough beware… The Foxes lie in wait

Californian Dream (Part 4 : Dinner at Tiffany’s)

“They’re not my boogers!” – A grown woman assures me that she hasn’t been wiping boogies on the hand-rail.

To make a long story short. The journey from Los Angeles to San Diego was bloody annoying and filled with unnecessary traffic and questionable tasting Starbust. To make matters worse, we didn’t have the address of the Marriott we were supposed to be staying in. All we knew was that it was near the airport. We searched for hotels on our bitchy Sat Nav and selected the one closest to the airport or so we thought. What we actually did was drive to Terminal 2 of San Diego International airport hoping to find a hotel. Eventually, we found a Marriott near the hotel that was stunning, it was classy, had a pool and was a prime location from the city. It wasn’t ours. We had a reservation at a different Marriott the other side of the airport. Typical. However, our prior bad luck from that day had begun to change. The hotel was equally as grand and had a pool just like the other. It even had restaurants a stone throw away. That evening, we went to Oggies, which was essentially a bar. I had my reservations to be honest, I thought we’d be served shit food and have to listen to arrogant yanks spout about their American superiority as the Olympics blared in the background. But no, the food was delicious (I’d had yet another Chicken Caesar Salad, my 3rd of the holiday), the customers were fine too and our waitress, Ashley was just as helpful and lovely as the others.

American dream… Tucking in to a very large Maccies

The next day, kicked off with a bit of drama. Holly had declared that her charger was missing and that she had left it in LA. Her and my Dad went early to search for the charger in the car and were unable to find it. My sister went off in a strop in classic Holly fashion. I was then unable to find my boxers seeing as we all had to share suitcases. My Dad had arranged anything and if he found a thing out of place, he would hit the roof. Debbie went storming after them both so he could find my boxers and we could find Holly. It turned out her charger was in her suitcase the entire time, what a ridiculous human being she is. Anyway, we went down to the pool; I watched Bradley Wiggins claim gold for Team GB and went for some swimming races against my Dad. I won every time.  By that point we’d decided to head to the beach. The sandy shores of SD were far less crowded than LA. This could be due to the fact it only has a quarter of the population of the Big Orange. Although, I’d contend it was the flea-infested clumps of seaweed that put visitors off. As me and my sister made our way across the beach, a young boy accidentally flicked sand in our faces. We shrugged it off and carried on walking. To our surprise, the child’s mother had chased us down the beach, holding her son by the wrist before exclaiming “APOLOGISE TO THEM!”. The boy did so and we thanked her, although an apology was hardly necessary. If that had happened in England we probably would have been attacked by a Scummy Mummy claiming that we walked in front of her child’s sand. The rest of our beaching was uneventful; I read the rest of Alan Carr’s autobiography and invented a new game called Bounce Ball® with my Dad. Before we left the beachfront, we headed out for a late lunch… at McDonalds. I was excited to gorge myself in true American style and their fast food delights and it was just as incredible as I imagined. A large and I mean large packet of chips, a quarter pounder with cheese and a Dr. Pepper! I had always wanted to have a Dr. Pepper with my Maccies and I finally had! I now knew what they were talking about when they’d been mentioning the American Dream all these years.

Monkeying around… Orangutans at San Diego zoo

Our routine of early morning drama was continuing in San Diego, with just one day to go before we left my Dad had decided to inform me that I must endure two connecting flights home. Seeing as I hate flying I was rightfully pissed off, it even took  my Dad over 10 hours just to apologise for his poor record of informing people. I eventually got over it, at least I can now say I’ve been to Houston, Texas too. Afterwards, we slung our suitcases in the boot and hit San Diego Zoo. The zoo was brilliant; laid out expertly with a real jungle vibe. The wide array of wildlife was spectacular and the SkyFari and open-top buses provided a great views of the site. If I had two complaints and true to myself, I do. They separated the car park in to letter categories then assigned an animal that didn’t begin with said letter. H for Orangutan? Really? And of course, typically given the fact our camera had hosted many once in a lifetime pictures, my Dad went and lost it. Okay, so that’s not really the zoo’s fault but they still couldn’t fucking find it, could they?!

Scenic… Partial view of SD from the 23rd Floor

After a tiring day at the zoo, we drove to San Diego’s famous gas lamp quarter. My Dad had booked two hotels in SD and this one was even more lavish and grand as the other, 23 floors of pomp. The view from the 23rd floor was incredible, you could see a beautiful section of San Diego’s varied cityscape complete with Petco Park. We decided to arm our stomachs with some delicious strawberry frozen yoghurt and tour the gas lamp quarter and to be fair to it it was pleasant but I don’t see why it’s particularly famous, it’s certainly nothing special. For our final meal we ventured down the street to the Old Spaghetti Factory, a quaint Mexican restaurant. I’m kidding, it’s obviously an Italian. The food and decor were more than adequate but the real highlight was our waitress, Tiffany. She was like the love-child of Queen Latifah and Whoppi Goldberg complete with her own catchphrase – “Absolutely!”, followed by a wink. It might seem silly to judge her on her appearance and phrasing but she was very attentive, she was there to refill my glass with Coke before I even had a chance to ask for a top-up. She had even brought us complimentary coffees at the end of the meal. I was so taken to her I decided to tip $5 of my own money instead of just letting my Dad cover it. That night, I feel asleep reminiscing a fantastic holiday as the chirpy voices of NBC’s sports commentators put me to sleep. My American dream was over.

Random observations about the United States and Americans

  1. Toilet water is obscenely high

    America… The land of the weird and the home of the strange

  2. Taxi drivers are mental
  3. For the most part, people are incredibly polite and friendly
  4. Burritos (excluding Taco Bell’s) are delicious
  5. There are a lot of medicine adverts
  6. One Direction and Sofia Vergara are EVERYWHERE
  7. British music as a whole is very popular
  8. ‘Jay-walking’ or ‘crossing the road’ as it’s known in England is frowned upon
  9. Chat or magazine shows have a much quicker pace than in the UK
  10. Andrex is called Cottonelle
  11. Harry Potter is slowed down so Americans can understand it. Really.
  12. Petrol or gas is a third of the price
  13. There is a really cool John Cleese advert for DirectTV – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5VDfizYnxY
  14. TK Maxx is known in the States as TJ Maxx.

Californian Dream (Part 3: The Big Orange)

“I love your hair colour, Roberta. Oh, the whole family’s gorgeous!” – A loud-mouthed ‘Brooklyner’ compliments us at Universal Studios

The prospect of entering one of the World’s most famous cities with a massive population of 3.9 million was daunting. After negotiating our way through the rush-hour traffic, we arrived in the LA district of Century City, the location of our hotel. The Marriott hotel itself was brilliant. The lobby was stunning, the staff were helpful and they even had valet parking to boot. It was as glamorous as you’d expect. My Dad and Debbie had been less keen on the idea of the city of Angels. They had been more excited by the culturally-rich San Francisco. However, me and my sister were desperate to immerse ourselves in the Big Orange and we opted to take a quick tour around the city in our car.

Modern Family… The Dunphy household on Dunleer Drive, Cheviot Hills

What immediately struck me was the variety that LA possessed; one minute you could be around corporate skyscrapers and the next in a humble, quaint housing estate all housed within the same city. The city also seemed to have a huge gay scene (I don’t mean that there were a lot of obese homosexuals), more-so than San Fran. One street was so packed with gay clubs and shops it should have been renamed Brokeback Boulevard.  Before we’d left for the hotel I had keenly searched for the location of the Modern Family houses, as you probably know I’m a massive fan of the show. I couldn’t believe my luck when one house was located within Century City itself and another in nearby Cheviot Hills. Of course, I forced a detour to both locations and wearing  an ear-to-ear smile got a snap in front of the houses. Unfortunately, my Dad has since lost the camera and I cannot share these photos with you but at least I have the memories. We then went to eat at BJ’s restaurant, a stylish restaurant complete with delicious food. It quickly became a family favourite if not for it’s excellent service but it’s opportunity for innuendo.

City Love… I ♥ Los Angeles

The next day, we were awoken by our sink backing up in the hotel. Black water was oozing from the basin. After a series of complaints to the front and a quick breakfast we hit Santa Monica beach. Following the strenuous task of finding a place to park, we settled on the beach, armed with chicken salad sandwiches from 7-Eleven. We decided to take a stroll down Santa Monica pier, which was plastered with classic sea-sidey pleasures; rollercoasters, candy floss and souvenir shops. However, the best sight on the pier was our first and only celebrity spotting of the trip, Modern Family’s Rico Rodriguez. What are the chances? A hotel in the same district as the Modern Family houses and a spotting of one of the cast members on the pier?  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a picture with him, he was with his family who had formed a turtle formation around him. However, my Dad managed to pap him and told me that he watched me and my sister have our photo taken as if it were some sort of creepy consolation. The rest of the day on the beach mainly involved playing volleyball and reading Alan Carr’s autiobiography whilst skewed on the golden sands. Afterwards, we went for a walk down Venice Beach, I bought an ‘I ♥ LA’ t-shirt, only the second city to receive that honour (after Leicester). That night, we once again frequented BJ’s and for the second night running I had their delicious Mango Chicken Salad, which is odd for me because I usually hate salads.

Hollywood… The famous hillside sign

On Monday, we drove the 5 mile distance to Universal Studios. We arrived just after 9am so as to beat the crowds. In hindsight, it wasn’t necessary seeing as we had front of the line passes. The place is fantastic. They have water spray stations able to cool you in the blistering heat, complimentary Brooklyners leaning out of windows, one of which called my family ‘gorgeous’, a waxwork of Vin Diesel that my sister enjoyed and the cheesiest souvenir shops you could wish for. Naturally, my thrill-seeking Dad and Holly were desperate to get on the rides so they did whilst my pasty skin frazzled in the sun. I used to like rollercoasters but I’ve since been deterred following  a near-death experience at Drayton Manor, but that’s a different story. In fact, I did brave 3 rides during our visit; The Simpsons 3D, Shrek 4D and even the Jurassic Park water ride which is the most exhilarating log flume I’ve ever been on. Other than the dino drop, I was there for the back-lot studio tour. It was incredibly insightful. The tram took you around many iconic sets, props and stages from a simulated earthquake in a subway to a recreation of Jaws in the town of Amityville. Of course, I was most excited to arrive on Wisteria Lane, and it was spectacular, just as pristine as on the box. Within the last three days, I had visited the homes of Modern Family, met Manny Delgado and been to Wisteria Lane. LA was shaping up to be the perfect city.

Bright lights bigger city… Night-time view from Santa Monica pier

Our final day was twinged with a bit of sadness for me. I woke to find my iPod of 18 months unresponsive on the bed-side table and the Apple store staff unable to save her. We grabbed a croissant, I sat sullen remembering the life of my digital pal until I was inadvertently distracting by an upcoming actress discussing scripts with her agents, unfortunately we didn’t catch a name of someone who is sure to be a rising star. We then made the journey to Tinseltown!  Oddly enough there is something quite satisfying about having your picture taken with a celebrity’s name that’s been stencilled on to a path. From Ed O’Neill to Felicity Huffman, I had my snap taken with all my favourite stars. Better yet, I discovered my hands and feet were the exact same size as the great king of pop, Michael Jackson! Okay, I may have jumped the gun there – the best part of the day was an unexpected compliment from an LA local who said ‘that’s a very cool shirt, dude!” referring to the Leicester City shirt I was proudly donning. On the way out of the city, we stopped by Johnny Depp’s house for my sister. His street is a winding street just off a main road, cleverly secluded by high trees. The houses there were fantastic but we were clearly not welcome. The road was a dead-end and there were even bouncers glaring at us from a driveway as we tried to sneak a peek at one of Hollywood’s A-List pads. Further down that road we encountered our first ‘insane’ American, a homeless man seemingly blaming Jennifer Aniston for life’s shortcomings. LA was  fantastic and when I left for San Diego that afternoon, I did so with a heavy heart. Could ‘America’s finest city’ compete with La La Land?

Blame… Jennifer Aniston is the leading cause of homelessness.

Californian Dream (Part 2: Journey South)

“If you want your birthday cake, you’ll have to do a birthday shake! WOOO!” – Enthusiastic staff goad a customer in to dancing

On Thursday morning, my Dad pulled up outside the hotel in a rented Lincoln. No, he wasn’t driving a shit English city or a founding father, it was actually just a normal car.  We forced our bulky cases in to the boot and off we went on our travels. The distance between San Francisco and Los Angeles is a colossal 381 miles, so an over night stop was necessary. My Dad and Debbie were keen to take the scenic drive, which basically meant enduring an added 2 hours on to our trip, which was made significantly more difficult by a snippy Sat Nav who rudely declared that her application did ‘not support British English’, the cyber bitch!

Anyway, we were on the road, with the shorter leg of 103 miles to Monterey to contend with. Initially, we sat back, enjoyed the scenery and eachother’s company. Quickly, we resorted to plugging in our iPods and relentlessly requesting service station stops. After about 45 minutes, we pulled up at Taco Bell,  a famous American fast food chain. I was quite excited to sample the States take on Mexican fast food. You can imagine my disappoint, when the Central American treat I was served tasted less like a spicy, flavoursome burrito and more like a mushy pile of minced beef that had been soaked in dishwater and wrapped in a bit of scrap paper. Although, the food was a let down, I was becoming very accustomed to the States generous policy of free refills wherever you went. Pepsi galore for the road ahead.

Poor show… My first and last Taco Bell

For the most part, the drive was full of inspiring scenery; scorched, yellow grass and poor towns. That was until we reached Santa Cruz, which is quite simply fantastic. A moderately-sized town with some stunning houses. Santa Cruz was a genuine delight to behold and although we only drove through it, it was rightly deemed the pinnacle of Central California. Monterey would simply not compare. In fact, Monterey was a bit of a shithole. My impressions of it were perhaps not helped by the fact we had endured a perilously dull journey only to be shacked up in a shitty Travelodge. Honestly, I didn’t care that we were staying in a motel in the middle of an American ghetto, I had needed a wee for an hour before we arrived and my bladder was pulsating more violently than an overly-loud stereo. We hastily dumped our luggage, eager to spend as little time in the hotel room as possible and we hit the town. We settled on eating at Bubba Gump’s, an American seafood chain, based on  the film, Forrest Gump. The staff were enthusiastic and all sang acapella for whoever’s birthday it was. The restaurant was so cheesy, there was even an obligatory Forrest Gump trivia quiz. Seriously. The food and atmosphere were both enjoyable and lifted our spirits before we returned to the Travelodge. Oh, on the way back we saw some motorbikes, a lot actually. They were thoroughly uninteresting. We all went straight to sleep bar me. I couldn’t get a wink as I was ambushed with an attack of acid reflux so I stayed up looking on proudly at NBC’s coverage of the Olympics’ opening ceremony until the early hours of the morning.

By 6am the next day, we had checked out and were ready to grab breakfast and head off. Fortunately, the second stint of our drive was much more scenic yet stressful. Dad had opted against popular opinion to pay a $10 entrance fee to access the 17-mile-drive through the neighbouring town of Carmel. The drive was beautiful albeit repetitive, I mean if you’ve seen one tree, you’ve seen them all. It wasn’t as spectacular as my Dad was trying to make out, that came later and it certainly didn’t merit the 42 minutes of film that is now lodged in my camera thanks to Debbie.

The Big Sur… The mountain-top café

The scenery gradually became more and more breath-taking as we approached the Big Sur, famed for it’s vast rolling hills and proximity to the pacific ocean. The contrast of the two was formidable and prompted a stop at an opportunistically placed café nestled in the mountainside showing a stunningly picturesque view of both aspects. Accompanied by a hot chocolate and the surprise appearance of a hummingbird, this stop was the most relaxing moment of what had been a very testing trip. To be honest, the subsequent drive down to La La Land was bloody terrifying. I’m well aware that I’m a bit of a wuss but I’m fairly certain most people would be terrified of driving on a windy clifftop road entrenched in fog with your Dad turning away from the wheel to gawp at every boulder we passed. We then came across a group of elephant seals bathing in the sun on a sandy beach, we liberally stretched our schedule to make time to observe these magnificent beasts.

We made one last stop before we reached our final destination,  an In & Out Burger restaurant in Santa Barbara, the city where Michael Jackson took former residence. The burger was delicious; fresh, crisp and meaty. It was made even the more better due to the golden rays of the sun coating the lush palm trees of the American riviera. We then continued on our journey, we hit Malibu and suddenly we could smell the Hollywood air. The land of the rich and famous was dawning. We had arrived in Tinseltown.

Wildlife… Hummingbirds and Elephant Seals

Californian Dream (Part 1: The Golden Gate City)

“DWAYNE?! DWAYNE?!” – A confused waiter hollering a seemingly absent customer

After nearly 12 years of build-up, my sister and I were finally given the American experience we had been promised by our Dad every year since we were toddlers. It’s probably fair to say that California is a dream location for many when picking a summer holiday and that is true of my family. All four of us; myself, my sister Holly, my Dad and his girlfriend Debbie were anxious and excited to experience the famed Golden coast and it was certainly an interesting experience…

On the night of the 24th July, the day before our flight I accumulated a total of 0 hours sleep. I have an irrational fear of flying and I was definitely not savouring the daunting prospect of an 11 hour trip across the Atlantic ocean.  The customary airport formalities went off without a hitch and before I knew it, I was strapped against my will in a steel cage of death precariously hovering over a pool of hungry sharks. Fortunately, my initial terror subsided and was quickly replaced by uncontrollable boredom. There’s only so many crossword puzzles you can do before you start to evaluate the worth of your existence. However, I shouldn’t moan, I caught up on a bit of lost sleep and even enjoyed a couple of films on the journey.

We arrived in San Francisco, full of excitement. Dad had warned us that San Fran would be significantly cooler than our later stops in LA and San Diego but following the tumultuous rain we’d had back in England, a temperature of 22°c was nothing to complain about. We swiftly checked in at the Hilton and went off to absorb the delights of  the city’s Fisherman’s Wharf area, which can only be described as Skegness Deluxe. That may make it sound like a shithole, but the whole area had a charm about it that made it my favourite part of America’s fog city.

Otis…Sitting on the dock of the bay, wasting time.

The next morning, we awoke at 6am. Our bodies had seemingly failed to adjust to the eight hour time difference with old Blighty and by 8am we were out on the town. You’d think having been up so early we’d have been able to grab a swift breakfast and dive right in to the many sights and sounds San Fran had to offer. But no. In fact, we hadn’t decided on a café to grab breakfast in until 10am. Although our indecisiveness was initially frustrating, our choice to eat at Boudin was perhaps one of the best of our entire holiday. My Dad went up to order our breakfasts. An order of three traditional breakfasts and one granola and yoghurt. However, being the socially awkward person he is my Dad actually asked for three traditional breakfasts to be smothered in granola and yoghurt. The cashier, rightly confused sought the help of her manager and any misunderstanding was quickly rectified. My father then gave his name, Whiting which he politely spelled out for her so she could call our name when our order was ready for collection. I stood with my Dad to collect the food and Debbie and Holly went to wait for our coffees. About 10 minutes passed and our names still hadn’t been called. Others who had ordered after us had come and gone with their food whilst we were still waiting. At both counters a man named ‘Dwayne’ was being summoned loudly by the staff to collect his food and coffees. After about 5 minutes, it dawned on my Dad that ‘Dwayne’ was not coming and his order was in fact ours. The cashier had mistaken the name ‘Whiting’ as ‘Twaing’. As you can imagine, we were in genuine hysterics as we sat outside and loudly scoffed on our granola-free bacon and eggs.

With our bellies full of fried goods, we set off to view the heart and soul of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, which stood ominously in the fog-drenched distance. We set off on the obligatory six mile walk, stopping for snacks at a local supermarket on the way. The Golden Gate Bridge was magnificent. It was majestic and bustling with tourists. Perhaps, it didn’t live up to its hype but essentially it is just two red poles sticking out of the sea. We then caught a bus in the hope of viewing Golden Gate Park which was surprisingly a trek and a half from the city’s infamous bridge. Buses in America are weird. They’re crowded, dirty and full of questionable individuals. A bit like a mobile shanty town. Anyway, we were absolutely shot after such a long day on our feet and we ended up ambling for twenty minutes before succumbing to a sit down and a mouth-watering hot dog.

San Fran-tastic… The Golden Gate Bridge

In fact, food would become a focal point for the rest of our stay in Frisco. The weather was often overcast and cool and with a dauntingly tall city centre and no chance of visiting Alcatraz to look forward to, the morning croissants from Starbucks were quickly becoming a highlight. In fact, San Francisco boasted several brilliant eateries; The Fog City Diner, a classic American diner that did the classic British dish of fish & chips more than justice. Boudin, also got a second visit from us, this time so we could try Fisherman’s Wharf’s infamous clam chowder which was very tasty. A whole host of lovely restaurants are also homed on the vibrant Pier 39, which again had a classic seaside feel to it.

Fox City… Leicester scarf in San Francisco

Our last full day in San Fran arrived and we were anxious to explore the inner city areas; Market Street, China Town and all that jazz. We hopped on a cable car, and when I say hop, I mean stand wedged in a queue for an hour between a chirpy puppy and an obese racist in the Northern Californian drizzle. My Dad decided it would be an excellent idea to stand holding on to the side of the cars as we whizzed through the streets of Frisco. Initially, I wanted to just sit like a normal person but that would have robbed me the pleasure of spotting San Fran’s very own ‘Filbert Street’, which obviously brought a smile to my face. We arrived in the centre of the city and following some initial awe at the sheer size of it’s skyline, the rest of the day was a bit shit and involved a lot of walking back to the hotel. That night, we returned to Fisherman’s Wharf, and I fell further in love with the place due to the fact I saw a Leicester City scarf proudly draping from the ceiling of one of the shops. You can take the boy out of Leicester… the next day, we were on the move. It wouldn’t be as easy as going by foot or air. This time,  we were going by road…