Lady Luck at last for the history boys

Foxes 1 Southampton 0

Match report by Graham Tracey

When we’ve waited nearly 40 years for a semi-final, and the majority of our fans weren’t alive in 1969, we deserve a bit of luck when it matters. And it arrived in the 55th minute at Wembley, as Vardy hared down the left wing and centred for Iheanacho. His first shot was miles off target, but it rebounded perfectly from a bemused defender for our cup hero to calmly stroke home a historic goal for the club. We will have to play much, much better to overcome Chelsea, but come what may I think we will put in a better performance in May than this nerve-stricken showing.

There were memorable and slightly surreal scenes at full time, with our players showing how much it meant to them, and a good number of the supposed neutral 4,000 local crowd celebrating in Leicester colours. What a day awaits for our city in May, either for the lucky ones who will get a ticket, or for the many more watching in Leicestershire.

I am sure we will have the support of the whole country given Chelsea’s involvement in the breakaway league – all borne out of the nuisance factor of the likes of Leicester threatening to ‘steal’ places on merit. What a story for Jamie too – the first player who will have played in every round (including preliminary and qualifying) of the tournament – an echo of Andy King’s three divisions winners record.

The occasion seemed to get to us, but it got to Southampton more. Perez was predictably preferred to start ahead of the not match fit Maddison, with a surprising wing back flank switch with Castagne given the right and Ricardo the left. I don’t think this is the best permutation, although not a bad problem to have. I hoped for a quick start, but it soon became clear that it would not be a free-flowing and attacking game. There were a number of clumsy or ill-judged fouls, most worryingly when Vardy needed treatment in the first five minutes but was okay.

Perez was finding space, Ndidi was intercepting as usual, but no one had a sure touch and both sides were giving the ball away with frequency. We couldn’t get Tielemans on the ball with any meaning in the first half hour. One notable difference to league games was though that we weren’t scared to clear our lines in the old-fashioned way of the hoof, which I much prefer in an all or nothing game rather than the usual impression that our defenders’ match bonuses are based on how many times they can put Kasper under pressure with his feet.

Luckily, Southampton were faring no better, and Evans looked secure and Little Wes right on top of his game. There were no dangerous free kicks for Ward-Prowse to capitalise on. We did have the best two moves of the first half. A Perez – Vardy combination led to the Spaniard’s cross just eluding Iheanacho, and then when Vardy was sent through by Tielemans, he opted for an extra touch which took him just too wide for his dink over Forster to hit the target.

Hopes for a higher gear in the second half were again dashed, and the Saints looked stronger until the goal out of nothing. The rest of the game seemed to last for ever despite there ultimately being no scares – Southampton failed to have a shot on target all game, but it never felt like a done deal.

My main worry is that we would end with ten men, as Soyuncu didn’t moderate his game following a yellow card. One blatant shoulder barge on Ings could easily have changed the game. Substitutions in a one-off cup game are also tricky when extra time is in play  – you can’t just shut up shop and aim for a draw at worse. However, we made two really good ones – Albrighton for Ricardo and Maddison for Perez. Madders would have stolen the headlines for sure if he had sealed the win with either of two strikes from outside the box, one with each foot, which both went narrowly over or wide.

I am sure the final whistle was a poignant moment for many, who over the decades will have lost parents who introduced them to footy and City without ever getting to see a final with them. I am confident that we will finish the final with no regrets, and of course will spend every waking and dreaming moment of the next four weeks hoping that the trophy is lifted by our current players rather than Chilwell and Kante!

FOXES: Schmeichel 6, Castagne 6, Soyuncu 5, Evans 6, Fofana 7, Ricardo 6 (Albrighton 7), Ndidi 7, Tielemans 7, Perez 6 (Maddison 7), Vardy 7, Iheanacho 7.

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

“A blatant power grab” – Fans criticise own clubs on UCL plans

Europe’s biggest clubs have been roundly criticised by their own supporters today over plans to expand the Champions League.

Clubs that sit on the European Club Association (ECA) board, the body behind the push for radical reform to European club competition, have been told their plans are a “serious threat to the entire game”.

Fan groups from the 14 clubs represented on the board sent a joint letter to the ECA demanding an end to the plans and called on footballing authorities to stop making concessions to the continent’s most powerful clubs.

“We are the fans of today,” the fan groups said. “And we do not want more European games.

“We want strong, competitive domestic leagues, an equal opportunity to qualify for Europe based on sporting merit, and fairer sharing of the game’s wealth.”

Full FSA statement here

Read the full letter to the ECA here

The Foxes Trust, along with over 200 European fans groups have previously signed a letter opposing the scheme. If the proposal gets the go ahead Leicester City could find themselves in a lower competition than their League place deserves losing it to a club based lower in the table who have a “history” of being in European competition.

Foxes Trust ask for fan consultation of FA Cup Final tickets

With Leicester being in the FA Cup Semi-Final for the first time since 1982, fans are gutted that they will not be able to attend, although the vast majority fully understand the reasons why.

Ian Bason, Foxes Trust Chairman, explains: “Our focus has turned to the FA Cup Final where it has been reported that 20,000 fans of the competing clubs could attend.  Of course, we recognise that the finalists have not yet been decided, but we feel we have to speak up now as once again fans are not being consulted on significant issues and our passion for the game not being recognised.

We want a break with the traditional allocation of FA Cup final tickets to a multitude of different recipients, and for ALL tickets for the game evenly split between the fans of the two finalists.”

The Foxes Trust is asking for the backing of all fellow Premier League fans groups and also for the clubs involved to lobby the FA directly on ticket allocations.

The Foxes Trust is also asking for the authorities who are proposing the use of vaccine certificates for football events to enter into dialogue with the Football Supporters Association (FSA) now on the practicalities.

This consultation has failed to take place for the Carrabao cup final, which has been criticised by fans groups of the clubs involved in a joint statement Latest News from the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust – Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust (thstofficial.com)

Bason said, “A far more effective implementation could be achieved by having discussions with the FSA, we have a range of issues to raise and these are best discussed pro-actively now, rather than hitting obstacles further down the line which would then be far more difficult to resolve.”

Ian Bason said: “Regarding the semi-final match, we understand the cautious approach being taken with attendees solely from the local Brent community.  However, we would request that the authorities and media companies stop constant references to 4,000 ‘fans’ attending the game.  With Leicester and Southampton supporters not permitted to attend, this will not be a match played in front of fans, simply one played in front of invited spectators.”

Press release issued to the local media April 12th

Foxes Trust notes fans feeling frustrated and let down by players’ Covid breach

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 runThe 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

Is lightning going to strike twice?

West Ham 3 City 2

Report by Kate Thompson 

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