End Of Season Review 2020-21 Part Two

The second of our series of end of season articles from members who write match reports across the season features Tish Krokosz’s views on last season and looking forwards to next.

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

I thought the poor end to the previous season would carry on and affect City’s start to 2020/21. I thought they would finish 8th, so a repeat of finishing 5th was not so bad.

Going into the final weeks of the season what was more important to you, winning the FA Cup or qualifying for the Champions League ?

As they had never won the FA Cup, I was very much in favour of City seriously attempting to do so this season. I am sure that the financial benefits would have been higher by qualifying for the Champions League but, on this occasion, the win at Wembley was of greater importance to me.

Given how the season panned out, in terms of success how do you rate it out of 10 and why?

I would give it 8½. I deduct a point for not getting further in the Europa Cup and another point for not ending in the top four. But there is a bonus ½ for winning the FA Cup. However, considering the number of injuries, I think the team did wonderfully.

What was your personal highlight of the season?

Winning the FA Cup – especially against Chelsea!

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

Yes. He was played more consistently and was able to show his strengths this season. I hope he stays with City and continues to improve.

Until their respective injuries, I think Barnes and Justin were having very good seasons. I hope they recover quickly and do not lose any of the impetus that has accompanied their play this year.

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

Ünder was underwhelming and never really got going.

Castagne was a good buy and can be exciting going forward. He made up for the loss of form of Pereira.

Fofana was another good purchase. He is excellent considering his age but should improve further as he gains more experience.

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

Kelechi Iheanacho. Although he has been with City for a few years, this season has shown that he can come up with the goods when asked. The statistics for goals scored support the view, perhaps, that, given a regular place in the starting eleven, he can increase his tally of goals scored even further.

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

Although he did not get much game time, I would pick Choudhury. He did not seem to have much influence in any of the games that I saw.

In a season of many injuries, which players injury do you think had the most detrimental effect on our season ?

As there were so many, that is a hard one to answer. The injuries to Maddison and Barnes affected the flair, creativity and excitement that we like to see, but the injuries to the defenders was probably more detrimental in terms of results. The withdrawal of Evans before the Newcastle game had a disastrous effect for the result of that match and the run-in to the end of the season. Ultimately, though, I think it was the sheer volume of injuries rather than individual ones that hurt the most.

VAR – with our view via our armchair for nearly all the games, how do you feel about its effectiveness last season and what would you change?

Most of the contentious issues regarding VAR are really in respect of the rules of the game rather than the VAR’s interpretation of such rules. If the system can identify obvious errors made by the referee or assistant referee, then it must be better than the previous alternatives. It would have been a travesty if Chilwell’s run at the end of the FA Cup match had gone unpunished with the possibility of City losing to Chelsea.

Moving onto next season

If you had to choose one position where we needed to strengthen, what would it be?

If current media reports are to be believed, City should be close to signing an attacker and a midfielder. As the loss of Morgan and Fuchs reduces the defensive numbers, I believe an experienced central defender is required.

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

Someone who has experience of playing against stubborn European opposition would be helpful.

A tall player with presence in the penalty area when defending corners and set pieces would also be helpful. We let in too many goals in this situation.

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 would like to see some of the younger players make a contribution in the domestic cup matches. Josh Knight, Kamal Sowah and Kiernan Dewsbury- Hall had rave reviews at their respective loan clubs. We have seen the improvement from youngsters like Luke Thomas; let the others have this increased exposure to determine their long-term viability.

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

Not knowing who is available currently, I would not be able to advise him on new players, but I would strongly urge him to ensure that Youri Tielemans agrees to a better contract with City and does not move to Liverpool or Manchester United.

What are your expectations and fears for next season?

My expectations are that City will concentrate on doing well in the Europa competition and reach further than they did last season. Consequently, less importance would be placed on the domestic cup matches.

Having suffered with so many injuries last season, my greatest concern would be that they linger on and have a detrimental effect on the next season too. Players who have undergone long periods of illness or injury often find it difficult to regain their previous standards. I think Maddison and Pereira come into this category and have yet to achieve the high levels shown in previous years. It would be a tragedy if Barnes and Justin followed a similar pattern.

Any other observation you would like to make

Whilst Brendan Rodgers has been at City, we have qualified for Europe in successive seasons and we have won the FA Cup. That is a marvellous achievement and thanks should go to him for his contribution. He should also be supported after his obvious refusal to be snatched by Spurs.

I am disappointed that the League has not punished the six “renegade” teams that wanted to form an ESL with a greater penalty.

I know it was not financially viable, but it is a shame that the stadium expansion could not have been completed during a season where there were virtually no fans and therefore no disruption to their view of matches.

City had some magnificent away results during last season. This was not matched by an equally successful home run with too many losses against teams that we know could have been beaten. With fans coming back next season (hopefully), I hope this trend will not continue but will give more success for home fans to see.

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

End Of Season Review 2020-21 Part One

We thought we would wait a few weeks from the end of the season before asking our match reporters for their thoughts…

Today we start of usual end of season series of articles asking the members who write match reports across the season to give their thoughts on last season and look forwards to next.

Kate Thompson begins with her thoughts

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

As every season, to win the FA Cup – and we finally did it!  Otherwise, I hoped we would finish in a European place but I wasn’t too fussed about the Champions League.

Going into the final weeks of the season what was more important to you, winning the FA Cup or qualifying for the Champions League ?

Absolutely no contest, the FA Cup.

Given how the season panned out, in terms of success how do you rate it out of 10 and why?

I would say 7 or 8.  We achieved one thing we had never done before and, considering the number of injuries we had to key players, I think it can be counted as a successful season.

What was your personal highlight of the season?

Again, no contest.  It has to be winning the FA Cup.

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

I would have voted for Jonny Evans; when he was injured, it became clear how crucial he is to the team.  As Tielemans was lucky with injuries, this didn’t arise with him.

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

Generally very good.  Fofana stands out but I was sorry that Under didn’t continue his excellent start.

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

Harvey Barnes (until he got injured).  I thought he really stepped up to the plate and who knows what he would have achieved if he had stayed injury free.

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

Now that my usual choice (Gray) has left, I don’t think anyone under-performed, although Maddison was a shadow of his former self when he returned from injury; Pereira had a disappointing return but hopefully this will not be permanent.

In a season of many injuries, which players injury do you think had the most detrimental effect on our season ?

Evans, Maddison, Barnes and Justin.

VAR – with our view via our armchair for nearly all the games, how do you feel about its effectiveness last season and what would you change?

I don’t really like it but I think it is here to stay.  Hopefully the change in the handball rule will be helpful, but the marginal offside decisions are ruining the game.  I would like to see football referees’ discussions able to be heard by those watching, as happens in rugby.

Moving onto next season

If you had to choose one position where we needed to strengthen, what would it be?

I think the coaches have already identified these – another striker, another offensive midfield player, left back and right wing-back.

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

Perhaps more players from the Development Squad being involved; those who came in last season did not disgrace themselves.

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 prefer younger players, although Evans proves the exception.  Ryan Bertrand at left back would be a useful addition in the short term.

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

As usual, I don’t know enough to be able to answer this one.

What are your expectations and fears for next season?

Top half of the table – and would it be greedy to want another good cup run?  It is so nice that the team now seems to be a good Premier League outfit and it is fantastic not to be constantly worrying about relegation!

Any other observation you would like to make

I just look forward to watching the players live again.

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

Fan-Led Review – Living up to its Name

The Foxes Trust contributed directly to the Fan-Led Review by presenting to the panel on Monday evening, as one of 6 Premier League Fans Groups who were asked to make presentations.

Foxes Trust members will be able to read the evidence we submitted in the next members newsletter, however an overview of the session is available here

This followed on from presentation from Championship Fans Groups on June 8th summary available here

On Tuesday 15th it was the turn of League One and Two fans summary available here

This was followed on the 16th by Fans For Diversity summary available here

Several Premier League Trusts also made separate presentations, mainly fans from clubs who briefly were about to join the European Super League plus Newcastle where the club’s willingness to have dialogue with their fans groups is always been challenging.

The Football Supporters Association have presented very detailed proposals which runs to over 200 pages.

Also on Monday night, MPs debated two petitions to Parliament calling for the introduction of an independent football regulator and the “50+1” rule into the UK game. The session was led by Jonathan Gullis MP who met with the Foxes Trust last week and indeed made reference to it in the early minutes of the debate.

The entire debate is available here with all attending in favour of independent regulation. During the debate Jane Hunt, MP for Loughborough and the surrounding area, shared the views of the Foxes Trust, Jane’s contribution starts at around 47 minutes.

Foxes Trust Political Lobbying Receives Good Response

The Foxes Trust has continued dialogue with a number of local MPs about the Government’s Fan-Led Review of football.

Our most recent meeting was with Jane Hunt, MP for Loughborough and the surrounding area, which includes the new training ground at Seagrave. She asked for a meeting at which we discussed the Trust’s relationship with the club across several owners since forming nearly 20 years ago, as well as providing a greater understanding of what the Trust hopes the Fan-Led Review will achieve.

In a previous article we featured a meeting with Liz Kendall, Leicester West MP, who after the meeting wrote to Tracey Crouch MP who is leading the Review, and received the following reply:

I have received your letter following your meeting with the Foxes Trust. I just wanted to assure you that I have been asked to make interim recommendations by the summer and a full report in October/Autumn. You’ll note that the Terms of Reference for the review do look into both an independent regulator and much more meaningful engagement with fans at board level. Although I think after the FA cup victory, many are looking enviously at the relationship the LCFC owners has with his fans.”

Leicester South MP, Jon Ashworth, whose constituency includes the King Power Stadium, also wrote to the Department for Culture Media and Sport and received a response from John Whittingdale, who is Minster of State for Media and Data, while Andrew Bridgen MP, representing North West Leicestershire, received a similar response from Nigel Huddleston, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Tourism.

MP for Harborough, Neil O’Brien also wrote to Tracey Crouch, Alberto Costa, MP for South Leicestershire wrote to the Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden and Dr Luke Evans, MP for Bosworth, has written to The Department for Culture Media & sport, to Tracey Crouch MP and to other organisations involved with football.

All the MPs detailed above have offered further assistance as the Review progresses.

Foxes Trust Board member, Stuart Dawkins, who coordinates the Trust’s contact with national and local politicians, commented: “It is great that our local MPs are keen and willing to engage and take action on the Fan-Led Review of football and we thank them, for their time. Circumstances, notably the plans for a European Super League, have set up a chance for there to be real change on the topic. Let us hope that the Review and Government use that opportunity well.”

Loan Reports – Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

Today, Kevin Harper, Media Officer of the Luton Town Supporters Trust reports on a very successful loan spell.

Picture courtesy of Gareth Owen (Luton Town club photographer)

“When Luton Town signed Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall on loan for the 2020/21 campaign, I have to admit I wasn’t sure what we were getting. I knew he had a few games for Blackpool the season before but in truth I had never heard of him.

I knew we were getting someone talented though. I could work that much out from the reaction to his signing of our manager Nathan Jones, who claimed at the time that his eye had been on Kiernan for a while. He spoke with a passion that suggested we’d signed someone good.

Good doesn’t really cover it though. What we would go on to see throughout the course of the campaign was the makings of a special footballer, one who I’ve gone on record as saying he is the best I’ve seen in a Luton shirt since the days of us winning the League Cup in 1988.

It took a few weeks for Dewsbury-Hall to establish himself in our squad but from the moment he made his debut at Sheffield Wednesday in October you could immediately tell he was something special.

His comfort on the ball was immediately apparent as was the confidence to want the ball despite having been with us for less than three weeks. Then there is his quality which is of an extremely high level.

We are a side who switched between formations for a lot of last term as we evolve in the Championship. We would switch between 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3 and occasionally into a three at the back one before finishing the campaign in our diamond formation which unearthed James Justin a few seasons ago.

Dewsbury-Hall was comfortable in all of them. He played the deeper position in a 4-2-3-1, the left side of the three in the middle in a 4-3-3 and on the left side of the diamond and shone in all of them.

He is extremely comfortable on the ball and his left foot is a wand. He is a player who finds space with ease and doesn’t take the easy option, he’ll be brave on the ball and play the pass that is best for the team.

If you go by his pure statistics with us you would think he had an average season but don’t let that fool you. He would have had a lot more assists had our forwards had their shooting boots on.

Furthermore, despite Covid-19 restrictions, I got to know Kiernan a little through a couple of interviews I did with him for our podcast and our Virtual Awards Evening – where he scooped four awards. He is a nice guy who has an obvious confidence and belief in his ability without being arrogant with it.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall was brilliant for us. It was a joy to watch him play. I’ve absolutely no doubts he is going to go right to the very top and be a superstar, although I certainly won’t complain if he fancies another season developing his skills at Kenilworth Road!

We thank Kiernan for the season he gave us and look forward to following the career of a man we’ll be hearing a lot of over the years to come.”

You can read more about Luton Town Supporters Trust here