End Of Season Review 2018-19 Part Six

Continuing our match reporting team’s series of end of season review articles, today is the turn of Eddie Blount

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

I hoped for a top half finish challenging for a Europa league spot

When looking back at last season, the loss of our Chairman Vichai in late October has to feature in this review, what are your personal thoughts on the chairman, the subsequent reaction of fans to the tragedy and how the club handled proceedings at this difficult time ?

Chairman Vichai was as good an owner as any club could wish for. He cared about the club and its fan base and enabled us to live the dream. He put Leicester on the world football map. Both the fans and the club did not put a foot wrong in the aftermath of the tragedy and made me even prouder to be associated with Leicester City

Given the events of last season what were your overall thoughts on finishing 9th ?,  

Finishing 9th has to be seen as a missed opportunity. We had numerous chances to win a place in the Europa League but simply were not consistent enough particularly at home against lower-placed clubs

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

Ricardo was outstanding and lifted his levels as he became used to playing in the Premier League. I thought Ndidi and Vardy ran him very close

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

I am still not totally convinced by Maddison but it’s significant that he improved alongside Thielemans so perhaps he has found his best role. Ricardo was worth every penny as was Evans who improved markedly after a shaky start. 

Thielemans brought extra quality to the team after taking a few games to settle. Ward did well on the very few occasions he played but we may have paid too much for a No 2 keeper. Ghezzal has some very good qualities but is not physically up to the demands of premiership football

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

Naturally Ricardo is a contender but in this category you look to the younger players and I would single out Choudhury, Ndidi and  Barnes. I am stll not happy with some of Chilwell’s defensive positioning

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

In the under-performing category it’s a close thing between Iheanacho and Gray. Iheanacho has been played out of position mostly so that would be a mitigating factor, whereas Gray has had regular opportunities but still flatters to deceive. He should model himself on Wilfred Zaha to see what he has to do better

What was your personal highlight of the season?

Not as many to choose from as I would have liked but beating Man City at home was a great achievement

Moving onto next season

In comparison to this time last year, how positive do you feel about next season with Brendan Rodgers in charge ?

Rogers may well prove to be a crucial signing. He clearly sees potential in our club and I fully expect us to finish higher next season with him in charge

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

Time alone will bring improvement in our younger players but we need Thielemans or equivalent in midfield and more fire-power to support Vardy. I would like to see a big striker to add more variation to our attacking and make us more of a threat against bus-parking teams

With several experienced players having left the club, would you be looking to add some experience to a fairly youthful squad or would you continue bringing in younger players and develop them ?

It has to be a blend of giving promising youth a chance and using more experienced players. In midfield for example all the regular starters except Albrighton are very young so an experienced play-maker would be of benefit

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

I would love to have Zaha in the side. He has run rings round us in the past two seasons

Do you think we can realistically break into the top 6 next season ?

We are not far short of the top 6 and have a number of young players yet to reach their peak. Plus we won the league just a short time ago so we have pedigree! Invest well and we could close the gap

While looking at targets for next season, how important to you is the FA Cup ?

The FA Cup is a side-show these days even though it carries entry into Europe. However we have never won it and I still have fond memories of the competition. Problem is you need a big squad and the luck of the draw! If we did win it I would think it was the best thing since sliced bread

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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End Of Season Review 2018-19 Part Five

Stuart Dawkins provides the fifth in our match reporting team’s series of end of season review articles

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

I had hoped that, with a consistent season, we could press for a European qualification place.

When looking back at last season, the loss of our Chairman Vichai in late October has to feature in this review, what are your personal thoughts on the chairman, the subsequent reaction of fans to the tragedy and how the club handled proceedings at this difficult time?

The whole narrative of Leicester has been almost unreal over the last few years – if it was a novel you really would not have dared to plot it the way it has happened.  Khun Vichai clearly stabilised the whole Club and his ownership made the Premier League-winning season possible.  The tragic manner of his death, and those who died with him, added to the narrative – so close to the stadium and involving the helicopter which had become something of a City icon as well.

The Club handled the tragedy magnificently.  Football clubs, including our own, often tend not to be good at handling issues which require leadership and tact and dignity.  Leicester City managed all three, including involvement of the fans.

Given the events of last season what were your overall thoughts on finishing 9th?

A bit disappointed.  The final few games under Puel yielded too few points.  Anything approaching ‘par’ in that period may well have enabled a push for 7th or even 6th.  Having said that, I am reasonably pleased to have avoided the very early Europa-qualifying stages in the Summer.

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

Pereira has developed into a fine player.  He has always looked good going forwards and this season improved his defensive qualities too.  Maddison is clearly a talent, but still needs to mature his decision making.  Choudhury has looked a handful when he has had the chance to perform.  I do hope we can retain/sign Maddison, Chilwell and Tielemans, as they can form the basis of a team which can genuinely challenge for Europe next season.

Jonny Evans deserves praise, too.  He looked a bit suspect at first, but by the second half of the season he was the most assured of the centre-backs, more so even than Maguire.

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

Does Tielemans count as a ‘signing’?  He has been outstanding and I do hope we can keep him!  Söyüncü looked a decent signing in his few games – he looks like a potential leader despite his alleged lack of English language skills.

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

Chilwell is now pretty much the finished article, and both Choudhury and Barnes now look like good Premier League players.

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

Gray continues to achieve far less than he should.  I am going to go against most opinion and put a word in a positive word for Ghezzal; he has not turned into a new-Mahrez, but when he is on the pitch he usually looks more likely to create something exciting and decisive than, say, Gray.  Iheanacho is also, surely, a better player (and in particular better finisher) than he has so far seemed to be at Leicester

What was your personal highlight of the season?

Whether it is correct to call it a ‘highlight’, the way the helicopter crash was handled showed this Club and its fans in their very best light.

Moving onto next season

In comparison to this time last year, how positive do you feel about next season with Brendan Rodgers in charge?

If we can keep the team that ended this season together for next season, then I rate the chance of a European qualification place quite highly.  Simply continuing the form achieved under Rodgers (against some tough opposition) would achieve that.  It will depend so much on whether the Club let any of their young ‘stars’ go.

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

Sign up Tielemans, sign a proper stand-in/support for Vardy and keep Vardy’s legs as fast as they are for at least one more full season.  I don’t think too much else is needed.

With several experienced players having left the club, would you be looking to add some experience to a fairly youthful squad or would you continue bringing in younger players and develop them?

As above, I do not think too many changes are needed if the stars of current squad can be kept at the Club.

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

Tielemans!  I’m also going to cheat, as I read Colin’s end-of-season report before writing this, and steal his idea of Rondon, too!

Do you think we can realistically break into the top 6 next season?

If we hold on to the current squad, then ‘yes’.

While looking at targets for next season, how important to you is the FA Cup?

European qualification.  A good Cup run would be enjoyable – preferably not ending in a lost penalty shoot-out.

Any other observation you would like to make

In my many years watching football, and Leicester City in particular, home and away, there are two memories that stand out as life experiences I will never forget.  Neither of them were directly about the football itself.

The first was seeing all of Leicester out on Victoria Park for the Premier League celebrations – all ages, colours, creeds, shapes and sizes in one place.  The other was the 10+ minutes at the end of the away match at Cardiff this season, when the players and fans just stood applauding each other.  Football may only be a sport, but sometimes it produces moments that transcend that.

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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End Of Season Review 2018-19 Part Four

A new week kicks off with the fourth in our series of end of season review articles from our match reporting team, today Tish Krokosz provides his thoughts

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

I had prepared a projected table for the Premiership before the first game and had City at 9th – it was the only team I had guessed at correctly!

When looking back at last season, the loss of our Chairman Vichai in late October has to feature in this review, what are your personal thoughts on the chairman, the subsequent reaction of fans to the tragedy and how the club handled proceedings at this difficult time?

Chairman Vichai was a top boss. His generosity to the club and to the local community has been well documented and was remarkable. The grin on his face at the end of the title-winning season sits in your memory.

The fans responded to his position and generosity with feeling, pride and long-lasting gratitude, both before and after the tragedy.

The club’s reaction to the tragic news was very professional and commendable.

Given the events of last season what were your overall thoughts on finishing 9th?  

As mentioned above, I had predicted this position correctly at the start of the season, but this was under the Puel management regime. The strength of the squad, especially after the introduction of Tielemans, was such that City should have attained a higher position and would have done if the season had carried on for another month or so. The record under Rodgers was impressive.

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

Probably – the players voted for him and they know best. However, I had some doubts about him when he started, but these fell away as the season progressed. Nobody had a consistently brilliant season, but there were some excellent runs of form from Maddison, Barnes, Chilwell and later in the season, Evans. If Tielemans had been with us all season, he may have won the vote from me.

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

I had forgotten how many new names there were. They were generally better than some other years. The best ones were Pereira, Maddison and Evans; the latter being the best value for money purchase.

Maddison tailed off mid-season but found his form again when Rodgers arrived. Tielemans, although only a loan signing, was also admirable.

We needed a player to step into Mahrez’s shoes, if that were possible – and Ghezzal was not the man.

Soyuncu impressed me at the start, especially with his speed and distribution but he is not the complete defender and a little rash in his tackles. Benkovic won medals in his first season after signing for City, but unfortunately they were with Celtic. I would like to see him play, although there is talk that he may stay at Celtic for another year.

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

Pereira. He is really impressive going forward and this was obvious from the start. His defensive work improved as the season progressed.

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

Ghezzal. He spends most of the match facing the wrong way.

What was your personal highlight of the season?

As an individual moment, I would pick Pereira’s goal at home against Manchester City. It was such a wonderfully, clean strike and influential in the outcome of the match. But the team’s performance and result at home to Arsenal gave me more pleasure overall.

Moving onto next season

In comparison to this time last year, how positive do you feel about next season with Brendan Rodgers in charge?

Much more optimistic. I was prepared to give Puel a chance at this stage last year, but with Rodgers’ brilliant start since his move to City I feel we could improve significantly on the season just ended.

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

It is always difficult to answer this question at the beginning of summer because we do not know which of our current players may be snapped up by other clubs. We keep hearing that Maguire is being chased by Manchester clubs – if he goes, then we need to ensure that either Benkovic will stay or find another back-up. Morgan is with us for another year and can still block as good as any defender, but he is slowing down.

Vardy needs someone to help him in attack or replace him during periods of injury/suspension. The current incumbents are not up to it. However, whoever we chase for this position will be sought after by other top clubs too.

With several experienced players having left the club, would you be looking to add some experience to a fairly youthful squad or would you continue bringing in younger players and develop them?

It is excellent that half of a first team has been called up to play for England (at differing levels), so it could be argued that the young lads are already experiencing good football. But if City are trying to reach Europe, then experience in that sphere will be invaluable.

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

Probably the same one that most other City fans are saying – Tielemans.

Do you think we can realistically break into the top 6 next season? 

Yes. The form shown since Brendan Rodgers arrived supports that contention. Clearly, it is more difficult to maintain that momentum over a whole season, but with wins over Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal last season, it shows it can be done.

While looking at targets for next season, how important to you is the FA Cup?

It is the only trophy we have not won. Many fans were disappointed that Puel did not seem to take this competition seriously. A good run often brings confidence in the League. It would also give another option to play in Europe.

Any other observation you would like to make

If the management want to bring in new players, it is likely that others would have to go. At the top of that list I would place Slimani, Ghezzal and Iheanacho. They do not have the skills and performance that City need. I do not see how Kapustka would fit in the current regime and, if we manage to buy Tielemans, then Silva would also be surplus to requirements. Rodgers has probably not seen some of the players that have been out on loan, so he may want to give them a chance first. I think we need to boost the second-string squad more so that there is a better choice when injuries occur.

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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End Of Season Review 2018-19 Part Three

As the week draws to a close, we return to our match reporting team’s series of end of season review articles, today the thoughts of Paul Weston…

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

I hoped for challenging for the top 6 and a good Cup run

When looking back at last season, the loss of our Chairman Vichai in late October has to feature in this review, what are your personal thoughts on the chairman, the subsequent reaction of fans to the tragedy and how the club handled proceedings at this difficult time ?

The tragic loss of The Boss was a real shock. It was almost like losing part of one’s family. Although I had never met him his influence was everywhere to be seen. 

In life the wealthiest people are often the greediest. Khun Vichai proved the opposite. The fans reaction to his passing was quite staggering. I am full of admiration and proud of my club for how they handled all that followed. Susan Whelan was tremendous throughout.

Given the events of last season what were your overall thoughts on finishing 9th ?,  

9th was OK but there was a feeling that it could, and should, have been much better if it had not been for Puel’s reign. His style of play, in my opinion, was boring, stifled the players and did not let them play to their full potential

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

Ricardo did not start the season well but then improved both offensively and defensively. I feel there is still more to come. He would have been my choice for the Award.

I would praise Vardy for sticking at it, even though the Puel style of play did not suit him. How many more goals would he have scored if Rodgers had been there from the start?

Johnny Evans also improved after a slow start and became more commanding at the back in the latter part of the season.

Hamza Choudhury looks to be quite a terrier in midfield and shows he can spot a pass too.

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

Maddison was a good signing although he needs to improve some aspects of his game.

Ricardo Pereira and Johnny Evans have been a great success.

Although a loan signing Tielmans made a huge difference in the second part of the season.

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

Hamza Choudhury in his small number of starts has improved leaps and bounds and shows enormous potential.

Harvey Barnes looks like he can make the jump to the Premiership although found it tough at times.

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

Demarai Gray continues to frustrate and not improve. He is just not learning when to pass and when to shoot. His ball control and positioning on the pitch need improvement too.

I also have to mention Iheanacho. He is clearly devoid of form and confidence and a move would be beneficial to both parties. If he stays then Rodgers will have to work miracles to turn him into a player and change round fans’ opinions.

What was your personal highlight of the season?

There were not many highlights but the 3-0 home win against Arsenal was the best for an all-round performance.

Moving onto next season

In comparison to this time last year, how positive do you feel about next season with Brendan Rodgers in charge ?

Very positive. I did not want last season to end.

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

We MUST get a support striker for Vardy who can also change the style of play.

We need an attacking midfielder who can move forward and create chances quickly- sign up Tielemans!

We need support for Ricardo at right back with Danny Simpson leaving the club.

With several experienced players having left the club, would you be looking to add some experience to a fairly youthful squad or would you continue bringing in younger players and develop them ?

I think the balance is about right now but we could perhaps bring in a younger support striker from the lower league which we could develop. Is there another Jamie Vardy lurking in non-league football?

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

First priority has to be Tielemans.

Do you think we can realistically break into the top 6 next season ?

6th place is a distinct possibility.

While looking at targets for next season, how important to you is the FA Cup ?

Really important. I hope Rodgers gives it priority unlike Puel with his disastrous team selection which fans never understood.

Any other observation you would like to make

We need to be prepared for either Maguire or Chilwell to be bought by a top club over the close season. Maquire would probably attract best price now so should we bring back Benković from Celtic as replacement?

I am so pleased that Top, amidst family tragedy, has taken over the club in difficult times and, in his own way, is leading from the front. His father would be so proud. 

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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