I have a soft spot for Leicester City Football Club. On the 25th March 2006, The Walkers Stadium Leicester. The site of one of the happiest moments of my life. We drew, 1-1 gaining the point needed to secure promotion to the English Premier League for the first time in Reading Football Clubs history.
We celebrated in the stadium for what felt like hours but strangely was over in no time at all. Lots of Leicester fans stayed in the ground to applaud our team, the officials congratulated us, displaying well wishes on the scoreboard. The home fans were even, for the most part, gracious to us as we left on the coach. Great day, that I will never forget.
Just four years previous to this great moment, Leicester were forced into administration, to be bailed out by a consortium headed by ex-player, England international, and now TV presenter Gary Lineker. It was this fiscal mis-management at Leicester that prompted the League to introduce a points penalty for any clubs that enter into administration. Leicester were the last club to escape this penalty and won promotion the following season.
Fast forward a few years. October 3rd 2010. Leicester, bottom of the Championship table, appoint ex England manager and lothario Sven Goran Eriksson. Sven does well and Leicester rise to finish 10th in Englands second tier.
Fast forward to this summer and Sven has been spending big.
Gelson Fernandes, On Loan, Saint-Etienne
Michael Johnson, On Loan, Manchester City
John Pantsil, Free Transfer, Fulham
David Nugent, Free Transfer, Portsmouth
Neil Danns, Free Transfer, Crystal Palace
These players have no transfer fee but Leicester will have to contribute to or pay all of the wages of the loan players, and premiership level wages for John Pantsil, a man with a comedy name.
Paul Konchesky, Undisclosed, Liverpool
Matthew Mills, Undisclosed, Reading
Sean St Ledger, Undisclosed, Preston North End
Lee Peltier, Undisclosed, Huddersfield Town
Kasper Schmeichel, Undisclosed, Leeds Utd
Undisclosed usually means big money. At least 4 million for ex Reading captain Matt Mills for example, so lets say all those undisclosed figures are 2 million each thats £10 million, quite a spending spree for a Championship club (with no Premiership parachute payments). Plus wages, signing on fees, agents fees, etc which will apply to all the so called ‘free transfers’. They are also in the hunt for 8 million pound Reading striker and Irish international Shane Long. Leicester are going for promotion this year, and they are the bookies favourite to do so. It’s a huge gamble, promotion or bust.
I think it could be the latter.
I have my reasons though:-
- Sven last won a major trophy the year 2000. Yes he qualified England’s “golden generation” for 3 successive tournaments after this but we crashed out in the knockout stages. Sven spent a fair wedge of cash at Manchester City and failed to win anything, it is easy to say that he has a greater reputation now for chasing money and tail than he does for being a successful football manager, and his time with England showed his tactical nous is on the wain.
- Money doth not maketh the team. Otherwise Manchester City would walk the Premier League. Teams need time to become a team.
- Matt Mills, isn’t as good as he thinks he is.
I await the backlash, this is not sour grapes. As I say I have a soft spot for Leicester, if they weren’t in the same league as my beloved Reading I would say I hope they do win the league. I don’t think they will. A sentence which will come back to bite me in the arse no doubt
I just hope they survive, this latest and biggest gamble.