End Of Season Review 2017-18 Part One

With time given to reflect, today starts the series of articles where our match reporters give their views on last season and start planning for the next, Colin Murrant was the first to file his thoughts.

Before the season started what were your hopes on what we could achieve ? 

Last year's hopes, 'foremost I hope to see a lot more enthusiasm, desire and grit amongst the side; also creativity. A lot less reliance on Jamie Vardy for the goals.' Not really improved 

'I do not see the promoted clubs being a threat and there were several teams above us in the Final table that I would expect us to finish above: therefore I go for 8th.' One position out, but in light of our position around Christmas, should have been at least 7th

'I hope we take the FA Cup seriously and believe that any club that does can progress to the latter stages depending on the draw; a home tie would be nice for a change. So final of one of the cups would be my target with an expectation to reach the semi-finals.' One round out again although, but for suspect team selection against Man City in the Carabao Cup, and appalling goalkeeping error against Chelsea in the FA Cup, who knows what might have been? 

 

Given the way the season progressed from early relegation threat, to hopes of European football to then a season petering out, then throw in a couple of good cup runs,  how would you rate last season overall out of 10 and why?  

Six, overall this might have been a good season pre 15/16, but expectations have changed.

 Last season end I said I could not see Shakespeare as a manager so I expected we would waste a period of the season until he was sacked. 

Puel's impact was immense initially, Southampton away was a very special performance. Then team selections became random with no consistency, playing the 'well past his sell by date' Morgan ahead of Dragovic was bizarre; perhaps the only time I have heard fans 100% in unison about a player. The home form at the end was disgraceful, Arsenal apart. The Carabao Cup was a real opportunity against a strong but weakened Man City side: Vardy and Mahrez on the bench ended up playing most of the second-half and extra time, so why not start with them.  All in all, very disappointing since January. 

 

Harry McGuire won the Player of the Year Awards, would he have been your choice and who else do you think deserves praise for their performances? 

Harry played every minute of the Premier League matches and fully deserved his award. 

He is not the finished article yet and I feel he would have learned so much more by playing with Huth rather than Morgan. However, it was so refreshing to see a City Centre Back comfortable on the ball, at £17m in today’s market, a snip!

Only other City players would be Vardy and Ndidi. Vardy because the quality of some of his goals was outstanding and he fed on scraps towards the back end of the season yet still scored 20 goals in the PL. An analysis in the Daily Mail shows him converting over 77% of his 'big chances', Kane is 5th in the analysis on 56%.; and second only to Rooney in the overall chance conversion rate. 

Ndidi, loved this guy since beating Lukaku in the air in the first minute of his debut in January 2017. Still raw at times but what energy he has and wins so much possession for City.

  

What were your views on the signings made during last season? 

Silva is a slight positive, I think he will/can be a real asset but just when I think he is getting there he seems to disappoint, I think next season Puel needs to make a decision on what his midfield is, I hope Silva is a part of it. 

Diabate, so refreshing yet so left footed. Great debut at Peterborough and has showed glimpses of his pace and skill in the PL. Perhaps ahead of schedule as he was expected to go into the Development Squad. One definitely for the future and ahead of Gray in my opinion. 

Iheanacho, looks like he is getting back to his best form as seen when at Man City. Getting anyone to play with Vardy has been a problem, Okazaki has done it best of all but doesn't score enough goals. Iheanacho's cameo at WBA away was superb, stick my neck out and say he will have a great season in 2018/19, especially as he is upping his work rate. 

Dragovic, wonderful when he plays, no idea why he has not played more especially as you think he was a Puel type player: comfortable on the ball and can bring it out of defence – Please sign him up! 

Jakupovic, not really had a chance but looked comfortable in the matches against Fleetwood. In the Premier League was good against Arsenal and only on Spurs' first goal did I think he could have done better on his near post. 

Iborra, I rate this guy, so important in both boxes and midfield with his heading ability. A little inconsistent in his performances but next season should be a good one for him.  

 

Which player do you think made the most progress last season and why? 

It would be Wilfred Ndidi, at his tender age the team is much weaker without him. Improve his passing accuracy and his shooting and he will be top class. 

 

Which player did you think underperformed the most last season and why? 

If I am allowed to pick three – Schmeichel, Morgan, Chilwell  … oh and Gray (four). 

Kasper so hesitant coming off his line, Morgan so slow (both missed Huth immensely), Chilwell not a full back, Gray an enigma. 

 

What was your personal highlight of the season? 

The Southampton away performance, wonderful football, wonderful goals, wonderful night. I really thought we would go on to qualify for Europe after that performance. 

Moving onto next season 

The main question towards the end of the season was would you keep Claude Puel to carry out the re-building obviously needed over the summer and what is behind your reasoning? 

I would not trust him to spend my money but, as I write, the owners' have just sanctioned £20m on Ricardo Pereira so it looks like they are backing him.  I do not like his lack of charisma and his poor communication skill but, more than anything, I think his team selection, particularly Dragovic omission, is difficult to understand. 

What changes do you think are necessary to improve on this year’s squad? 

New Goal keeper, new full backs, new centre half, creative mid fielder. Higher tempo performances as seen against Arsenal. Probably a change in formation to 3-5-2 with Dragovic-Evans (?) – Maguire. No problems with Chilwell as a midfielder in this formation if he improves his crossing. I think this season without Huth has shown what an immense impact he had on City’s great escape and title, we missed him sorely.

 

A number of players went out on loan last season, are there any of those players you would like to see involved in our first team squad for next season? 

Not sure as I haven't followed their progress that closely. Elder at Wigan had a good season but not sure on his ability to step up at left-back in the PL at this moment in time.  Musa has done well at CSKA but I think his best position is where Vardy plays. Kapustka, Mendy, Slimani, Ulloa and King, I think they may have played their last game for the Club. Moore and Sowah at OH Leuven, no views on them. 

I think Hughes, Thomas and Barnes from the development squad may make breakthroughs. 

 

If you had a chance for a word in the owners ears, which player(s) would you be advising to sign? 

Either Pope or Heaton at Burnley, cannot see them wanting to both stay as they are top keepers: so impressed with Pope at Burnley when we played them, commanded his 6-yard box. Kasper has had a poor season, he appears to be even more reluctant to come off the line, also his positioning at free kicks just outside the box is questionable. With Maguire, Evans (seeming likely), Dragovic (hopefully) and Pereira we will have a stronger defence. A top-class goalkeeper will add to our strength at the back which has been sadly lacking this last season.

 

Any other observation you would like to make 

Puel does not inspire confidence. At Southampton in 16/17 he finished eighth and, but for a dubious decision, should have won the League Cup. He lost Wanyama, Mane, Pelle before the season started and Van Dijk was injured for a fair portion of the season, so no mean feat even though it tailed off towards the season end.

This season again he did very well but then the season petered out badly. Given the owners appear to be sticking with him, I really hope he can kick on for a whole season; also, I am a little fed up with the constant management changes and hope we can get some stability.  

The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation

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Don’t Lose Your Rewards

As Leicester City introduced a new Rewards scheme at the start of last season, the Foxes Trust board felt we should remind fans that the value of any rewards left on your account after May 31st 2018 will become invalid.

If you are not sure if you have any outstanding rewards, you need to log in to your online LCFC account to check. Once signed in, click on the head figure profile to the right of you name at the top right of the screen and your account management page will appear showing you your current rewards balance. These can then be spent online, or you could visit the fan store knowing how many rewards you have to spend.

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Filbert Street Site

Foxes Trust Chairman, Ian Bason, appeared on the Radio Leicester breakfast show this morning to discuss the current state of the former home of our club at Filbert Street

Ian was interviewed alongside a local resident who expressed her concern about the ongoing eyesore that residents experienced, the full interview can be heard here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p067t9k4

At the end of the interview, Radio Leicester’s Helen McCarthy read a statement from the developers who promised to clear up the site this week.

The Foxes Trust has been maintaining periodic dialogue with the developers, since former board member Steve Smith built the relationship with both the developer and the council to enable the only new road created on the site to be named Lineker Road, following an appeal for suggestions from fans and then creating an approved shortlist with the council, which was then voted on by fans using several outlets, with the greatest number of votes collected via the Leicester Mercury.

During those early discussions Steve also gained agreement with the developers that the second phase of the development would include physical recognition that the site was the former spiritual home of our club, the initial thinking being that a Fox design would be incorporated into some planned metal railings.

The second phase of the development has still to materialise, however Trust vice-chairman, Matt Davis has maintained contact with the developers and an agreement is in place that when the construction does proceed, that some physical recognition of the site would be included, with details to be finalised depending on the format of the development.

It is also agreed with the developers and the council that any further road(s) that are included in the future phase will be named following further fan consultation controlled by the Foxes Trust.

As part of the heritage work of the Foxes Trust, the Trust monitors current, future and former sites of the club. The Trust holds an Asset of Community Value (ACV) for the current King Power Stadium and promotes the importance of an expanded Memorial Garden and the creation of a physical museum in any future enhancement of the site.

Having discussed the plans for the new training ground with the club, the Trust fully backs the move to the new site

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A breath-taking end to the season

Spurs 5 City 4

Report by Kate Thompson

This match epitomised the ‘curate’s egg’ nature of Leicester City’s season.  The attacking was impressive, with four excellent goals, but the defending was woeful.  Sadly, Simpson was badly at fault for the first Spurs goal and should have done more to stop their equaliser, and Gray gifted them another.

It all started so well with a goal inside three minutes.  A foul on Gray on the left wing led to a good cross from Mahrez, which Vardy headed into the corner of the net.  However, within only a few minutes, Simpson tried to pass the ball out of defence but only succeeded in giving it to a Tottenham player.  A quick pass to Kane and it was 1-1. 

Within less than ten more minutes, Riyad had put us ahead again when his awareness allowed him to hammer the loose ball into the net.  This is how it stayed until half-time; apparently Spurs were booed off by their supporters but I didn’t hear this. 

Arguably the best goal of the match came almost immediately after the restart when Ineanacho shrugged off the attentions of a Spurs defender to score a fantastic goal in front of the Leicester fans. 

Unfortunately, the poor defending by City allowed Tottenham to take the lead, first through Lamela and then by an unfortunate own goal from Fuchs’ knee.  Finally, Lamela scored again to make it 4-3 – all three Spurs goals coming in 11 minutes of madness. 

We were not finished though and a trademark Mahrez/Vardy move made it all square again; Riyad slipped a ball through to Vardy, who managed to stay onside, and he smashed it into the net. 

You couldn’t take your eyes off the game for a moment and it was Kane again (who else?) who scored what turned out to be the winner in the 76th minute.  There were further chances for both sides but the score stayed at 5-4 to Spurs after an exciting match, but one littered with errors from both sides. 

I can’t help but reflect that if City had played like that against some of the so-called smaller teams, we would have finished much higher up the table.

For the record, Simpson was replaced by Choudhury in the 56th minute, Gray by Diabete in the 61st and Ineanacho by Barnes in the 85th.  The unused substitutes included two more under-23s, in Ndukwu and Hughes. 

Like many City fans, I would have taken 9th and two good cup runs at the beginning of the season but the ‘new manager bounce’ when Puel was appointed raised expectations.  The jury is still out and I, for one, really can’t decide whether he should go or stay.  Fortunately, it is not my decision!

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker-Peters, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Sissoko, Wanyama, Lucas Moura, Eriksen, Lamela, Kane. Subs: Son, Sanchez, Vorm, Llorente, Alli, Foyth, Davies.

Leicester: Jakupovic, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Adrien Silva, Iborra, Mahrez, Iheanacho, Gray, Vardy. Subs: Hamer, Benalouane, Barnes, Diabate, Choudhury, Hughes, Ndukwu.

The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation

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Spurred on for the 38 away games rollercoaster ride!

View from the opposition – Spurs:

A bit about you

Name: Kat Law

Current home town: Buckhurst Hill, Essex

Birthplace: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

How long have you supported your team? 37 years

Overview of your club:

Favourite thing about your home ground? 

Probably the first person struggling to answer this question! We’ve been nomads this season, playing at Wembley after our home was demolished last May and counting down the days until we move into our new home in the Autumn.

My favourite thing is that our new home is adjacent to the site of White Hart Lane and that the ashes of our greatest ever manager, Bill Nicholson, have been re-interred at the exact point where the old ground overlaps the new. In the most modern stadium in the land, it’s important to remember your history.

Favourite match played by your team & why?

1981 Cup Final v Man City. The reason I support Spurs

Favourite player of all time who played for your club? 

Ricky Villa. See above 

About our forthcoming match against you:

Your favourite current player in your squad and why?  

Toby Alderweireld. Outstanding centre half who would grace any defence in Europe. Controversially dropped for large chunks of the season after contract talks failed. Hugely popular and will be a big loss if not resolved this summer 

Player in your squad we should most fear and why?  

Christian Eriksen. A class act and our creative spark 

Player in our squad you most fear and why?

Mahrez and Vardy have the pace and drive to cause us problems

Up and coming prospect in your squad?  

Not been a vintage season for the kids. Winks is injured and Kyle Walker-Peters hasn’t yet made an impact on the first team but hopefully that’ll kick on next year 

How do you think you'll do against us? Be nice to sign off with a win but the last game of the season often throws up some unexpected results

General Questions:  

Last August where did you think you'd finish this season?

5th or 6th. We’ve effectively played 38 games away from home

Which teams did you honestly think would go down? 

Huddersfield, West Ham and Watford 

Describe your season in less than 15 words? 

Usual rollercoaster and highly respectable finish, but ultimately no silverware

At the start of the season did you think Man City would win the league and if not who did you think would? 

Probably, or Man United 

If you could change 3 things at your club what would they be? 

Ticket pricing, fan representation on the Club board, our FA Cup semi-final hoodoo

What is the name of your Trust? THST

What role do you play? Co-chair 

Why did you get involved?

Because I firmly believe fans should have a voice in the running of their clubs. And I have a loud voice 

What is your website for more details? www.THSTOfficial.com

How are you involved in football on a national level?

Member of Supporters Direct’s England and Wales Football Council, FA Council supporter representative

What national projects are you currently involved in? FA Cup ticket pricing, away ticket pricing for concessions and young adults, kick off times and broadcast scheduling, safe standing, FA Cup

Replays and mid-season break, regulatory reform, flexible train fare initiative for football fans  

Any other comments? Wishing you and your fans a great summer and looking forward to welcoming 3000 of you to our new ground next season. Maybe give the Cheese Room a miss, though 😉