The run continues

Brighton 0 City 2

Report by Kate Thompson

Like the Crystal Palace game, this was one where I thought we might come unstuck, but as most pundits went for a Brighton win, I was happy to be proved wrong.

City started strongly and could have scored within minutes of the start; Barnes hit a shot just over the bar, Perez hit the bar and Vardy had a header saved by Ryan.  At this stage it was looking good and the awful weather reminded us of games against Newcastle and Southampton in the pouring rain – and they both turned out well! 

As the game went on and City dominated without scoring, some doubts started to creep in.  Brighton finished the first half the stronger and carried on in the second half; despite this it turned out that they didn’t have a single shot on target. 

Finally, in the 64th minute City broke the deadlock.  From a Brighton corner, the players broke quickly with Vardy, as ever, spring-heeled and leaving the defenders for dead.  Very unselfishly, considering an almost identical move only minutes before broke down when Perez took too long, he squared the ball for a simple tap-in for the Spaniard.  How many players in a similar situation would have thought ‘Well he messed it up last time, I am going to have a go myself now’. 

Only minutes later Vardy was one on one with Ryan but the goalkeeper made a good block.  Brighton had their chances and might have had a penalty; fortunately, Mike Dean waved away any appeals and it seemed that the Brighton player had made a meal of it.

In the 82nd minute Gray was fouled just inside the box, for what seemed a rather soft penalty.  Vardy struck the ball well as ever, but Ryan guessed the right way and pushed it away, only for Maddison to follow up with a good header.

Then VAR came into play and it appeared that several players had encroached into the box before Vardy took the penalty, so it was taken again and this time he made no mistake. 

So that is five games on the bounce for him – is he going to beat his own record?!  Incidentally, is that the first time that Dean has been kind to Leicester? 

Maddison later tweeted that it was not the 23rd birthday present he hoped for and it was ages before the scoreboard removed the goal symbol next to his name.

Despite Brighton’s lack of fire power they worked hard but the defence held firm, with Soyuncu continuing his impressive season.  Evans had to go off in the 62nd minute and was replaced by Morgan; Rodgers said afterwards that it was only cramp and that Johnny had not been able to train fully after a few days in hospital for an undisclosed stomach problem. 

Praet replaced Perez in the 70th minute and Gray came on for Barnes in the 78th.  

Once again Leicester proved that a team who play for each other can beat 11 so-called super stars any day of the week.  The one player who was somewhat below his normal excellent standard was Tielemans, but it hardly mattered.  So we continue to dream.

Brighton: Ryan, Montoya, Duffy, Webster, Burn, Mooy, Propper, Stephens, Trossard, March, Maupay. Subs: Balogun,  Schelotto, Button, Murray, Jahanbakhsh, Bissouma, Groß

Leicester: Schmeichel, Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell, Ndidi, Perez, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes, Vardy. Subs: Ward. Morgan, Iheanacho, Gray, Albrighton. Praet. Justin

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

FSA -The Fans’ Manifesto

In a little over three weeks millions of football fans will head out to cast their vote in December’s General Election – and the main political parties will be publishing manifestos including policies which could affect football.

With that in mind the FSA has pulled together some core campaign ideas and asked all the major political parties whether they support The Fans’ Manifesto.

The FSA does not favour one political party over another and football fans come from all walks of society. That means supporters can have wildly different views but we do think every fan should be informed and we aim to help with that. It’s then up to each fan where they put their X.

The Fans’ Manifesto:

Grassroots – Share the wealth

  • At a time when there is more money in and around football than ever before we should be enjoying a golden age of grassroots football. No local club or school team should have to endure crumbling infrastructure or lack of funds to encourage participation and develop tomorrow’s star players. The FSA wants to see more of the wealth of football – and of those like agents and betting companies who live off it – used to support the base of the game.

Standing – Stand Up for Choice

  • The existing legislation which aims to stop supporters standing at the game is deeply unpopular and should be scrapped. We believe there are different mixes of stewarding approaches and standing technologies which clubs can use to manage fans standing at football and it should be up to each club, in conjunction with its supporters and the local Safety Advisory Group, to develop appropriate stadium plans based on sound and rigorous risk assessment. The FSA believes clubs and fans should be empowered to work together to decide what mix of standing and seated areas is right for them.

Transport – Flexible football rail tickets

  • Supporters travel the length and breadth of the country following their club, often at great expense, while working around last-minute changes to games due to TV demands or football schedule clashes. The introduction of an affordable and flexible rail ticket which is tied to a game, rather than a date, could reduce costs for fans and generate new revenue for train operators at times which are often outside peak hours. The Premier League and EFL support this concept: the FSA calls on government to make it happen.

Governance and regulation – Protect our pyramid and heritage

  • Football is our biggest cultural expression of community identity and no other country exhibits such depth of support for clubs from the top to the bottom of the pyramid, yet this heritage can be at the mercy of unscrupulous and incompetent owners. The football authorities must be required to establish an independent process of regulation for professional clubs with a tougher Owners and Directors Test, increased financial transparency, and a requirement of owners to exercise proper stewardship over clubs, all in close co-operation with supporters’ organisations.

Equality – No to discrimination

  • A commitment to diversity and inclusion underpins all of the FSA’s activity and we oppose all forms of discrimination or violence in relation to football. To this end, we call for a real engagement and investment in promoting inclusion and combatting discrimination in football. The Football (Offences) Act should be extended so that it is not limited to ‘racialist or indecent chanting’ but includes all protected characteristics from the Equality Act.

The FSA’s remit is very wide and The Fans’ Manifesto has a specific focus on areas which we believe will engage political parties. If you’d like to read more about all of our work check out our Annual Review.

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Going to Brighton ?

Brighton FC   

Directions By Road     SAT NAV: BN1 9BL (or try BN1 9SD if you have problems)

The stadium is located at Falmer on the outskirts of Brighton, very close to the University of Sussex.

At the end of the M23, continue onto the A23, heading towards Brighton. At the roundabout which is the junction with the A27, take the A27 towards Lewes. After around four miles you will see the stadium on your right hand side. Leave at the A27 and take the slip road sign posted Falmer (B2123). At the top of the slip road turn right crossing back over the A27 and the entrance to the stadium is down on the right.

There is no parking at the stadium for away fans (although coaches and minibuses will be allowed to park providing that they have been pre-booked with the Club) and there is a large no parking zone in force around the area of the stadium on matchdays.

Park & Ride

The Club are encouraging fans to use the Park & Ride services located at three different locations; Mill Road, Brighton Racecourse and Mithras House at Brighton University.

Probably the easiest for away fans to locate is Mill Road, as it is just off the A23/A27 junction. However, this is by far the busiest of the three, so if you have time on your hands consider using one of the other alternatives. The capacity of Mill Road is 500 cars. The road is located next to a BP garage, which (if coming down from London) you will see over on your right at the top of the slip road off the A23.

The Park & Ride is open from 12 noon on Saturdays (with last departure at 2.30pm) and 5.30pm for evening kick offs. The last buses return from the stadium 90 minutes after the end of the game. Please note that vehicles must removed no later than two hours after the game has ended.

Approx 163 miles, 3 hour travelling

By Train

The nearest railway station is Falmer, which is situated right by the stadium. Brighton Central Railway Station is over four miles away from the stadium. So either get a train, taxi or bus up to the stadium. Brighton & Hove Bus No 25 operates a regular service (every 12 minutes) up to the stadium from Central Brighton, as do Bus Numbers 28 & 29. However be aware that trains back can be extremely crowded and you may need to wait a long while.

Train takes approx 3hours 30 mins .  Super Off Peak return £88.70 but singles may be cheaper. There is a bus replacement service on part of the journey

Pubs

There is little in the immediate vicinity around the stadium
Outside Brighton Mainline Station there are a number of excellent pubs. The Evening Star, on Surrey Street is away fan friendly and only two a minute walk away from the station. If arriving at the Mill Road Park & Ride then a little further on down London Road (A23) on the left is the Black Lion pub which is a Harvester outlet. 

 

Please check the cost and times of trains etc. All information is provided in good faith but the Foxes Trust cannot be held responsible for any errors. With thanks to Brighton and Hove Albion FC and the Football Ground Guide

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Covering every angle

During this international break, Matt Davis from the Trust caught up with Rob Tanner to find out more about his thoughts on Leicester City and what he is doing nowadays.

About LCFC

At the start of the season how did you honestly expect Leicester to do?

I thought they would do well, but I didn’t think they would start this well. There had been no hiding the ambition. Top six and European qualification was the target. Rodgers had said so last season and the club stated it in the last financial report, but now they look like a Champions League challenging side.

There was a sense of the unknown about Leicester this season. Rodgers had a few months to assess his squad last season but we weren’t quite sure how they would line-up this campaign. There was also the question of how big a loss Harry Maguire would be, especially after they walked away from trying to sign James Tarkowski just before the deadline.

However, the football that have played has been wonderful to watch. City’s start, tailored with some of the Big Six having their own issues, gives me confidence they can sustain this challenge all season. 

Why do you think we've had such a good start to the season?

They are well organised. Each player knows what is expected from them both in and out of possession. Rodgers has his philosophy of how he wants to play and he ensures the players understand what is expected of them. It is an effective, intense style of play and while other clubs are still struggling to find their own identity and style of play, most notably Arsenal, City seem to understand who they are and what they are good at. That gives them confidence when they go out to play. Doubt is removed from their minds. They have bought into Rodgers’ way and believe in it.

Who in your view has excelled and why?

There are so many who have excelled. The entire starting 11 have done superbly well, but you would have to pick out Caglar Soyuncu. There were question marks about him stepping in for Maguire but he has been fantastic. Credit to Jonny Evans too for helping him settle straight into that back four. Wilfred Ndidi has been fantastic at screening that back four and his tackle stats are phenomenal, while James Maddison and Youri Tielemans have provided midfield guile. Of course, as ever, Jamie Vardy is the main man and talisman. Twenty goals in just 22 league games under Rodgers is an incredible goal ratio.

What do you think to the buys this season?

Signing Youri Tielemans was important and I am glad they got that deal done. The fee is actually around £32 million, so less than was originally thought too, although there will be bonuses depending on performance. Ayoze Perez has taken time to settle I after his move from Newcastle but if he can replicate the form he showed at Southampton regularly he will be a real asset too. Sometimes it just takes a while for new signings to gel into this squad and get to know Rodgers’ system.

I really like Dennis Praet. He looks ready-made for English football. He is an all-rounder. He is good on the ball but is physically strong too.

We haven’t seen much of James Justin yet because of the form of Ricardo, but from what I have seen he looks a good player and is versatile. His time will come. Overall, I have been impressed with the transfer business. It was the best window for quite some time.

Where do you think we need to further strengthen if at all?

We need to prepare for when Wes Morgan finishes by bringing in another centre back. Filip Benkovic has struggled for fitness in the early part of the season and I would be concerned if there were injuries or suspensions for Evans and Soyuncu. Also, we need more goals from the front three, so that might be an area Rodgers looks at possibly in January but certainly next summer.

 

How do you think this squad compares to the 15/16 squad?

In terms of the whole squad, there is more strength in depth with this squad than the title-winning one, and while I would argue individually there may be more attacking talent in the current crop, that team of 2015-16 were so effective and very consistent. They are legends. They had their counter attacking style and had two amazing match winners in Mahrez and Vardy that season. Time will tell if this generation can achieve something special too.

Where do you think we'll finish this season?

Judging by what I have seen this season so far, and not just from Leicester, I believe a top four place is realistic and achievable. I would love to go on another European Tour. 

What is Brendan Rogers best strengths?

Communication, which was arguably Puel’s biggest weakness. Rodgers is brilliant at making everyone feel part of what he is trying to achieve. His first step was to get the senior players on side, like Vardy, Morgan and Fuchs, and he spends a lot of time talking individually to his players. His door is always open for a chat.

He has done the same with the media. At the first press conference he decided the written media would sit down with him in the players’ lounge around a table and talk on and off the record, rather than in a formal setting. The writers loved that and he still does that today. 

About you:

What's your proudest moment in your journalism career?

Following Leicester’s greatest achievement, the 2016 title win and the subsequent European tour, were amazing and I am very proud of the book I wrote on that season, 5000-1.

Also, right at the start of my career, when I was a news journalist on my hometown newspaper, the Tamworth Herald, I interviewed an old miner about the history of the industry in the area, but he also told me a story about a Tamworth war hero whose actions helped shorten the war. Colin Grazier died while rescuing enigma code books from a stricken u-boat, which were used to secretly decode the enigma machines. His sacrifice was hidden by the official secrets act for decades, initially because they didn’t want the Germans to know they could crack the codes. As a result he never really got the recognition he deserved. I wrote the story and my deputy editor launched a campaign which resulted in a huge memorial being erected in the main square in the town centre. I feel great pride whenever I walk through town now and see it because it all began with that article.

What is your funniest LCFC moment whilst working for the Leicester Mercury?

There were always some pranks going on when we used to do media down the training ground. I have had Craig Shakespeare deliberately call me phone while I was interviewing players, to see if I had switched it off, and when I turn around he has been laughing, watching through the window at me getting flustered with Macca and other members of staff. I have also had tennis balls thrown at me by Paul Gallagher while interviewing and there was also the funny sight of Richie Wellens pinching Macca’s van and driving it away while Macca was trying to load it up. 

Who is your dream LCFC player to interview?

In terms of dream, as in which player I would love to interview as a Leicester player, it would be Lionel Messi, and I was in the Mix Zone after the game in Stockholm, but he wasn’t giving interviews. He was more concerned with getting Vardy’s shirt.

In terms of Leicester players who I have interviewed, there have been some good ones over the years. I always liked David Nugent, because he was a good talker and comical, and he would speak his mind too. Christian Fuchs is entertaining and very friendly. So was Gallagher and Wellens, but the one I speak too the most and get on with the best has to be my fellow Tammie, Marc Albrighton.

I would love to interview Marcin Wasilewski though. I never did in all the time he was at the club. He wouldn’t do them. That has become a mission now.

Who was the easiest LCFC manager to interview?

I had a baptism of fire with Nigel, but over time, as he came to trust me better, he was interesting to interview because he liked to be challenged by questions. If you asked him stock questions he would give you stock answers. If you asked him tougher questions you would get better answers, depending on his mood. Ranieri was the most entertaining in terms of his responses, but Craig Shakespeare was the warmest and friendliest, until Brendan Rodgers. He is very good as he remembers people’s names and uses them when he responds. That may not sound like a big thing, but I see that as showing respect to the journalists. So far it has been a pleasure to talk to Brendan.

About your recent transfer:

Firstly when did you move to the Mercury and why?

I was working for the Birmingham Post and Mail, but I wasn’t really a number one writer for any of the clubs. I would be asked to cover West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Walsall mainly, as the two big clubs, Blues and Aston Villa, were taken by more senior writers. I had an interview for another position at the Mercury a while before, but the position was pulled. Then, out of the blue, Chris Goddard, the former Sports Editor, called me as they were looking for Bill Anderson’s replacement. It was a chance to be a number one writer on a club. I went in and had a two hour meeting with the Editor, Keith Perch, but we didn’t really talk about the job, just football. They gave me the job and I started covering City at the beginning of their first campaign back in the Championship ten years ago. It has been an astonishing ride ever since. I have had so many special experiences and I cherish some wonderful memories.

Where are you working now and can you tell me a bit more about the organisation?

I was approached in the summer to join The Athletic. After ten years at the Mercury I was ready for a new challenge. The local newspaper industry is changing and I wasn’t happy with some of the work I was asked to do, and I was looking at other opportunities when this came along. I am still covering Leicester, which I love, but in a very different way now.

The Athletic began in the USA. It is a sports website and app that focuses on in-depth feature writing and after a successful first few years in the States they have come to the Premier League and recruited some really good writers, such as Oli Kay, Dan Taylor, David Ornstein and Stuart James. They targeted the club writers on local papers covering the Premier League clubs, and that is my brief with Leicester. 

What is the business model for the Athletic based on and why?

It is a subscription service. It is the first time in my career I haven’t been involved in a newspaper. The current subscription discount means it can cost as little as £2.50 per month and for that you get access to all the football features and American sports produced by all the writers.

The original idea was to invest in quality journalism, which has been in decline for some years now, and promote the art of sports writing, but it is not a direct threat to newspapers, many of which still contain some wonderful writing. It just offers something different.

How does your role differ now compared to the Mercury?

The big difference is time. Whereas at the Mercury I would probably produce up to six short stories a day, based around what has been said in press conferences and after games, now I produce three to four in-depth articles per week. I have time to research my stories and speak to as many people in the game as possible so my articles can be in-depth.  For example, I was given the chance to travel to New York and visit Christian Fuchs’ sports complex in Warwick, which used to be a prison. It still looks like a prison in many respects, but Christian and his wife Raluca have big plans for the place. I was able to sit and watch a game with them. That wouldn’t have been possible at the Mercury.

Everything I write has to be different than you can read elsewhere. I don’t do match reports or quote pieces from press conferences, because you can read that everywhere else, so I have to think of an angle for a game. For example, at Luton I watched the game with James Justin’s dad. I hit the jackpot as James scored his first goal for the club that night.

If supporters want to subscribe how do they go about it?

Visit the website: theathletic.com, or download the app. Look out for special offer tweets from our writers which contain codes for discounted subscriptions.

Why should supporters subscribe?

I used to get feedback that fans were fed up of clickbait headlines, pop up ads and videos. The Athletic is advert free and easy to read. It is pure sports writing without distractions, and we have a great team of writers producing a wide variety of content. It is worth checking out with a free trial.

Trust Encourage Participation In EuroFit Programme

Foxes Trust are actively seeking to work closer with Leicester City in The Community (LCitC). Recently LCitC announced the rerun of its EuroFit Programme, https://www.lcfc.com/news/1493758/join-lcfcs-eurofit-programme

We would urge all to consider if the programme suits their needs, if you think it might be for you then you may be encouraged by Martin’s story.

My EuroFIT Experience – Martin Spencer (2nd from left, participant in the very first EuroFIT)

I was an office worker approaching 60 years of age and I was overweight, unfit and a real couch potato.

I desperately wanted to change to a more healthy lifestyle but did not want the intensity of going to the gym. I also needed advice on diet and nutrition and wanted to be sitting down less.

It was February 2018 and a good friend advised me of a 12 week health programme, called EuroFIT that the Leicester City Community Trust were providing and would I like to join him?

I thought it would help me achieve my goals and with sessions being held at the King Power Stadium, it ticked all my boxes. The home of the football club I have loved all my life. What could be better?

I enrolled and it has absolutely transformed my life.

There were 20 of us that enrolled, all with the same goals in mind, the majority of participants are good friends to this day and we went on a journey of learning how to eat and drink healthier and exercise more but not in a too strenuous manner.

We all lost weight (I lost half a stone, but many lost more) and some inches off our waists.

We exercised in the stadium’s concourses, walked around the pitch and around the outside of the stadium, walked up and down the stands and we played walking football in the club car park. Step counters were provided and we were set goals to increase our step count on a weekly basis, both at our sessions and during the course of the week ahead.

This was all done under the careful eye of LCFC Community Manager Matt Bray who was amazing in so far as he was knowledgeable, a good fitness and nutrition coach and he did not ask us to do anything that was beyond us. He took an interest in us all as individuals which everyone appreciated.

At the end of the course and as a reward for our commitment and hard work, Matt arranged for us all to have the opportunity and thrill of playing walking football on the pitch at the King Power Stadium, something that we will all hold as a treasured memory forever.

Since the end of our EuroFIT experience, many of the participants of the course have continued to meet up and play walking football on a weekly basis.

For people like me who wanted to make a change to a healthier lifestyle and are Leicester City supporters, I could not recommend this course more. It is one of the best things I have ever done and I hope to continue to exercise and eat and drink healthier for the rest of my life.

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