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I was in Nigel Pearson’s office on the day he was sacked and replaced by Claudio Ranieri

3 years ago

So Leicester City finally won the league and a huge well done to them, over the season they have fully deserved it, playing an attractive style of football that makes the so called bigger clubs look ordinary.

Next season for them? A repeat, relegation, top 4, mid-table mediocrity, who knows…?

I have a sort of love hate relationship with Leicester City, over the years I have witnessed the ridiculous, the violence and the funny, yet still I keep going back!

I first went in about 1983, I was at college in Derby so it was only a short train ride to see us lose 3-0, the night was further blighted by the fact a Leicester fan lost the sight in one eye after a bottle was launched by one of our fans, bottle throwing was quite common in that era.

Fast forward a few years and I was on hand to see Mick Quinn score a hat-trick, unfortunately some guy called David Kelly also scored three and we lost the game 5-4. The day was compounded by the fact my car was towed by the East Midlands constabulary because it was illegally parked, oddly enough the ‘no parking’ cones were placed AFTER I had parked up. So while I rightly escaped the fine, I still had a 2 mile walk to retrieve the said car!

My next trip was THAT visit, where the mindless Geordie hooligans went on the rampage in sleepy little Leicester…at least that is how the press would have you believe.

Fact is, our survival from the abyss dented their promotion hopes, and their fans could not take it, invading the pitch intent on mayhem. The aforementioned David Kelly seeking sanctuary with the visiting fans as he was in perilous danger from the Leicester faithful. The scene outside the ground was beautifully described by Billy Furious in his book ‘ A Mag For All Seasons’, it really was like the Wild West!

I have been to Filbert Street and the Walkers ( King Power) stadium many times since, and while things have become more civilised in recent times, the history means the threat is never too far away, indeed there has also been trouble outside SJP in recent years when playing Leicester.

Last three visits I have actually stayed over in Leicester as it boasts the finest Curry House in England, aptly named ‘The Curry House’, and is well worth a visit. Posh it is not but their House Special Tawa is wonderful, to say the least.

I could detail so much more about my visits to Leicester but I’ll share this one.

In late June last year I was working at Leicester City training ground, and working in the manager’s training ground office. I sneakily picked up a Sky Bet Manager of the Month award that was on a shelf and had my picture taken with it. Why talk about that you may ask? Well later the very same day (30 June 2015), Nigel Pearson was sacked ( unfairly in my eyes as he had saved them from relegation).

Next thing they appoint Claudio Ranieri (13 July 2015) while we were already landed with Tufty, and the rest as they say is history…well done Leicester City!

So enough about them, what about us?

Things are better for sure but we are still reliant on others. I did the Chronicle prediction tool and as it stands we are one point ahead of where I thought we would be at, a win at Villa and Sunderland not winning will pile the pressure on them down the road, this will go to the wire.

Whatever happens Rafa has to stay, in a short period of time he has turned spineless no-hopers into believers. Could Jamaal Lascelles be the next Des Walker – he looks the part and that tackle on Connor Wickham last Saturday was exceptional. He talks, he shouts orders, he is disciplined, I like his whole demeanour.

Hats off to Karl Darlow, not just his penalty save but three or four good saves over 90 mins, well done indeed.

Cheick Tiote is suddenly the player he was four years ago. How? Why? Just what the hell was Tufty doing with these players? I could go on but I don’t need to, you have all seen it.

This weekend is going to be massive, but we can only go a game at a time, what we need to do is ensure the pressure is kept on both Sunderland and Norwich, and I think it will be.

We need to go to Villa Park, forget about revenge on them, and give the them 90 minutes of manic backing. If the team reciprocate again then we should win, be even better if we give Villa a hiding as the goal difference is not insurmountable.

Christ, it’s only Tuesday and the nerves have kicked in already!



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