Nextpectations


So I’ve been bored again, and wanted to do another LCFC video after my last one.

 

 

As that’s a little out of date, it makes sense now we’re in the Premiership to make one that’s not going to go out of date within a week!

So here it is, it’s not finished so please don’t be too harsh!

 

 

However I’d like to fill it out as the season progresses, but I wonder whether you’d like to be involved? If you’d like a photograph or video of yourself at a game, on the way to a game, watching the match celebrating etc, then please do post them on my Facebook page, and I will add them to the video:

Spherical Fox Blog – Facebook

By the way I don’t make any money whatsoever doing this, it’s a hobby, and one that I’m not exactly great at! But practice makes perfect, and it keeps my idle hands busy!

I’ll be putting mind to digits following our Arsenal match, so keep an eye out for my blabblings on our season so far, the drama of our transfer window, and my thoughts on the year ahead! (I know you can hardly contain yourself! Ha!)

Up the Foxes!

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The Money Shot


I always seem to be apologising for my lack of writing with some lame excuse. It truly has been some time since my last tippety-tap on the keyboard related to Leicester City Football Club and the sharing of my unqualified and probably unwanted views.

If you’re interested since my last foray of self-indulgence and cry for attention, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing my second child being brought into the world through the fine efforts of my wife.

The day that we went for the scan, we parked in the hospital car park, and were stepping out of the car, Kasabian’s ‘Club Foot’ came blasting on the radio. I took this as a sign that it was going to be boy. This small omen was indeed true. I knew that I was indeed going to be passing down my infatuation with all things Leicester City to my unfortunate unborn heir.

Now that was many, many months ago, and he was born in to the world early June. Our first transfer of the season. <cough>

So there you go, only two weeks after he was born I unfortunately had to move house, so I had another excuse to not sit down and culminate my thoughts and assertions on last season and the season’s expectation ahead.

So do I have a sufficient excuse for parlaying my musings, and making further rubbish videos for, what seems my own amusement? I don’t think anyone else is losing sleep, not like I currently am!

Season of the Twitch

I have to say that last season for me was exceptionally cruel. I felt that the exercise that Pearson was putting in place to cut down costs and still fight for a playoff place was always going to be difficult one. High earners who on the books were actually harming and stifling our chances of not only last season, but this seasons transfers.

Pearson pared back the team to bare bones, with the 2nd smallest team in the league.

Our last minute push into the promotional places was a surprise to me. Lady luck graced us for once, and we crept through on fortunate results going our way.

Reflecting back on the turning points of the last 3 seasons, it seems that we have always been one kick from putting our demons and bad luck behind us. Each of these more devastating than the last.

La Folie des Grandeurs

So leading on to our current season, a minority of our fans had us written off before we even kicked a ball, and felt justified within 20 minutes of our first game against Middlesbrough.

From all forums and mediums came the negatives, and the further calling for Pearson’s head. Justification for their all-summer braying? It seems that once the game finished there was an eerie silence. After a few days of hiding, slowly they came out to evidence that it was only one game, and that indeed we’d be shite the next game. 90 minutes proved nothing.

Well to an extent this is true. Our broadcasted display against Leeds last week was certainly nothing to crow about, but a defiant display by Leeds, well organised, and set out to both disrupt and nullify our new formation worked a treat for them. McDermott is no fool, and a decent manager. Whilst they stopped us from making chances, equally, and more positively we did the same to them. If we can achieve this against the teams in the coming season, who on paper, have exceptionally strong squads we might again push for the play-offs at least.

Cutting the Cloth to Suit the Wardrobe

wardrobe bits

So it looks as though, with the transfer window slowly closing we are not going to be doing much business. It’s clear the FFP rules have hampered our ins and outs, and we’ve downsized our wardrobe, which was being put together with allen keys and a rusty monkey wrench last season, to the distress and dismay of some, and seemingly the breakdown of others this summer.

Suit You Sir!

Our owners have brought in Terry Robinson as Director of Football. Terry’s remit hasn’t been made clear by our owners, by Terry, or anyone else at the football club for that matter.

I suggested a very long time ago that the best transfer, at that time, was to bring in a DoF to the club, (see here for my thoughts – All I Want for Christmas ), so as a bridge from the owners down to the manager, as someone with experience in that role, who had successfully performed in that job, could reap rewards for us. I had suggested David Dein, who had left Arsenal, had a done a tremendous job at that club,  a lot of contacts, and had instilled an ethos that, whilst it could be argued hasn’t still yet provided Arsenal with a glut of silverware, it has made them a profitable club, with which in my opinion has the right balance of business and football.

So has Terry been brought in to deal with the transfers, and leave Nigel to handle the coaching and the on-field strategy and preparations?

So many questions are being asked to whether this is something that Nigel can work with, agrees with, or is happy to allow. Some of his interviews regarding transfers of course, as usual have been exasperated affairs, but when pushed has suggested that ‘he’ll have to wait and see’. So does that mean he’s no longer got a say in who in the squad should remain or are key to the team’s success this season?

Why haven’t we heard from our Director of Football yet? Will we hear from them? Do we have an idea of what their plan is, what the strategy will be?

Incommunicado

I think we can all agree that the club has a bit of an issue with its communication. As the aforementioned club plans, to a manager who to an extent finds it a clear chore to speak to local media, and more national outlets too?

The club’s website is both untimely for a great deal of communication (see the Monaco friendly debacle).

The fans, in my view are demanding, in this day and age, a more up-to-date roll out of communications.

I don’t think I expect or want to Pearson to spill the beans on his transfers targets, or give away formations or strategy in interviews, or the club to post daily updates on what’s being served in the club canteen, but an improvement on the existing, or non-existing comms would help not hinder its rep amongst fans, even those in the minority whose vocal negativity can be hear the loudest.

Affirmative Reaction

I’ve been a reactionary over the last season or two, and especially during the off-season. What I have been reacting to though hasn’t been the team, it’s been the minority of fans, who are determined to try to pull the rest of those with optimism down to their negative levels.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with criticism or comment on the team or manager, or the club for that matter, as long as it’s constructive, and actually based on some degree of either common sense or extraction of emotion from the analysis. I won’t point out examples of these, but to say that some have been both distasteful, and utterly moronic at extreme points would be an understatement. Then you have the trolls. But you’ll know who these are if you read various forums, and use twitter, to know that these individuals need this attention to fill their vacuous and empty lives. Paying them any attention at all, biting their hook, just fulfils their sad wish for notice.

I’ve said before that I’ll question Pearson’s methods, and comment critically where I think it might be justified, and again on individuals or team performance, but only when it can be constructive. We as fans will need to be even more together in a strong and exceptionally competitive league.

We have more or less the same team that we had last season, give or take, and the statistics show that last season we barely chopped or changed a thing, which of course, I suspect we’ll be following that trend. A small compact team, with a bit of experience behind them together as a unit, makes us a stronger team this season, not a weaker one, just because we haven’t made 11 transfers in and out.

No Money No Problems?

I have optimism that with the current squad we can still maintain momentum given that we settle into our new formation, and can mix it up when needed. Yes, I’d like a couple of players in to provide us a bit of depth, and Shane Duffy, who we have be linked with on loan, would be a good start, as we are suffering from a blight of injuries at CB, and with a long season ahead, some astute loan signings will definitely make the difference. It was obvious from last season what the protocol would be, and the loan market would need to be leant on for us to try and compete. Pearson’s backroom team have a good eye for talent, and we’ve shown that loan players can succeed and push into the 1st team. Keane being a very good example of this – though I’m sure Fergie’s caveat was that he does play at every opportunity. Whilst he did on occasion show naivety, he proved his worth.

I do hope that this lack of financial clout, will extract the pressure that has been clinging to the club, and the fans, and we can perhaps see ourselves as we have done in the past as slight underdogs, given the amount spent at other clubs, including those who have recently come down from the Premiership, and we can push on from last season and be a success.

So bring on Derby this afternoon! My lack of sleep, my lack of writing, and my absence of personal finance, won’t impact my love and support for Leicester City Football!

I hope to pass this passion to my young son, and hope that he too will join me on matchday and sing from the stands and make his Daddy proud!

Up the Foxes!

Fantasy Football League – By The Sphericals

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Can You Meme That Player pt.1


Right, so leading on from yesterday, I’ve put a bit of text on some of the memes I was messing with.

Meme That Player

Let me know what you think?

I’ll be updating them bit by bit today, so keep a check out for new ones.

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Meme That Player?


Due to work, my commitments to delivering all things stupid have been severely curtailed in recent months. It’s not that I’m not bothered. Just getting the time is the most difficult. Begging and borrowing time tokens to do stupid man-child silliness.

But as I’ve had the day off today, I’ve got bored and thought it’d be wonderful to see some of our players and even our manager bestowed in meme fashion.

Here’s some of my quick efforts:

I know they are not great, so if you can do better, then share back!

If you want to borrow them and add text and what not, then by all means help yourself and share back!

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Looking For Epic


I’ve been saving this title up, and was waiting for the opportunity to finish this article off, as it’s been knocking about and my inclination to complete it has been waning. So apologies if this is going to come across as critical, rather than celebratory. And sorry for banging the expectation drum once again!

I’m Having Illusions

I think we’ve been tainted a lot by the money we’ve had/have spent already under our owners. The immediate prospect of buying the league, and perhaps feeling short-changed by it all on the field, all built an air of expectation. The media seemingly fed so it that any niggle, or disappointment becomes exaggerated due to heightened expectancy.

Pearson has done his best to try and dismantle this piece by piece, maybe even player by player.

We’ve now got players who are hungry, have quality, but have less hanging over their heads of fan’s anticipation and price-tag-doomongery. Yes FFP has a fair amount to the reduction of the squad, but it’s a two-fold project in paring down the team to a solid skeleton of unification.

Epic Win?

We’ve just smashed Ipswich Town 6 – 0, a feat of a scoreline not achieved for nearly 30 years!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to take anything away from the positivity that this win brings, and the fact that Waggy has finally reached the back of the net with his recent accumulating efforts and hardwork. Even Futacs came off the bench and put one away!

So what does this mean? Does it mean we are a demolishing force to be reckoned with that can achieve this feat or similar any and every week?

Snapback to Reality

Well, firstly we were playing at home. We had a record of 5 wins at home prior to this match. Our draw with Forrest and loss with Palace seemingly down to referee decisions which have confounded the team, and the baffling decisions which have lit a fuse under the normally calm exterior of our manager, Nigel Pearson. Did these injustices and Pearson’s reaction set the team up to inflict some due payback?

Ipswich had a goal difference of -19 before the played, and I use that word loosely, yesterday. They hold the worst GD in the league table, which simply says that defensively they are shipping goals for fun.

We surprisingly had a penalty given to us! And thankfully Nugent converted this rare opportunity!

McCarthy said that he holds himself responsible for changing the defence, and he should be held accountable for this fact. Whilst there’s no denying that tactically that seems an odd choice, considering they managed a late winner at home to Burnley, and McCarthy changed his defence back to the same line-up, bar Bradley Orr, who were also smashed by a rampant Palace side 5 – 0. Lesson was not learned by one Mr. McCarthy!

This has been a wonderful positive boost to the squad overall. We’ve finally got some of the players off the line with a goal, and seen our players find the unity that we know they are capable of, but should we be wary of complacency, or will our fans now lose sight of reality, and demand this level of dominance in our games with goals to back this up?

I would hope that Pearson will pat the lads on the back and say a job well done, and plan executed to a tee. All they did was watch the Palace game, no doubt, and observed where Ipswich fell apart, and used our particular strengths to best advantage.

Dyer played one of his best, if not best, games of his Leicester career. Against an ineffectual defence his skills were always going to be cutting, and damaging. All we needed was a bit of hope that he wouldn’t lose position, his crosses would be on target, and we didn’t get a corner from his runs, as we know how they end up!

What was pleasing was a desire, once blood was drawn, to continue pulling for the jugular. Pearson, bar the cautionary change of Nugent, put on players who could do with a boost of confidence, and maybe Pearson saw an opportunity for them to possibly get on the scoresheet, and of course finish the game with a good amount of minutes under their belt with three points already in the bag.

Marshall and Futacs will be buzzing, and hopefully this will make up for the time they’ve been on the bench, and make them eager to try and get off it some time soon.

I’m trying to balance the positivity with the realism that always clouds my vapid brain through my thought sieve.

We should certainly enjoy a win that we’ve not enjoyed for some time, but with caution. How many times have we won a match with conclusive domination to demand the same the week following to come away disappointed or deflated? Playing away is a different kettle of fish, and whilst our away form isn’t awful, it’s not near our home form.

Next Stop OwlTown

If you read my nonsense blog, often or once in awhile, you’ll know I have a soft spot for the Owls. This goes out the window next week as we aim for the 3 points.

Wednesday’s home form isn’t exactly something we should be worried about. An excellent start to their CCC campaign came crashing to a halt against (at the time) a strong and dictating Huddersfield. Their form has not been consistent, but looking at results, they are capable of scoring goals, even if they’ve dried up at home at the moment.

So do we stand a chance of winning? Absolutely! But we need to put the Ipswich win in perspective, and not get carried away with the epic win, and looking or expecting the epic win.

I would think that from observation that Pearson will tell the players not to carried away, and will try keep a cap on any over-enthusiasm or ego. We’ve seen this in or outgoing loaned players already. There’s no room for big bollocks in the dressing room unless you’re going to show how use them.

Fantasy Football League – By The Sphericals

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Foxers or Briefs?


A LETTER FROM A FOXES FAN

Dear Peasants,

Like an old pair of my briefs, Leicester City Football Club you fit me like a glove. You truly know me and I truly know you.

You and I have been on some adventures, and most definitely could tell some stories.

There for the glories, and there for the disappointments. You never let me down.

When we both hit a brown patch or when an itch needed scratching, you’re there for me.

Worn at the edges and frayed in delicate places, but you are better than the rest.

 

I had my eyes on the silk ones. Like when I looked at the other teams ahead of us, all lauding it in the Premiership, and was jealous of their comfortableness.

When I was very young man I got my hand some silkens. Pure 100% silk. Existing in these was a like receiving oral congress all day long, but under your trousers away from prying eyes. Almost like sticking your junk in a pig’s ear. Wonderful stuff.

However, nobody told me that these items of pure luxury were tainted with a curse of disintegration. Apparently playing cricket in them is not cricket. Inappropriate. Playing in the field and after daydreaming for 1hr and half I snapped awake when someone finally  hit a ball. I went for a spectacular catch, missing the ball, and splitting these silkens to utter shreddies.  I learned my lesson after the third time.

As I sit outside my French styled mansion, outside of Smockington, Leicestershire, by the blazing fire, with Vicki, my lower class maid cleaning the fluffies from beneath my bedazzled toenails, I think fondly of Leicester City Football Club’s past present and future, and how that even with all my wealth I much prefer my old boxers, even when I can afford simply the best.

Incidentally I ran out of room for any more fireplaces so I decided to build one outside instead. Architecturally it doesn’t fit, I know, but you can never have enough fireplaces I say! As you can see I’ve hung my stockings up early. I’m hoping the ‘fairies’ at the end of the west wing garden will supply me boxes and boxes of white rum. Otherwise my servants will find themselves short of employment. I’m getting proper smashed this Christmas, and time too, last Christmas resulted in a dry patch of misery, that I could barely eat my quail egg and soldiers for my breakfast.

I’ve never had the opportunity to share my important thoughts with you all, and as I don’t work for a living, I’ll be getting my servants to type me up a word or two about my beloved Leicester City, and my infatuation with Nigel Pearson.

Until then peasants, let us support our blues together!

Adieu,

Lord Foxytoff

Fantasy Football League – By The Sphericals

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Can Football Fill My Hole?


For anyone who reads my blog, or it’s the first time, you’ll notice it’s been another long while once my last one.

The Euros were bitterly disappointing for me, bar St. Ledger’s goal. Ireland were battered in a group of death, and in the end the two finalists came from our group, so it was no surprise really. The only thing for me to be proud of was the Irish spirit, despite a moaney-faced Roy Keane, saying there was no ambition for the players or fans.

Then there was a summer of Olympic sport, where my sporting crevasse was momentarily filled. It satisfied a competitive itch, even though, for me personally Ireland barely got a mention, and when they did it was for claiming a medal winner was actually British. However, I was happy enough for the British to do well and they did.

So during this summer, I’ve spent my time concocting ‘maybe posts’ and ‘almost posts’, but never got around to putting them down. This came down to freshness and being damn busy at work. What possibly can I say that hasn’t been said, as we reached our third cycle of repetition?

I argued with myself, but reason and sense told me to hold fire, see what Nigel’s putting together, and then you’ve got something to talk about.

As we know, this summer was Nige’s opportunity to put his stamp on the team, add hunger, drive, and a bit quality, whilst trimming the wages for the inevitable financial scrutiny of the FFP.

I’ve considered doing a full article on FFP, and how the constraints of this will actually help us in the long run in our possible ascent to the Premiership and the maelstrom impact of those who are paying overinflated wages midtable and below will start to crumble at their edges. However, I didn’t want to bore the arse off you. All I’ll say is that the current over inflated transfer prices of UK players will soon be a thing of the past, yet this does not mean it’s a fair playing field. Those with money have conspired to agree to these measures as they’ve been stung by simply having money to spend.

Mo Money Mo Problems

This season is going to be damn interesting. There’s been another huge injection of cash into the CCC. The down and outs have money, new management, and ambitions! No not us, that was us three years ago. We’ve laid the template of how not to do it, and those who are now financially endowed took notice, and are taking the sensible approach.

The Big Playa Playas

Whilst I appreciate that there’s plenty of lists like this and they’ve actually come out well before the season started, I’ve not read any of them. Not a single one. All the rubbish below is my own assessment, and is probably tinged with biased, misinformation, and facts wide of the mark.

Blackburn

They have quality in their side that most teams in the Premiership would fall over backwards to have in their squad. That’s super great, but I like to think that the Venky’s have not learned their lessons. I understand that the sensible thing is not to throw your toys out of the pram and change managers, especially if you’ve given a long contract to one prior to being relegated, but from my limited understanding of how they’ve gone about things, they haven’t a clue, and Kean for me is not going to provide them the promotion that they desperately need.

Bolton

They are not loaded, but have just come down from years in the Prem. Bolton must win promotion or they are in the deep do-dos. Financially crippled, they’ve done well to keep good players, though they’ve barely made many moves in the transfer department, they’ll do okay. But the immense pressure might tell both on the players and on Coyle. Desperation may cause them to implode.

Wolves

Looking at the team sheet, I’d be inclined to say they have the strongest team in the CCC at the minute. They have done exceptionally well to keep their players and may well be down for auto promotion if it wasn’t one thing – Stale Solbakken. This appointment will either go down as a work of genius or will fail disastrously. With little or no knowledge of the CCC, we may have found this year’s Sven.

Wolves are financially with their backs to the wall, and can least afford to not find themselves back in the Premiership with probably the highest wage bill in the CCC. But when prospective managers were queuing up to turn down the job, you know it’s a chalice that is full of poison.

Nothingham Flopists

They have big money behind them, yet they’ve purchased sensibly and brought in a manager who has done well with moderate amounts in the past. He excelled at Bournemouth, and did well at times with Doncaster Rovers. They may surprise people with some of their results this season, but for me, they are a year behind us in preparation for ascension. Though I do throw an envious Irish eye over their acquisition of Simon Cox.

Watford

For me they are the dark horse. With Zola managing them, and the money and connections they are one to watch out for.  They have loaned in some unknowns from foreign lands with their owners happily owning two other clubs (Granada & Udinese), but if you look at their team sheet, it doesn’t read badly even outside these few loaned players.

Cardiff

It seems all you have to do is change your strip to make yourself a marketable and lucky team. Cardiff has a quality side and their Malaysian owners are absolutely no different than our own, and have probably just as much money and ambition. Do they have the players to compete for promotion. Yes, of course they do, but are they auto or playoffs. Hard to tell at this stage, but playoffs again methinks.

The also rans: 

I’m pretty sure other fans will take umbrage of this part of my list, but for my they are the teams with potential, who can keep momentum from promotion last year, or the success they had at the end of the season.

I’m sure there’ll be a team I don’t mention who’ll surprise us all (or at least me and a few others)!

Charlton – Might keep the momentum from their excellent season last. All eyes on Powell & Kermogant.

Hull – Have Bruce as manager, have kept most of their best players

Middlesbrough – Started to get in a groove in the final third of the season, perhaps might build on this.

Leeds – As much as I despise Colin, he’ll do a job, as he turns Leeds in to the Leeds of old. Tough, rough, and cheating shits – like he did at Sheffield United.

Where We At?

So at this point your thinking, shit I’ve read about all the other teams before, and in more detail, and with a better assessment than that drivel. You’re probably right. I not even put a pecking order or stated where teams will come in the league at the end of the season! What a shit article, the author won’t stick his flag in the sand, put his balls in the air and come off the fence!

Well I’m reluctant to do so, as last year has proven that it’s impossible to predict this league, as it is every year.

So I guess I should share my feelings on the state of our current squad.

It’s difficult to tell how the team’s work ethic and composure will hold during the season, especially in the final third where points really matter, and injuries and suspensions take hold.

However, it does look promising for us, Nigel has brought in some youthful enthusiasm and skill. Knockaert could well turn out to be our finest acquisitions by the end of the season in a position where we desperately needed a bit of flair and quality.

I am happy we’ve kept Beckford (ok the window is still open, and anything can happen), and I think we’ll see the best of him this time.

With young players also knocking on the door I think there’ll be little time for complacency and laziness, as they aren’t just there for numbers, they are proving quality prospective 1st teamers. (This for me is where Sven doesn’t get credit)

Do I see us as playoff or an auto promotion contender? Well it’s too early to say, and I guess I’m making a sensible assessment of our chances. I think we have fair chance of playoffs at this point, but signs are positive and if we keep up the performances as seen so far then why the hell not?

I’ll go over individuals in another post. It’s not the time.

I know that this is a shoddy piece, but it’s better than nowt! Ha!

By the way I’m running my Fantasy Football League again – By The Sphericals

So do join, and embarrass me week in week out!

Code to join this league: 8106-3294

Click on the image or follow me @sphericalfox. If you already do, then follow back some other lcfc fans! #lcfcfamily

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