The Foxes Trust notes the strength of feeling amongst many fans and echoes the disappointment of Leicester City Football Club about the actions of a number of the Club’s players in failing to conform to Covid regulations, an action that led to them not being available for the weekend’s game.
Over the last year, the Club has handled the pandemic in an exemplary manner, looking after full-time and matchday staff and supporting many community activities. The actions of the players involved, particularly in advance of such a crucial match, appear not only disrespectful to fans, but also to the Club’s owners, the manager and staff.
One of the Foxes Trust’s declared aims is to ensure Leicester City Football Club meets the highest standards of business management, and a recent poll of fans by The Athletic gave Leicester City the highest score of all Premier League clubs for being well run. The Trust believes the Club’s handling of the Covid breach does maintain those high standards and we support the approach they are taking.
We know that the players involved are capable of better things than this. We look forward to this week’s historic FA Cup semi-final when the focus can be back on football, where it should belong.
Press release issued to the local media April 12th
Any thoughts about yesterday’s game will be overshadowed by later events. When the team was announced, Praet and Ricardo came in but there was no place for Maddison, Perez or Choudhury in the squad. Rumours were flying around and the Club finally confirmed that these three players, possibly with Harvey Barnes, had broken Covid regulations.
After a two-minute silence to mark the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, the game got under way and I thought Leicester were reasonably OK until the first goal; they appeared to have the bulk of possession and had more shots on target than West Ham. Gareth Southgate was in attendance but Maddison had blown any remote chance of making the Euros squad by his stupidity, and I for one have no sympathy for him.
It was a bit alarming to learn that West Ham had the best record for scoring from set pieces, but on the whole City coped well with corners and free kicks. The first goal was one of those that was difficult to anticipate; Coufal pulled the ball back to Lingard, who drove an unstoppable shot beyond Schmeichel, in the 28th minute. Is it just me, or is anyone else irritated by Lingard’s ridiculous goal celebrations? And I don’t remember him making much of an impact when he was on loan with us, yet another loan player who comes back to bite us.
The game went from one end to the other, with little end product until Lingard (that man again) scored his second goal in the 43rd minute, this time it was laid on a plate for him when Bowen raced clear from the halfway line and squared it – even I could have scored that one! It was checked for offside, but the goal stood. By half-time West Ham had had only two efforts on goal and had scored from both of them.
Luke Thomas replaced Amartey at half-time and Albrighton came on for Praet in the 59th minute. Before then, however, West Ham had scored a third goal in the 47th minute. Iheanacho lost the ball and the quick-thinking West Ham players took advantage, Bowen scoring from a skilful move. A fourth goal from Diop was disallowed for offside.
Soon Albrighton began to make a difference and, for the first time in the match, West Ham began to look somewhat nervous. Iheanacho scored a very good goal in the 70th minute, which was a bit surprising as he had hardly been in the game and his first touch was frequently poor, the ball bouncing off him.
To their credit, City kept pressing and Iheanacho scored another good goal in the first minute (of six) of added time. Moyes was going ballistic on the touchline, which was hardly surprising considering what had happened against Arsenal and Wolves. In the dying seconds of the game Fofana put the ball wide of the post. A draw would have been a good result in the end, but frankly Leicester got what they deserved – nothing. Apparently, it was the first time they had lost at the London Stadium.
So to the revelations at the end. I cannot adequately express my anger and dissatisfaction with the rogue players, and I do agree with one commentator who said that – unlike many fans – footballers have been able to carry on ‘working’ at what they love doing and the least we can expect is that they obey the rules. I am particularly disappointed at Choudhury, as he was disciplined last season (along with the now departed Chilwell); I would be surprised if he still has a future with the club and, as he is a local boy, this is especially upsetting. At least one pundit has revised his opinion that City will finish in the top four and unless they buck up their ideas on Sunday we will not be going to Wembley again this season.
It is a frequent complaint from me that the play is slow and pedantic and West Ham showed how playing a quick passing game is the way to go. We are still third, but we need to find a way of winning again, starting against Southampton on Sunday.
Leicester: Kasper Schmeichel, Daniel Amartey, Jonny Evans, Wesley Fofana, Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi, Dennis Praet, Ricardo Pereira, Timothy Castagne, Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho. Subs: Luke Thomas, Marc Albrighton
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
The first half redefined the meaning of one-sided. Leicester scarcely set foot in their opponents’ half. It wasn’t long until my mobile was pinging with messages from fellow Foxes expressing frustration and disbelief at our defensive approach. One said it was like watching a snooker match where the same player makes 147 frame-after-frame-after-frame so dominant were Manchester City.
Leicester’s defensive low block certainly invited Manchester City to attack. And since it kept the visitors out for an hour it could be said to be justified. But this approach, from the perspective of many fans, might seem too cautious, especially given the team has been on such a good run and lies third in the table with a chance of finishing second. We really do want to see them give it a go.
Before kick-off there was a minute’s applause for Frank Worthington, Leicester legend from the 70s. Leicester’s line-up replaced Soyuncu, who had tested positive for covid, with Amartey.
After a quiet opening five minutes Leicester had a fortunate escape when Fernandinho drilled a low twenty-yard shot into the goal. Fortunately, Aguero was in an offside position blocking Schmeichel’s sightline so the goal was ruled out. The visitors stayed on the front foot. Rodri was a consistent threat down the left while Mahrez raided down the right.
Despite numerous Leicester attempts to play out from the back Manchester City’s press was so high and tight that Leicester had to resort to long clearances which inevitably surrendered possession. De Bruyne sent in a good cross that Castagne blocked but the ball fell to Aguero who shot over the bar. De Bruyne then shot over himself but referee Taylor brought the play back to just outside the D for a foul on de Bruyne by Ndidi. Not so much a foul as an “air foul” since contact between the players was non-existent. De Bruyne took the free kick, his shot hammering against the crossbar before rebounding to safety.
Jesus shot into the side netting after a Walker cross. Schmeichel made a good save from a fierce Aguero shot after Mahrez had put Jesus through. In a rare visit to the visitors’ half Perez was fouled by Fernandinho. Albrighton’s free kick sailed harmlessly into the arms of Ederson. Ndidi was booked for a foul on de Bruyne after a promising Leicester attack broke down in midfield. The game reverted to the same pattern of Manchester City dominance. It was hard not to wonder how 30,000 Leicester fans would have reacted to our team’s approach had they been there.
Good work by Fofana – who was having an outstanding game – tidied up a situation after Amartey had miskicked his clearance. Schmeichel blocked a Mahrez shot. De Bruyne rifled a low fast shot just wide of the post.
As the half closed Leicester at last moved upfield. Tielemans intercepted a pass in the Manchester half and swept forward only to shoot over. Perez played a smart ball through to Vardy who dribbled around Ederson and coolly put the ball in the net but the striker was offside.
There is no doubt that City had defended very well against their highly skilled opponents. They had kept them out for a half. However, doing the same for another 45 minutes seemed a tall order.
Leicester showed intent on attacking more after half time. Ederson had to be quick to clear a poor back pass before Iheanacho could reach it. Albrighton passed to Tielemans who beat Fernandinho and shot fiercely, forcing a good Ederson save. Vardy won a tackle in midfield and passed to Iheanacho who set off on a superb run before passing to Tielemans whose goal bound shot was block tackled away for a corner by Diaz.
But danger still existed at the other end. Rodri, unmarked at the far post, just failed to make good contact with a de Bruyne free kick. Fofana cleared well after Amartey had given away possession. Aguero had a shot blocked which went for a corner that was eventually cleared by Evans.
On the hour mark Manchester City took the lead. Schmeichel fisted away a fierce Mahrez shot but Rodri took possession and sent a cross to the far post. Mendy gathered and stepped inside the onrushing Albrighton before curling an accurate shot around Schmeichel into the net.
The visitors then brought on Sterling for Aguero which was hardly going to weaken them. Perez sent Iheanacho away down the left wing but his cross flew behind the goal. A good Vardy knock down gave Perez a chance to shoot but the ball did not come down quickly enough.
On the 71st minute Leicester brought on Maddison for Iheanacho and Ricardo for Albrighton. Ederson was shown a yellow card for delaying a goal kick. Perhaps we had them rattled! If so it was not for long. Almost immediately de Bruyne played a superb pass to Jesus who exchanged passes with Sterling before driving the ball past Schmeichel to make it 2-0.
The lead nearly increased when Evans was caught in possession. De Bruyne passed to Mahrez who shot wide.
Maddison was relishing his return and having plenty of touches. Walker welcomed him to the game with a late challenge and was shown a yellow card. A good move between Vardy and Tielemans gave Maddison a shooting chance but he shot over. Next Vardy, Castagne, and Ricardo combined brilliantly to give Maddison another chance but he scuffed his shot and Ederson gathered.
Tempers frayed in the last few minutes, especially following an Amartey challenge on de Bruyne. Rodri was shown yellow for a foul on Tielemans. The game ended: Leicester’s seventh home defeat.
Brendan Rodgers appeared philosophical in his post-match interview. He acknowledged the better team won. He thought we were not as good on the ball as we had been and linked that to fatigue following the internationals. He acknowledged how well Fofana had played.
Next up is West Ham away. Let’s hope the players can recuperate during the coming week and go to London with the confidence and self-belief they’ve been justified in showing for most of the season and gain a win.
The Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) has launched a national survey of all fans to get their opinions on the use and implementation of VAR.
At last year’s FSA AGM, a motion was passed to create a fan-led FSA VAR Working Group (WG) which Foxes Trust’s Steve Moulds is a member of – this has been done and as part of its work, the WG has created a survey which has now been launched. The aim is to gather fans’ views on how VAR is working and where it can be improved, particularly with regard to use in stadiums. The survey builds on Foxes Trust’s own survey carried out last summer.
FSA will report the findings to the Premier League, PGMOL and the media, with a view to giving fans a voice on how VAR may be improved from their perspective. With that in mind, we encourage FT members to complete the survey and ask for your support in sharing the link with other City fans in order to maximise the response and the strength of the data collected. The survey is open now and over Easter weekend (closing date TBC).
The link to the survey is here and it would be brilliant if you can share it via Twitter (here) or other social media.
Having been one of the last Trusts to hold a physical AGM meeting prior to the pandemic, the Foxes Trust recently held this year’s AGM via Zoom and while this unfortunately meant that a number of members who usually attend the meeting did not have access, it did provide the opportunity for many foxiled members to attend for the first time.
The evening commenced with the formal proceeds of approving the previous years AGM minutes, reviewing the annual accounts in some depth and announcing that Alan Digby, Stuart Dawkins and Steve Moulds who had all stood down by rotation had all been duly re-elected to the board.
Dave Statham reported on the exercise that the Trust board members carried out during the early stages of the pandemic, contacting all members to check they were ok. (Dave has since contacted all who attended the AGM to gain feedback for planning future AGM’s)
Steve gave a comprehensive overview of the national picture covering the last year in the following areas:
Broadcasting – ensuring all games were covered and the reversal of Pay Per View
Football governance reviews
European competition reform
Return of Fans – protocols
VAR – FSA Working Group
Combating social media abuse
During the year Steve was elected as one of three FSA Premier League Network representatives to the National Council. Steve is also a member of the VAR Working Group and is part of the group monitoring and advising the Network on European competition developments.
The second half of the evening featured a Q & A session with current City captain Wes Morgan who answered many members questions before City legend Steve Walsh joined in with Wes, providing an interesting comparison when answering the same questions looking at the game, contrasting the different eras in terms of both on the pitch experiences and off the pitch training regimes.
The Trust board would like to thank all members who attended and LCFC Communications Director. Anthony Herlihy for arranging our Q & A guests.