Today sees the fifth in our series of articles where our match reporters reflect on last season and start planning for the next, here are the views of Graham Tracey
Before the season started what were your hopes on what we could achieve ?
Top half and hopefully get close to Wembley in a cup
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?
7 – I imagine this is a higher score than many would give, but to reach two quarter-finals (which we could / should have won either or both) and have regrets about not finishing 7th shows how far we have come in a short space of time. I read a comment on the Mercury website from someone saying “this is the most bored I’ve been in the last 25 years” – presumably he must have been in a coma when I went to 3 successive games under Peter Taylor when we didn’t even have a shot, or most of the mid-noughties. Get a grip and some perspective.
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 is a clear a winner as N’Golo was in our champions season. I would also strongly praise Vardy, as well as Mahrez for the way he responded when he came back into the fold. Albrighton as always. And Fuchs who showed his commitment to the club even when frozen out for long periods.
What were your views on the signings made during last season ?
On the whole more promising than the one before. We may have hoped for a more immediate return from Silva and Ihenacho, but both of these, as well as Diabete, should improve significantly. Iborra was a good addition.
Which player do you think made the most progress last season and why?
This is a tough one, given that the squad was already well established. I’ll go Chilwell although he is clearly better on the left wing rather than left back. Plus Matty James should be mentioned, great to see him be able to contribute at times.
Which player did you think underperformed the most last season and why ?
Kasper. I guess it is hard to understand unless you are a keeper, but it must be a position where you go through dips, however hard you train.
What was your personal highlight of the season?
Mahrez’s last minute goal v. Arsenal. The sort of emotional finale that doesn’t often play out in real life.
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?
Another tough one but I think just about yes. It’s crazy that even advocating giving a manager a full season is old-fashioned, but I think we should. I think Puel suffers from the PR problem of quiet managers during bad patches – we’d all rather see someone visibly angry about it – a Pearson rather than a Sven.
What changes do you think are necessary to improve on this year’s squad?
Mainly defence, and set pieces (still at least 25% of goals). I am very sentimental about football, it’s not all about the next match for me and I hold each title winner in the same reverence as I do the men who walked on the moon. They won’t be here for ever and I treasure still having Wes and Simmo etc, but other options in their positions is obviously crucial.
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?
One of Slimani or Ulloa, only if they want to though, I cannot begrudge players who want to seek regular starting line-up action. Kingy again is welcome to stay but if I was him I’d think I’d want to make the most of the rest of my career and rack up some starts.
If you had a chance for a word in the owners ears, which player(s) would you be advising to sign?
Jonny Evans would be good. Last season I said The Ox and look how well it went for him when we had a change of scenery at Liverpool. As always, it is about personalities and so commenting just on what I’ve seen on the pitch is only half the story. If you read Vardy’s book it brings out how crucial the right blend is – the stuff about Cambiasso trying to take over behind the scenes was interesting.
Any other observation you would like to make
Our fans just need to stay realistic – which you can do while being ambitious and positive. There are about 25 clubs of similar size or history to Leicester who must be thinking ‘why are we in the wilderness when they are 9th in the top division’. We could easily fall from grace so enjoy where we are. Appreciate the amazing quality of some of the goals we scored this season. Don’t get on the back of home-grown players like Chilwell and Choudhry.
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