Leicester City

The Official LCFC Loyal Supporter Charter

NOTE: If you don’t understand that this is satirical then God help you.

There are way too many disloyal Leicester City fans out there, it’s time there was an official charter to sift out the true, die-hard supporters from the prawn sandwich brigade tossers.

AND IT’S LEICESTER CITY!

Firstly, if you live anywhere past Aylestone or Beaumont Leys then why are you even reading this? Go and support Anstey Nomads or Blaby & Whetstone and leave the real local supporters to it.

1. You must attend all away games, and you must travel to them on Coach One, anyone who rides on Coaches two or higher or even makes their own way via car is a disloyal twat, trains are okay for some reason – they just are. Optional: Mock a woman dubbed ‘Hagrid’ mercilessly on social media because, well you know, she’s not conventional looking and definitely deserves it.

2. Make sure your phone has Instagram, you will need it to upload as many action shots of every game as humanly possible. It is advisable to upload stadium panoramas and away day tickets to prove what a hardened sport traveller you are. If we don’t see these pictures how will we know you’re a true fan when the purging starts?

3. You most show yourself to be a friend of the players, just how Directioners think they have in-jokes with the group and affectionately call them ‘the boys’, but this is different because it’s football. We as fans must suck up to our team’s WAGs, this is crucial, you should reply to all of their tweets as if you are a long-term friend of theirs. It’s definitely a good idea to tweet youth players too. Get in there before they become the stars of the future so you can laud it over fellow fans because you saw their talent first. Man like Panayiotou etc. etc.

4. Bi-annually, you will be expected to report breaking news and insider transfer knowledge to your legion of Twitter followers. So, pretend to be an ITK, it doesn’t matter if you just know the Belvoir Drive’s lawn mower or even if you just work in Maryland Chicken, make it work. After all, people only judge you on the guesses you get right, and you may be able to force yourself in to becoming a local celebrity if you kiss the arse of Ian Stringer enough.

Now, we’ve pretty much covered how you should act as a supreme fan of Leicester City, let’s discuss how a true fan looks;

5. It’s crucial to set your display picture on every social networking site you’re on to either the badge, a player or the stadium, preferably Filbert Street because we all know it was better there. Who are these traitors who think their faces are more important than the holy fox’s head? That’s sacrilegious in my book.

6. Every away day should be spent the same, lace up your Gazelles, throw on your Stone Island jacket and remember, always hop aboard Coach 1… or a train, and blast out the most angsty monotonous Oasis track in your music library. If your taste is different then being a loyal football fan simply isn’t for you. Thankfully, as followers of Leicester, we can choose from either Oasis or Kasabian, but remember if you weren’t at that Kasabian concert last summer then your support of the football club is simply invalid.

Finally, what defines us most as die-hard Leicester City supporters is how we speak to those lesser people who think they’re fans but we all know are not.

7. No matter what the situation, whether we’re performing catastrophically, or the manager has tossed away the FA Cup like an out-of-date bag of Walkers crisps (the only crisps you can eat by the way), we have to support the team! Now, there are many ways to do that but we believe that the best way is by completely suffocating any criticism whether it be fair or otherwise. Most people think that negativity is okay as long as it isn’t voiced in the stadium but they are wrong, you must NEVER speak negatively or even think negatively, if you do you are a plastic, knee-jerk traitor – and your conscience will never be clear!

8. But we cannot stop there! It is simply not enough to be positive all the time, suffocate other opinions, exert delusions of grandeur and basically be a vacuous passive puppet, it is our duty as fans to name and shame those that dare besmirch the team in any form. The best way to go about this is to call them negative, knee-jerk, wankers, morons or disloyal twats before suggesting they move their support to Coventry or Notts Forest.

I hope that clears everything up for all you plastic arseholes out there. As for you diehards, sing it with me; WE ARE STAYING UP! SAY, WE ARE STAYING UP! And, if you don’t think so, you’re a treacherous balloon-head.

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Fellow Foxes, Are you Mad?!

Leicester City surprised everyone on Saturday by coming from behind to dump Spurs out of the FA Cup at White Hart Lane. As a result, the Foxes find themselves in the last sixteen of the competition whilst, languishing at the bottom of the Premier League. Now, many are opening the debate as to whether City would rather finish 17th in the Premier League or win the FA Cup.

As a fanbase, we know the club have spent years and years pining for a return to England’s top-flight. And, having experienced just over half a season back in the Premier League, I can see the perks of being here. It’s a badge of nobility to be in the top-flight, to be acknowledged, to be famous. Winning just feels that little bit better with that proud, navy lion slapped on the side of your arm. It also feels better having the £90 million windfall that comes with being in the illustrious top division. However, finishing 17th in the league ladder isn’t a trophy; it won’t go down in footballing history. It will just be another placing at the end of another league season.

In contrast, this club loves the FA Cup – it seems illogical but it’s true. I can’t think of a club in English football that loves this competition as much despite being treated so cruelly by it in the past. In recent seasons, we’ve seen 8000 of the blue army at Nottingham Forest, 6000 at Chelsea, 4000 at Stoke, even 4000 troughed up to Huddersfield on a cold January afternoon, engrossed by the meagre whiff of cup glory. There is nothing like winning a major trophy, and being the biggest bridesmaids in football, you would think our fans would know that – is there a bigger club to have never won this competition than us? In four finals, we’ve suffered four defeats, a soul-crushing record.

So, my question to those who would prefer to finish 17th over winning the FA Cup this season is; are you mad?! We have spent half of our history in the top flight but we’ve never won this tournament, the greatest domestic cup competition in the entire world. Sure, away games next season at The Valley and Ewood Park would be a big come down from this season’s league outings but winning the cup could mean an overdue shot at revenge against Atletico – well, that particular scenario is a long shot but we will be back in Europe nonetheless.

Now the competition has been blown wide open with the eliminations of Chelsea, Manchester City and of course, Tottenham Hotspur, we would be senseless not to go all out to win it. Of course, the prevailing point is; we don’t actually have to choose, we could achieve both objectives and that’s exactly what we should try to do. Neither are a distraction, neither are hindrances to the other. Wigan Athletic and Portsmouth aren’t where they are now because they won the FA Cup that’s for certain.

But if I had to choose I would say; let’s stop being a nearly club and win the FA cup, we’ve come as close as you can to the country’s two biggest honours – and now’s the time to be opportunistic. Memories of avoiding relegation will eventually dwindle in to obscurity, especially given how many relegation skirmishes we have endured as a club, but silverware on the other hand lasts eternally. So, if you really still think 17th is of greater prestige then I’m thoroughly mystified. Come on Leicester; we’re staying up and we’ll win the cup!

January Sales: Leicester’s Rumoured Targets

I have spent much of the last three months grimacing, cringing and evading any conversation about my pre-season appraisal of Leicester City. Having, in retrospect, naively assumed that stats alone would be enough to see the Foxes in to the 2015–16 Premier League season, it seems I forgot to account for what is now clear, our distinct lack of quality. With the Foxes languishing unthinkably at the bottom of the table, and some FIVE points behind Burnley in 17th, the January transfer window will be simply crucial.

Defence 

SD Eibar’s Raul Albentosa

City’s kamikaze defending since September has largely been the reason for dropped points. Individual catastrophes made from both full backs and centre backs have led to the Foxes conceding soft goals and leaving matches with less than they ‘deserved’. Fans have called out for strengthening in both areas of defence. Tottenham Hotspur’s Kyle Naughton is said to be out of favour, and has thus been linked with a return to the City. However, with two right backs in Ritchie De Laet and Danny Simpson tied up for the long-term, signing another player in this position is unlikely to be a priority. Fellow former loanee Curtis Davies is too being banded about as a potential signing, but given his position as Hull City’s captain is extremely unlikely to replicate Nigel Pearson’s team switching. Elsewhere, lesser known centre backs in Bournemouth’s Steve Cook and SD Eibar’s Raul Albentosa are apparently on City’s wishlist. The Cherries are flying high at the top of the Championship, so tempting him away from the South Coast may be tricky. Albentosa currently plies his trade with La Liga minnows, Eibar and has impressed in their bid to avoid the seemingly unavoidable drop. Both defenders have different strengths, Cook’s attributes are mostly suited to intercepting on the ground and playing out from defence, a weakness of Albentosa’s game, who may be better suited to winning aerial defensive battles, and helping City cope better with set pieces. It’s vital that Leicester bolster at the back, a mobile centre-half such as Curtis Davies would be ideal but we have to acknowledge how unlikely that is to happen. Steve Cook may be a decent replacement in that respect. Reports linking us to Naugthon and Eboue seem lazy and contrived, City are more in need of a left-back given Schlupp’s impending departure to the AFCON and Konchesky’s underperformance. Danny Simpson has coped defensively in place of Ritchie de Laet. 

WhoScored.Com ranks the players’ performances so far this season;
Curtis Davies (7.36), Steve Cook (7.23), Raul Albentosa (7.17), Kyle Naughton (6.57)

Midfield

Besiktas’ Veli Kavlak

Now, midfield is currently where you will find the most of Leicester City’s limited supply of Premier League quality. In central midfield, Argentinian legend Esteban Cambiasso seems to be a step ahead of the rest of the side on many ocassions and could benefit from others with greater vision. Last season’s player of the season Danny Drinkwater is struggling to attain a place in the Starting XI, jostling it out with James, King and Powell for a spot. Riyad Mahrez continues to excite on the wings, as Anthony Knockaert could if he were afforded the chance. Despite protestations from the terraces that the Foxes boast ‘the best midfield in the world’, City have come under criticism for failing to control games from the middle of the park. Tough tackling Austrian midfielder Veli Kavlak has received attention from the Foxes but will have to fight off supposed interest from Everton and Southampton. Current starting wide men, Riyad Mahrez and Jeff Schlupp are set to be called off to the African Cup of Nations in January so City will need to bolster the flanks. A whole host of names have been floated, Manchester City’s Scott Sinclair is rumoured but could demand a wage packet out of the reach of the Foxes. Too, a loan deal for Arsenal’s World Cup star Joel Campbell has also been reported. It’s vital that City get a bit more bite in midfield, Kavlak could be the answer and a real coup given the interest he’s attracting, down the wing, one replacement should be enough with Albrighton and Knockaert fully able to step in to Mahrez’ and Schlupp’s boots in their absence. Sinclair has become a bit of a question mark but may be worth a punt given Arsenal’s likely reluctance to let Campbell go anyway on a permanent basis.

WhoScored.Com ranks the players’ performances so far this season;
Veli Kavlak (6.94), Joel Campbell (6.46), Scott Sinclair (n/a)

 Attack

Milan’s Fernando Torres

Despite the goal scoring exploits of newboy Leonardo Ulloa, the Foxes’ strikers have been largely unimpressive with the three other strikers, Chris Wood, David Nugent and Jamie Vardy scoring just once each. Unsurprisingly, strikers are the many focal point for City’s transfer speculation. There’s nothing to say here in great deal, except that City need a proven goal scorer. Having failed to capture either of Sporting’s Islam Slimani and Watford’s Troy Deeney. However, The Foxes may not have the luxury of attracting a tried and tested formula, despite tenous links with Everton’s Arouna Koné, Chelsea’s Fernando Torres and Toronto’s Jermain Defoe, who seems likely to head to Loftus Road, Leicester may need to take a punt on a wonderkid. Links have been made with Alexsandar Mitrovic of Anderlecht, whose goal scoring exploits this term would command a high fee. Luciano Vietto is said to be on Newcastle’s radar, putting City in the weaker bargaining position. Leicester are too reported to have had a £7.9m bid rejected for Andrej Kramaric, who is too high on league leaders Chelsea’s list. If the Foxes were to buy domestically then raids of Ipswich Town and Crystal Palace have been suggested with a resurgence of links to the Tractor Boys’s striker David McGoldrick, who has netted six goals in the second tier this season. Elsewhere, the Eagles’ back-up striker Dwight Gayle has recently been touted and may find more favour at the King Power Stadium than at Selhurst Park. In my view, strikers like McGoldrick and Gayle, who have failed to stand out in even the second tier of English football, are the strikers we should be avoiding. Admittedly, it will be a lot harder to attract a Jermain Defoe, that still has a lot to offer to a struggling top-flight side, or a wonder-kid like Vietto or Mitrovic but these are the players City should prefer, on the premise they are confident of being able to do a deal.

WhoScored.Com ranks the players’ performances so far this season;
Andrej Kramaric (7.44), Troy Deeney (7.24), David McGoldrick (7.11), Luciano Vietto (7.05), Islam Slimani (6.93), Jermain Defoe (6.92), Aleksandar Mitrovic (6.91), Arouna Kone (6.58), Fernando Torres (6.54), Dwight Gayle (6.26)

What the Bookies think

Here are the bookies odds on some players joining Leicester City in the next Transfer window;
Aaron Lennon – 20/1 (BetVictor)
Danny Ings – 33/1 (BetVictor)
Fabian Delph – 20/1 (BetVictor)
Gary Hooper – 33/1 (BetVictor)
Glen Johnson – 20/1 (Betfair)
Jermain Defoe – Evens (Sky Bet & Bet Victor), 11/8 (Betfair)
Joel Campbell – 16/1 (BetVictor)
Kris Commons – 4/1 (BetVictor)
Moussa Dembele – 20/1 (BetVictor)
Ravel Morrison – 13/2 (Paddy Power)
Scott Sinclair – 12/1 (Sky Bet)
Tyrone Mings – 20/1 (Sky Bet)

Head Strong: Why Mentality is The Key to Leicester City’s season

On the brink of football’s busiest time of the season, Leicester City stand on the cusp of the top two with an impressive 38 points from 19 games played, promotion form, as the pundits like to call it. However, The Foxes fans’ morale has sunken following two defeats last week to lowly Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton & Hove Albion. Ahead, of a huge week for Leicester City in which they face both of the top two as well as Premier League giants, Manchester City, this new form and indeed attitude seems like a less than desirable way to tackle it.

Crucial... The high-flying Foxes face Burnely, Man City and QPR next week.

Crucial… The high-flying Foxes face Burnely, Man City and QPR next week.

From an outside perspective, a fan seeming discontented in third place following two defeats, which haven’t proven very costly would seem absolutely laughable. And I’d tend to agree with those who take that view. The Foxes despite deserving to lose at both Hillsborough and the AMEX Stadium have put in plenty of positives prior to last week to get them in to the lofty position that they’re in. Many fans are worried that this is the start of yet another downturn in form, like the one that scuppered any chance of automatic promotion last season.  Many believe that City’s young squad lacked the mental strength to overcome adversity last season but Nigel Pearson’s squad seem suited for recovery following last season’s cruel ending at Vicarage Road.

Emulation… Leicester’s record mirrors champions, Cardiff’s.

There’s no surprise that City fans fear the worst, after last week given 2013’s downward spiral and the club’s reputation of ‘bottling’ good positions and being a ‘nearly club’. But one thing Leicester fans mustn’t forget to apply when assessing the club’s position is perspective. Leicester remain just one point of the top spot, four ahead of fourth place Derby and seven points clear of the play-off’s chasing pack. The Foxes are 5 points better off than at this stage last season and 9 better off than the 2011–12 campaign. As a matter of fact, last season’s champions, Cardiff City held the exact same record of 12–2–5 at this stage last season as the Foxes do now. As well as this, the mental strength of the squad seems to have improved with the Foxes already managing to salvage 10 points from losing positions this season. The side even managed a 3-0 thumping of Watford, at the very ground where their promotion hopes were callously dashed in May.

Support… Lessened expectation could be City’s catalyst.

In my opinion, the fans have been excellent this season, managing to support the club through numbers and noise on the road and at home. But now we’ve hit a rough patch, expectation is once again rearing it’s ugly head. We failed in 2011–12 when we all expected City to get promoted and we failed last season too. Now, Leicester are expected to go on a calamitous downturn in form that will ultimately end our season. It’s probably safe to assume that half a fanbase expecting and translating negativity will only suit to confound our recent blip, if you can even call it that. Instead of expecting us to thrash all of our opponents or slump in to mid-table obscurity, let’s support the team through adversity. We all know well enough how crazy this league and indeed supporting Leicester City is and I think we can all see that our club doesn’t thrive under pressure – let’s do our bit and hope the players and manager respond. Keep the faith and all that.

P.S. Enjoy this fanmade tribute to Anthony Knockaert and that penalty save –

Leicester City’s Greatest Goals : The Top 10

Without further ado, here are the top 10 Leicester City goals, as voted for by the Foxes faithful.

10. Andy Peake (vs. Liverpool, 1980)

Thousands crammed in to Filbert Street to see a young Leicester City side take on league champions two years running in Liverpool. Foxes manager, Jock Wallace had boasted of City’s credentials before the match and after two defeats to start the season, The Foxes ran out 2-0 winners over a side that would go on to be crowned European Champions at the end of the campaign. And, it was 18-year-old Andy Peake who set the ball rolling by blasting home from 30 yards. Interestingly enough, City went on to complete a league double over the Kopites, ending Liverpool’s 85 game unbeaten run at Anfield.

9. Keith Weller (vs. Luton Town, 1974)

Leicester City took to Kenilworth Road in 1974 to inflict a ruthless 4-0 demolition of the Hatters in the FA Cup. Leicester cruised to  a three-goal lead in front of 25,000 in Bedfordshire before the infamous tight-clad, Weller coasted past four players took the ball upon his left foot and drilled it in to the top left corner from 18 yards. City went on to the semi-finals of the competition, eventually losing out to winners, Liverpool.

8. Steve Walsh (vs. Arsenal, 1997)

I imagine this is as high as it is in the rankings due to the nature of the goal, rather than the quality of it. Leicester had maintained an impressive unbeaten record at Filbert Street and welcomed a titanous Arsenal side who took the game to city for 85 minutes by which point Dennis Bergkamp had gifted the Gunners a 2-0 lead. Heskey bumbled the ball over the line in the 84th minute to give the Foxes hope of a comeback, which was completed in the third of three allocated minutes of added time when Matt Elliott blasted home from the edge of the box. Filbert Street was rocking with delirium at the impressive comeback only for Dennis Bergkamp to break forward again and score a simply sublime goal to once again put the Gunners ahead in the 94th minute. Clearly aggrieved by the second late twist, the Foxes immediately pushed forward and forced a corner. Garry Parker delivered the ball in to the area and after a forray of headers, captain fantastic Steve Walsh nodded the ball hopelessly past David Seaman, sparking some of the wildest celebrations Filbert Street had ever seen.

7. Steve Howard (vs. Leeds United, 2009)

Again, in terms of quality there are many more goals that could have and should have been ranked ahead of this one. But for the momentous occasion and goal it was, it is worthy of its place. Leicester City had been partaking in their first ever season in the third tier of English football, and had been doing exceptionally well. The Foxes led the table since November and with four games to go, were in poll position for an immediate return to the second tier. Backed by a crowd of 27,000 in front of Sky’s cameras, Steve Howard wrote the history in a rugged, even affair between the two clubs heading home from a corner in the very last minute, sending Leicester City back to the Championship and on their way to their first domestic league title since 1980.

6. Joey Gudjonsson (vs. Hull City, 2006)

Not many would have envisaged a player from the 2005-08 era scoring one of the Foxes greatest goals but it would be hard to ignore Joey Gudjonsson’s claim to the title. In a mid-table Championship clash between the Foxes and the Tigers, the latter managed by City villiain, Peter Taylor, Leicester ran out 3-2 winners at the then Walkers Stadium. Leicester had taken the lead in the first half through Iain Hume, only for Hull to equalise 5 minutes later, leaving the score level at the break. The Foxes pressured in the second half and were rewarded when the Icelandic Gudjonsson spotted Boaz Myhill off his line and launched a shot from the half-way line that expertly flew in to the back of the net. Hull had the cheek to level the tie ten minutes later only for Gudjonsson to win the tie with another strike; this one a tap-in from 25 yards.

5. Muzzy Izzet (vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 1998)

Fear was rife at Filbert Street with the national media reporting that club legend, Martin O’Neill was being swayed to take a job at Leeds United, whom the Foxes had beaten two weeks earlier. Local paper, the Leicester Mercury had organised the ‘Don’t Go Martin’ campaign, by making signs for fans to hold up for the Premier League game between City and Spurs. The fans took part wholeheartedly and City went on to win the game, coming from behind to win 2-1, courtesy of an 85th minute wonder-volley from Turkish international, Muzzy Izzet. Martin O’Neill decided to stay and the rest is history.

4. Anthony Knockaert (vs. Nottingham Forest, 2013)

May 4th 2013 was the stuff of dreams for the Foxes faithful. A run of mixed form had seen the Blues surrender a top six place, leaving them to battle Bolton in 6th and hosts Forest in 7th for the last spot on the final day of the season. Bolton were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Blackpool, in a shock result, meaning the winner of the East Midlands derby at the City Ground would reach the top 6. Simon Cox fired the Reds ahead inside three minutes before Leicester hit back with goals from Matty James and Andy King. The Foxes were poised for the top 6 at the break but Forest levelled the tie on 50 minutes through Elliott Ward. It was a tense affair from then on with both sides knowing one goal would be enough. In the 92nd minute the ball landed at the feet of Jeff Schlupp who picked out a pass to Anthony Knockaert, a one-two with Chris Wood ended with the Frenchman side-footing home ten yards in front of the cut allocation of away fans. The City faithful in the ground and around the country went ballistic as The Foxes recorded their first league win at the City Ground since 1972 to slide in to the top six. It was made even sweeter by the fact it was at the expense of bitter rivals Nottingham Forest.

3. Lilian Nalis (vs. Leeds United, 2003)

Leicester picked up their first league win of the 2003-04 season at home to Leeds United in September 2003 and in fine fashion indeed. Some ten years ago, Leeds were considered a genuine force in English football and for Leicester to thrash them 4-0 at home was quite a result. Sky cameras caught the demolition on camera, in a night that would be game remembered for hilarious Fanzone commentary, a marker for what City hoped to achieve in the top-flight that season and more importantly that goal from Lilian Nalis.

2. Steve Claridge (vs. Crystal Palace, 1996)

Journeyman Steve Claridge comes in as runner-up with this shinned effort at Wembley in 1996. Leicester City had embarked on a remarkable up-turn in form under Martin O’Neill to navigate in to the play-offs and through them to reach the final. But things weren’t going well for the Foxes on the day, falling behind to a 14th minute goal from Crystal Palace’s Andy Roberts. Leicester rallied in the second half and forced a penalty that granted them an equaliser in the 76th minute. The Foxes and the Eagles couldn’t be separated for the next fourteen minutes of normal time and indeed the thirty minutes of extra time. With seconds to go, Martin O’Neill substituted goalkeeper, Kevin Poole for Željko Kalac, who was considered to stand a better chance of saving penalties in the impending shoot-out. Following the switch, a Leicester free-kick was only partially cleared, leaving Steve Claridge to swing his leg and see the ball fly off his shin in to the net in front of a stunned and then suddenly rapturous, Leicester crowd. Having experienced plenty of play-off heartbreak in the 1990s, Leicester City got a phenomenal reward that started them on the path of a wondrous Premier League adventure.

1. Muzzy Izzet (vs. Grimsby Town, 2002)

It wasn’t even close. Leicester City legend, Muzzy Izzet has won all the plaudits for his wonder strike at Blundell Park all those years ago and rightly so! The Foxes were in the midst of a mammoth push for a return to the top-flight when they met the Mariners on Humberside. James Scowcroft gave the Foxes the lead, only for Grimsby to level in the 54th minute. Leicester, who were down to ten men then broke down the wing, with Andy Impey charging past a full-back and expertly crafting a precise cross in to the area for Muzzy Izzet to fly backwards in to the air and scissor kick the ball past the Grimsby keeper, in front of the travelling supporters. Who would have thought that City’s best goal would come in such an unglamorous, non-spectacle of a game like a Tuesday night Division One game at Blundell Park but it did and it was a peach and then some. Leicester fans will tell you that Izzet’s miracle strike was better than the similar effort scored by Wayne Rooney against Manchester City… and they’re probably right.

Clubs That *Should* Be In The Premier League

Okay, to clear things up, I’m by no means suggesting that the following seven clubs get automatic admission to the top-flight. In fact, the teams that are in the Premier League, deserve to be there… obviously. So to the likes of Hull City, Swansea City, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace and beyond, congratulations you merit your position. This is just, if I had to start the Premier League from scratch, who I would choose to be the additional founding members.

Leeds United

Current league: Sky Bet Championship
Years in exile: 9

Marching on together… Leeds United are a sleeping giant.

The lilywhites of West Yorkshire are simply one of the most famous clubs in the country. They’ve experienced great success in the past and have a fanbase to much, despite their now dwindling numbers at home. Leeds would bring a great deal of atmosphere to the Premier League with their passionate away support and would ignite the ‘Roses derby’ with Manchester United that the neutral has been robbed of for so many years.

Ipswich Town

Current league: Sky Bet Championship
Years in exile: 11

Unchanged… Portman Road has experienced more than a decade of stability.

The former UEFA Cup champions from Suffolk are certainly unsung when this debate ever arouses. Despite spending the last 11 years rooted in the second tier, Town are still, in my humble opinion, a bigger club than their East Anglian rivals, Norwich City. The Tractor boys may not have the fanbase to match other clubs in this list but they are certainly worthy of gracing the top flight, having finished fifth as recently as the 2000-01 season.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Current league: Sky Bet League One
Years in exile: 2

Underachieving… Wolves will spend the 2013-14 season in the third tier.

Woeful Wolves have only spent two seasons outside of the top-flight but now find themselves two promotions from returning. The West Midlands club have been in free fall since 2011 and should never have hit the low they’re at now. Wolves remain a club with a sizeable fanbase and a glittering history, certainly worthy of returning to the Premier League sooner rather than later.

Sheffield Wednesday

Current league: Sky Bet Championship
Years in exile: 13

Invasion… Fans celebrate 2012’s promotion to the Championship

If we’re talking underachievers, you can’t look much further than Sheffield Wednesday. Historically, the club can boast eight major trophies and a huge fanbase in a city that shares two fairly big clubs. The Owls ought to reach the Premier League just to spare their long-suffering fans who have seen the third tier nearly as much as the second in the last decade.

Leicester City

Current league: Sky Bet Championship
Years in exile: 9

Geared… City’s impressive ‘new’ home has only seen one season of top-flight football.

I may be biased here but the Foxes are more than worthy of a place in the big time. Despite being steeped in a history of nearlies, Leicester City have always been slugging it out in the top two tiers, in fact, they have spent less time outside the top two divisions than any other club on this list. City have been knocking on the Premier League door since 2009 and have had several excruciating close calls, the fans of one of the Championship’s four biggest fanbase deserve a return to the lucrative 90s.

Nottingham Forest

Current league: Sky Bet Championship
Years in exile: 15

‘World famous’… The City Ground has been more attuned to League One football than the Premier League in recent years.

A painful inclusion to say the least, but one I’d struggle to argue against. The once well-known Reds are former European champions, not that they like anyone to know and have a fair history even without the legendary Brian Clough’s contribution. Forest also boast one of the best fanbases outside the top-flight with Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds and local ‘non-rivals’, Leicester City.

Derby County

Current league: Sky Bet Championship
Years in exile: 5

Blind loyalty… Derby fans sold out nearly every home game of the record-breaking 2008-09 season.

It would be nice to see all of the East Midlands big three back in the top-flight meaning the Rams needed a place on the list. A club that boasts a good history and a recent calamitous foray in the Premier League that I’m sure they would like to rectify. Recognition has to be given to Rams’ fans for their loyalty at home during the dire 2008-09 season and beyond, even if their fans do share a travel sickness.

My Story as a Football Fan

I didn’t always like football. Actually, when I was little I didn’t see the point. As a seven-year-old boy, I didn’t understand why kicking a sphere of air in to a net brought such joy to people – I was really all about Star Wars. One day circa 2002, my sister was playing football outside with my Dad while me and my two cousins re-enacted Yoda and Count Dooku’s lightsaber duel with my Lego… I know. They soon got bored and went outside to join them, apparently people don’t appreciate being told that they’re not recreating an intricate fight scene with toys correctly. I didn’t want to be a loner so I went outside and played too and I loved it. I never expected to but I really did. From that point on, I was a football fan. I didn’t know anything about the English game, except that my family’s club, Leicester City were on the brink of relegation from the Premiership; a concept I simply didn’t understand.

Glorious… Filbert Street’s infamous double decker stand.

Something, I’ve never tweeted nor mentioned in any blog is that initially, I was Manchester United fan. Truthfully, they were the only team other than Leicester that I knew and I think I thought Leicester ceased to exist whilst they weren’t in the Premier League.  My ‘support’ of Man U didn’t last long. I soon decided to support my local club (still Leicester) and it came about in a very special way. The 2001–02 season marked Leicester’s last in the Premiership and their last at their historic home, Filbert Street.  On the day prior to its demolition, the ground was open to fans to have a kick about. Me and my family went down and had a game and I ended up scoring the winning goal against my Uncle Paul. To our knowledge, the ground closed when we left, meaning we were the last people to play a game of football on that historic pitch. I was the last person to score a ‘goal’ at Filbert Street, as the family legend goes. Not a bad way to start off your following of a club, eh?

From then on, my support for the Foxes ebbed and flowed, I went to my first game in 2002/03 after I won a pair of tickets from a football course at my primary school. We drew 1–1 at home to Sheffield Wednesday. The next season, following our promotion back to the top-flight my Dad caught the City bug again and bought us season tickets. Sometimes, me and my sister and my cousins who also went loved it and sometimes we didn’t. We used to take a small ball and play downstairs on the concourse. I still remember every result from that season and most from every one that has followed. We’ve renewed our season tickets every season since but I truly fell in love with Leicester again in 2008, after years of mediocrity, our club had been relegated to its lowest ever position – the third tier of English football. From then on, I’ve been hooked, resonating City’s triumphs with my own and their defeats likewise. I’ve always been proud of my hometown. In fact, I was always infamous at school for being from Leicester, because I never stopped banging on about it.

As you can tell if you follow me on Twitter, I’m very much infatuated with Leicester City Football Club. Which is weird when you really think about it, especially when you know how skeptical and cynical I am about these sorts of things. Being a Leicester fan and a football fan unites my family and my community. Some of my best memories are from football. We all want to feel apart of something bigger than ourselves and football offers us that. That’s why we refer to our favourite team as ‘we’ when we have nothing to do with the actual playing of the game. To be honest, I don’t know why I’m writing this. I was inspired by Kyle Andrews’ post on Charlton Athletic and MK Dons which I’ll link at the bottom of this post. He talked about feeling a sense of belonging around his club and although, we admire the fans of Germany, Spain, South America etc., following a club is a unique experience in this country. Where else do you see 7,000 fans in the fifth tier of the domestic league turning up every game like they do at Kenilworth Road for Luton Town and better yet, where else do 1,500 fans pile in on a cold Tuesday night to back Darlington 1883 in the 8th tier? This dedication, to me explains why English football fans nearly always put club before country. Football is our game, it’s part of our culture and we don’t like to share it. We’re more bothered about being the best on these shores than globally because our clubs have a real sense of belonging. It sounds corny, I’m sure I’ll read this back and cringe myself but it’s true as far as I can see. You often see people refute claims that football is ‘just a game’. But it is. Football is merely a game, nothing more, nothing less. The problem is, the people that chose what was allowed to encompass a ‘game’. Passion, drive, community, dictation of mood, anything you want can be part of this game. But really, football is just a game. It’s also just a very special one.

 

A Rallying Cry

Sorry Leicester City have won just once in ten games, coinciding with a superb run by bitter rivals, Nottingham Forest that has seen the Tricky Trees leapfrog the Foxes. City now lie in the play-offs on goal difference having been rooted in the automatic promotion places just eight weeks ago.

Troubled… Even Walkover FC beat Leicester City at the weekend.

We’re all feeling frustrated. We all want to win promotion. We all want Leicester City to succeed. It’s clear that in recent games, we’ve been playing terribly. ‘We bow down to physicality’, ‘we have no plan B’ or whatever your criticisms may be, we must remember that we still possess the same squad and backroom staff that had us flying in October and January. Try and find solace in the fact that we have the resources to turn this around.
In truth, as fans, there is little we can do. We can’t change the formation, we can’t change the personnel, all we can do is SUPPORT. The only thing we can do is get behind the team. I understand that this downturn in form is frustrating, annoying, distressing or whatever you want to call it but does a chorus of groans every time a play doesn’t end in a goal do anything to aid the team? Does a roar of boos really do anything to help a defeat? It’s the business end of the season and to fit the cliché; we have eight cup finals left this season. By all means, nit pick at the performance and the result to your heart’s content, after the final whistle. But during these eight games, turn up to all of those that you can, pick out your shirt and your scarf, sing your hearts out, whether you’re in L1, SK1, the Kop or the Family Stand. Even those in the West Stand need to put down their prawn sandwiches and drive the club to the play-offs. Be the twelfth man.

Twelfth man… City fans can have a huge influence on the rest of the season

I’m not saying we should accept this downturn of form and be ‘soft’. It’s not good enough. But we as supporters need to do all we can.

People moan about the lack of fight and passion and negativity in the team. We can’t do anything about that, but we can rectify all of those things occurring in the stands.

Mantra… Fans hold the key to restoring Leicester’s famous grit.

Keep the faith. Foxes never quit.

El Clasico, me duck

Fester vs. Shottingham, The Bin Dippers vs. The Trees, Leicester vs. Forest

It may not be the biggest rivalry in East Midlands football but a significant rivalry exists nonetheless. The cities of Leicester and Nottingham are the urban heavyweights of the East Midlands and with the eerie alignment of off-field circumstances, next Saturday’s East Midlands derby could prove to be a very interesting one.

Rivals… Leicester City face Nottingham Forest.

History… Leicester have spent many years in Nottingham’s shadow

Even the most die-hard Leicester fans would struggle to argue that Leicester–Forest was the fiercest rivalry in the East Midlands. It’s no secret that Forest hold a much more ferocious disliking of Derby County but that’s not to say that Leicester and Forest don’t have a rivalry of their own. In fact, when it comes to the city rivalry of the region, Derby barely feature. Nottingham is recognised as a major English settlement whereas Leicester is regarded to be an outstanding example of a 21st century city. It’s probably fair to say that the inhabitants of Leicester have long looked at their northern neighbours from Nottingham with some disdain, due to the frequent disregard of their own city. Although, Nottingham is famous for Robin Hood nowadays its surpassed by Leicester in almost every way;  Leicester’s population as of the 2011 census stood at 327,000 compared to Nottingham’s 305,000 inhabitants, Leicester has the stronger economy of the two cities and the life expectancy of Leicesterians is some five years higher at 77 than those living in Nottingham at 72, the city with the highest crime rate per capita in the country.

Deforestation… Leicester have beaten Forest 7 times at their new home

Of course, the rivalry has ultimately transcended in to football. The clubs have met competitively on 102 occasions with Leicester holding the slight upper hand with 39 wins compared to Forest’s 38. To the pain of the Foxes, Forest recorded Leicester City’s biggest ever defeat back in April 1909 when City crashed out 12–0 to the Tricky Trees, in fact the performances by the men in blue were so terrible, the FA launched an inquiry, unearthing that the Leicester players had been hungover from a wedding reception the night before. Both sides seem to have a mutual lack of fortune at the other’s home ground. Since Leicester moved to the King Power Stadium in 2002, Forest have suffered 7 defeats in 9 visits, only scoring one goal in the process back in 2005. Leicester’s travelling woes are even worse with Leicester’s last league victory at the City Ground coming in 1972, a game in which both Keith Weller and Alan Birchenall scored. Although, you only have to travel back to 2007 for Leicester’s last win at the City Ground, a controversial 3–2 league cup win, remembered for Forest’s ‘free goal’, a gesture to represent the scoreline when the game was abandoned the first time around due to Clive Clark’s heart attack.

Comeback… Schmeichel sees red as Forest come back from two goals down at the City Ground

In fact, Leicester and Forest’s meetings haven’t been short of controversy in recent years, particularly at the City Ground. Last season, saw Leicester surrender a two goal lead at the City Ground after a controversial penalty and at best a dubious red card for Kasper Schmeichel. However, the fans of Nottingham Forest would take some heavy criticism following claims of racist chanting during a 0–0 draw during the 3rd round of the FA Cup. But perhaps the most intriguing thing about games between Leicester and Nottingham Forest is the differences in the fans’ attitudes. While, it’s true that the vast majority of Leicester fans consider Forest to be their main rivals the same isn’t true for the fans of the Tricky Trees. Leicester come a distant second to Derby County, a rivalry they seem bizarrely protective over. Actually, the most peculiar aspect of Forest’s approach to the Foxes is their persistence that they ‘don’t care’ about Leicester whilst simultaneously revelling in the Foxes misfortunes. In reality, Leicester are still a main target for Forest’s terrace chants and the Reds’ fans of Loughborough, Melton Mowbray and yesteryear would tell you there is a significant rivalry between the two clubs. What has always puzzled me is Forest’s decision not to embrace a second fierce rivalry to accompany the Derby one. In fact, Forest fans can appear arrogant in their dismissal of City, as if they’re above them when in truth, both clubs are equal nowadays with the Foxes having greater success in recent years. Although as much as Forest downplay the fixture, Leicester fans seem to amplify it when in reality it doesn’t deserve to sit among the fiercest derbies in the country.

On Both Sides… former Forest favourite, Wes Morgan is now captain of Leicester City

On the pitch, the battle between the two East Midlands giants is set to be close. In a bizarre twist of fate, Leicester and Forest seem to have had remarkably similar fortunes in recent seasons. Both reached and were knocked out of the play-off semi-finals in 2009/10, Leicester went on to appoint former England boss, Sven-Goran Eriksson to the manager’s position and Forest followed suit by hiring Steve McClaren. Now, the two are backed by multi-millionaire foreign owners and both expect to be back in the Premier League sooner rather than later. Leicester have lived up to pre-season expectations so far, sitting in the top four, having only lost one game at home this season. Forest travel to the King Power Stadium in great form and are (with Blackburn and Crystal Palace) the toughest team to beat in the league having lost just three times this season and in true competitive spirit, both clubs’ fans are buoyant with confidence, both hoping that this is the year that these two great clubs finally make it back to the big time.

Blue Side of the Trent

King Power Confidence… Leicester boast an impressive home record.

“Our season started out a bit rocky to say the least, good performances that resulted in nothing and we fully deserve to be where we are now if not with a few more points. Recent form has shown we’re capable of being up there with the best in the league. The rivalry is very played up in my opinion. I think it’s a bigger rivalry than Derby but that’s because my uncle supports Forest, they always make a massive thing of the games before they happen as do most Forest fans I’ve ever unfortunately come into contact with. In my eyes the rivalry is the biggest we’ve got but is pretty tame as rivalries go although it’s always nice to beat them. Not being able to go to the game is a real downer for me but in every other way I’m looking forward to a game that should generate a bit of atmosphere everywhere in the ground which will be good not only for fans but for the players too. This could be a fierce game with Forest hovering just outside the play-offs and Leicester in the run with Cardiff for 1st place, with both teams on a good run both with 2 losses in the last 10, the only separation is that Forest have had considerably more draws than Leicester . I predict a good game, few goals a spectacular goal is called for a Gally free kick maybe?” – @YouKnowLily_

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“This could be the match to get the Foxes back on track. After going on a surging run of 7 unbeaten games, which included a 5-match winning streak, Leicester have come unstuck in recent matches vs Crystal Palace and Watford; losing both matches 2-1. You can already sense the anticipation in the Foxes ranks for this match as it is one of the matches that both sets of fans (no matter how much they’d like to hide it) look out for when the fixtures are released in summer. As our home record is fairly strong, coupled with their poor record at the King Power, I’m going in to this game with some confidence.
Not many Leicester fans could complain about how this season has gone so far. From the beginning, it looked like the inconsistencies of not being able to win 2 in a row would continue to haunt us. However, since the departure of a couple of key players, our squad got their act together and starting to win more than 1 game at a time! It set us up for a brief stint at the top of the league which had felt like an eternity to come. However, the past week hasn’t been so rosy which is why I believe beating Forest at home would get us back on the right track and get us back to the top again. It’s refreshing to see some creative players with flair and some entertainment back in the side – Anthony Knockaert especially. Wes Morgan though has been one of Pearson’s best signings. Solid as a rock at the back and would be fitting for him to score and lead the Foxes to a sweet victory over his old club.
Personally, I think Nottingham Forest have been our main rivals ahead of anyone else. I have seen them as a far superior threat than the likes of Derby and Coventry since I’ve supported Leicester. It does give me great pleasure each time we beat them, no doubt about that. And I’m sure it’s the same each time they beat us no matter how much they’d like to deny it. I was surprised to see them lose 4-1 at home to Millwall, but it just emphasises how unpredictable this league can be.
I’d love to give them a right thrashing on home turf. To be honest though, 3 points would be welcome in any particular fashion. I fancy Knockaert and King (should they play) to be on top form. I fully expect Wes Morgan to play the captain’s role once again. He’s been my player of the season so far. Very influential and commanding in central defence. I’ll go for 3-1; Nugent, King and Morgan for us; Billy Sharp for them. ” – @StanLCFC

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“A very positive start to the season at the Kingpower, dominant till The Eagles took flight and capitalised. Away games started very poorly but certainly improved on this. We’ve created enough chances to win every game just that killer hitman would make us (and with no bias) the perfect team. Pearson putting us top of the league with very influential performances home and away has left all of the LCFC faithful feeling very positive, a feeling of satisfaction. Forest under new management and new investment is a very big positive now at the City Ground, will get the fans backing back after an ever so woeful season last campaign for the trees. Billy Sharp and Simon Cox looking strong and Jermaine Jenas being a playmaker on his second bite of the cherry with them, a new and stronger looking team for NFFC in my eyes and very dangerous. The rivalry… My Mum is a city fan, I grew up with that and that is never going to change, my Dad on the other hand a forest fan… Gets very sour with Papa Wainwright. The rivalry means a lot to me due to the family bragging rights. Forest thrashing us by 5 goals to the good left me feeling red faced but our stunning home performances against the Red Army leaving him under the blues quite literally every time. My overall prediction is a win, at all costs. Regaining that mentality to be winning every game will be drilled into the player’s heads by Nige… A challenge, but we will be the one’s winning on the tele, again.” – @_samwainwright

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Red Side of the Trent

Rejuvenated Reds… Forest fans are hoping for a fox hunt.

“Forest vs Leicester is a game I always look forward too despite the fact that I don’t hate them as much as Derby. The games always seem to be memorable. Such as when we beat Leicester 5-1 or when Leicester beat us 4-0. The fact that Wes Morgan is now captain of Leicester makes next Saturday a little emotional for us Forest fans as we all still love that man and I for one will always love him.
The banter between Forest and Leicester fans is brilliant. Because all of us Forest fans go on like we don’t care about Leicester but in fact I think we all do, we just love to annoy the Leicester fans.
The way Leicester have started the season genuinely has surprised me, their squad doesn’t look as impressive as last season but they have got the results. On the other hand our start to the season has been impressive too which gets me so excited for the 10th November as I feel it will be a very close game just like the 0-0 last season. I am praying that next Saturday I will be celebrating our first victory at Leicester’s ground for a very long time rather than having to see all of the Leicester fan’s celebrating and more importantly seeing Wes Morgan celebrating.” – @zackgrundy26

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“Robbie Findley with an incredible chance to score in a cup replay against bitter rivals Leicester City, somehow from no more than a few yards out puts the ball over the bar instead, of tucking away what seemed a certain goal. This was a moment that perfectly defined the 11/12 season for Nottingham Forest, a goal down away from home, again. A meager 1600 fans tucked away in the far corner of the ground, cursing their luck and reminiscing old managers and past seasons as they watch one of their 3 fit forwards squander a chance that seems harder to miss. Stood in the corner of that ground was one of the lowest points of my time following Forest, even down in League One we had some fight about us, passion. People wanted to watch us, 5000 fans travelled to places such as Oldham to watch their team, now, without even half of the allocation received 40 minutes down the road at Leicester, one of our 2 main rivals. A season plagued by tragedy, with the death of Nigel Doughty, injury, over paid primadonnas and sheer bad luck.
A few months down the line and what a difference a summer makes, with the Al-Hasawi family taking over in the summer and heavily investing in the squad, and most importantly the ideals of one Sean o’Driscoll things are looking up again on the red side of the Trent, with 5 games unbeaten (before Millwall at home this weekend) and big wins over title favourites Cardiff and a 4-1 win at a tough side in Barnsley the optimism is back for many Forest fans, along with the away followings, and most importantly the pride and willingness to play for the shirt. On Saturday 10th November, we face one of the sternest tests so far when we once again face bitter rivals Leicester City, who themselves are having a fantastic start to the season.
After a questionable start to the season which has seen media speculation regarding the future of Nigel Pearson (wrongly) Leicester have started to achieve the results that their performances had already been meriting, with some of the strongest teams in the league such as Blackpool being added to the impressive home record at the KP stadium. Fan favorite, and the ever-present David Nugent will be one of many players Forest must keep a keen eye on if they are to achieve any form of result at the KP this November, his pace is a match for any defence, never mind one that has recently been hit with injuries and is also only a few months in the making. A particular area of concern for me is the wide players at Leicester, Anthony Knockaert has shown what he is about with 2 world-class goals, and Lloyd Dyer, although inconsistent always seems to play havoc down the wing against Forest. This is an area which many teams have highlighted as a weak point in our defence with the generally narrow game that Forest play. Reminiscent of Stuart Pearce during the Clough Era the full backs will often over lap the supposed wide midfielder, whilst players such as Chris Cohen and Andy Reid will cut inside rather than hitting the byline like a typical winger. This has had its successes and failures, the most notable being the defeat at the hands of Derby County, and problems caused by two of the most exciting wingers in the league in Zaha and Redmond. In order to get anything out of this game Forest must play the game their own way and if Messer’s Halford or Harding do go on a Pearce style run then we need to make sure cover is available in the full back position . I’m confident that Forest have the ability and goals in the team to cause Leicester are a real problem at the KP, however I think any Forest fan would snatch a hand off for a draw before the game kicks off.” – @ImAshleyyyyyyyy

Tame Tigers Mauled by Foxes

Leicester City completed back-to-back wins for the first time this season as David Nugent saw off Nigel Pearson’s former club with a superb hat-trick. 

The home side were  the brighter starters and their early pressure payed off in the 7th minute when David Nugent slotted home his second of the campaign as the King Power Stadium faithful urged the foxes to grab another. In fact, Hull were fortunate to still have

“3-1 Leicester! 3-1 Leicester! In your cup fiiiiiiiiinal!”… Hat-trick hero, David Nugent

eleven men on the pitch after a crunching two-footed challenge from Faye on Jamie Vardy went unpunished. But, Hull fought back in the 26th minute as Leicester’s tendency to concede sloppy goals continued as Jay Simpson levelled for Hull from 3 yards. A goal that materialised from nothing much to the delight of the 1,500 travelling fans.

The right to goad fell back to the away supporters as a horrible sense of familiarity encroached the City faithful but the game would be handed another twist as Knockaerts wonderfully crafted cross landed on the head of David Nugent to put City 2-1 up heading in to the break.

Embarrassment… Steve Bruce is sent to the stands.

Leicester came bursting out of the traps in the second half much like they did in the first. The Foxes fans rocked Filbert Way belting out the mocking taunt of “2-1 in your cup finaaaaal” to the hushed Humber army. Leicester continued to frustrate the Tigers as the game edged closer to the final whistle, a feeling perfectly emulated by manager, Steve Bruce who was dismissed for a juvenile rant to the fourth official. The Leicester fans lauded the hilarity as Bruce was repeatedly moved around the ground.

Despite the buoyancy in the home end, Hull nearly had the last laugh as Nick Proschwitz’s thumping header was cleared off the line in injury time to set up a superb counter attack as Dyer slotted through to Nugent who wrapped up the three points with a career first hat-trick.

Cheers rang around the King Power Stadium as the full time whistle went, leaving Leicester lying 7th in the table.

“One Nigel Pearson”… The Foxes’ boss got the last laugh over his former employers.

FT: Leicester City 3–1 Hull City

Attendance: 20,815