Monday, 31 December 2007

Let's Start At The Very Beginning

So two new players on the way to The Walkers.

Steve Howard of Derby is reputedly going to be transferred to LCFC for a sum of 1.5 million pounds. And Barry Hayles has been signed from Plymouth Argyle.

My lover thinks the "buy new players to build a team" is the wrong appraoch and that a more modern, strategic and successful approach is to seek young talented wannabes and develop them together as a team.

Of course he would say this being a Coppell fan. But he could have a point. Look at the way Wenger has developed his squad.

Interesting too that both Howard and Hayles are in their 30s.

Not that I am suggesting they are past it. Experience and developed skill is important within a good team. There just seems to be some merit in the notion of taking a more incremental approach rather than seeking instant returns.

It's a bit like learning an instrument I think.

I started learning the guitar about 18 months ago. I concentrated on getting to grips with stuff I could learn quickly and easily - instant returns. And that has done me well until now - I can accompany myself to quite a few songs to a reasonable standard.

Only now as I want to develop further I am finding I need to go back to basics. I can strum with my fingers but not with a pick. And I need to improve my changes and do more with my left hand to make the sounds more interesting.

So that is what I have been doing today. Strumming and strumming with my pick trying to improve the sound.

I'm not there yet. It sounds awful. I've gone backwards if anything.

But I keep at it because I believe I will improve. That gradually bit by bit my skills will develop until I am better than I ever could be based on my current ability.

So lets see who gets there first. Georgina the guitar goddess or Leicester City the toast of the East Midlands.

Have a great New Year's Eve.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

For Auld Lang Syne

As we hurtle towards the end of 2007, I thought it might be a good moment to look back over the last 12 months (well why not - everyone else is doing it!).

Specifically at my football highlights for the year.

Well in truth just under 10 months. The first two months were BF - Before Football.

So the first highlight has to be my decision on March 7th to start a football blog.

For those of you not around at that time it is much as the paragraph at the top explains. The result of a challenge I couldn't resist.

It is really weird looking back at those early posts from where I am now. I really could not see how I was going to find a way in.

I remember after I had finally chosen my team the first time I went to visit The Walkers. All the way on my own on my bike. And the most amazing experience. Very spiritual.

And since then it has been a whirlwind love affair between me and football. The excitement of live football. Violence on and off the pitch. Sex and scandal. And fandom.

And not forgetting the suspense of endless speculative and actual managers. Warnock. Maddog Allen. Megson.

But best of all, the drama, loves, laughs and tears with Jose.

My god I love football.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Only The Good Die Young

The various exciting scorelines of the day (such as Tottenham 6 Reading 4, West Ham 2 Man U 1, and Everton 1 Arsenal 4) have been overshadowed today by the death of the Motherwell captain, Phil O'Donnell, on the pitch.

At the age of just 35 it is obviously a tragic loss - to his family and the world of football.

I had a friend once I used to go running with. He was in his sixties and had run all his life. He was diagnosed with a heart problem and told to stop running. After much anguish he decided running was too important to him and he would run the risk.

I was running with him on the day he died. He keeled over and died fairly instantaneously, despite our efforts to revive him.

Sudden death is an awful thing for family and friends to come to terms with.

I don't know if it is possible to find any positives in such sad circumstances. Maybe his family and others can take some small comfort that both Phil and my friend died doing the thing they loved most.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Foul Play

OK - as it's Christmas we will play a game.

What am I?

I am dangerous and illegal. Some call me cowardly and vicious.There have been several of me seen recently in high profile circumstances.

Any ideas?

Answer - the two footed tackle.

Crouch (Liverpool), Carvalho (Chelsea), Zokora (Tottenham), Denilson(Arsenal) and Gunnarsson (Reading) are all offenders within the last couple of weeks.

It's not as if the referees are not dealing firmly with it. They are. It seems baffling that even the likes of Peter Crouch, hardly noted for an aggressive style, are succumbing to temptation. His first red card in his Liverpool career.

Here are a few other nasty tackles, (including a grip around the throat of a Leicester player!), just to remind ourselves how dangerous bad play can be.

Apparently, a two footed challenge is much more likely to cause serious injury. A leading sports doctor, Dr Craig Panther, says:

With two feet you’re accelerating not decelerating. It’s uncontrolled force - with one foot you are far more in control. It doesn’t take much to go over the ball and hit a leg. When a foot is planted on the ground it can’t dissipate the force, so a fracture or other significant injury is more likely”

It is not in anyone's interest for such practices to continue. I even think there could be grounds for a criminal prosecution in some cases.

That would make them sit up and think maybe!

Thursday, 27 December 2007

The Perfect Day

I had a great day yesterday.

Well apart from finding out my powers of prediction are not quite what I had hoped. Only 5 out of 9 right in terms of who would win or draw (55.5%) and none on what the scores would be.

Clearly more practise needed.

I got up about 9.30 and had a nice lazy start. Then my dear friend Phallus (don't ask) came over.

We left my house about 12.30 and headed off across the hilly countryside to arrive at a great pub restaurant, The Halfway House, about 1.45 (about 5 miles away). After an amazing lunch which included my favourite thing in the world, creme brulee, we headed off for The Amberley Inn. They had a TV screen and when I returned from a trip to the loo my companion said "Leicester are 2 -0 up at halftime".

"You're having me on" I said.

"No - honestly. Goals by Stearman and Kisnorbo."

I did attract a few stares as I expressed amazement looking at the scores on the screen. Chelsea 4 Aston Villa 4. That must have been some match!

He had to prise me away eventually to head off to the Black Horse. When we left there it was getting dark and we had no torch. So it was quite interesting finding our way down the hillside to the next one.

The Royal Oak and The Fleece were shut but we eventually climbed another hill to find the warm bar of The Kings Head. There was a TV screen but they were watching darts so we didn't stay long before we headed off again.

After several other closed pubs (The Kite's Nest and The Queen Victoria) and a spell in The Clothiers Arms which included a few games of Connect 4 played on a frame that refused to stand up, we eventually ended up in my local football pub.

Ah relief. The Arsenal/Portsmouth game was on the screen and the results were flashed up. Yes! Leicester retained their lead and won their first match in 8 games. Well done those Foxes!

It was great listening to the various conversations. Basher (remember him?) was celebrating because he had placed a bet with good odds on Manchester United beating Sunderland 3 - 0. There was another guy there who had obviously had a Man U shirt for Christmas because he was sporting it proudly (little red tabs at the neck and bum).

They were having a pub quiz and we decided to join in, even though there were only two of us. We did OK in the circumstances and managed not to fall out over the fact that somewhere from the depths of my mind I pulled out the information that Gertrude Ederle was the first woman to swim the English Channel but my friend persuaded me otherwise. Nor that I convinced him that a rainbow would be seen in the West in the afternoon in the Northern Hemisphere, although sadly it was the East.

We finally got home about 11.45, tucking into a wonderful pizza.

Like I said, I had a great day yesterday.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

On The Line

I'm going to take a bit of a risk today.

There is an area of football punditry I have carefully avoided to date. Probably because it is harder to blag in that if you know very little about what is going on in football you can get found out.

It is the prediction of results.

I'm not talking about my guesses about the outcome of individual Leicester matches. I mean when you make predictions about all the matches in a particular league on a particular day or weekend.

I thought, therefore, I would tackle the Boxing Day Premiership fixtures as a start.

So here goes:

Birmingham v Middesborough 1 - 1
Chelsea v Aston Villa 1 - 0
Derby v Liverpool 0 - 3
Everton v Bolton 2 - 1
Portsmouth v Arsenal 1 - 2
Sunderland v Man Utd 0 - 2
Tottenham v Fulham 2 - 0
West Ham v Reading 0 - 0
Wigan v Newcastle 0 - 1

I'm off to the pub now for a Boxing Day drink or two but I will be tracking progress carefully throughout the day.

GB's reputation is on the line after all.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

The Parson's Nose

Merry Christmas to all my readers.

Hope you had some nice pressies. I got David Beckham gift wrapped wearing nothing but a presentation bow.

No I'm kidding. I didn't really (even GB's influence does not extend that far!)

Still apparently for those of us who are football fans this festive period provides the opportunity for complete indulgence. A "seasonal feast" of football, "jam-packed" with Premiership clashes according to one account.

I wonder if it is possible to get football indigestion?

A cynic might say that as Leicester supporters we should probably lower our expectations. I'm not sure what the vegetarian equivalent of the parson's nose is but I hope we will get something a bit better than that from our clash against the Tractor Boys tomorrow.
Anyway, have a really great day. And try not to drink too much.


Monday, 24 December 2007

Vive Les Éléphants!

20th January sees the start of the African Cup of Nations tournament.

What has that got to do with us you might ask? Well try asking Arsene Wenger who expects to lose Toure (Ivory Coast) and Eboue (Ivory Coast) for at least four weeks to play there, plus any recovery time they might need. Or Avram Grant who stands to lose Drogba (Ivory Coast), Kalou (Ivory Coast), Obi (Nigeria) and Essien (Ghana) for the same period.

The tournament is currently held every two years and because of the number of African players now in Premiership teams has a significant impact upon English football.

The suggestion of those such as Wenger and Grant is that the tournament should be changed to the summer, possibly June time.

Its a tricky one. On the one hand most would agree that the English Premiership is the top football league in the world. On the other I can't help thinking why should Africa be the ones to change. Maybe it is the FA that should look at the scheduling over here.

Controversial of course! And unlikely to happen. But as a point of principle it would be good to see a somewhat less Eurocentric view of football.

Looking at past results, the host team for the tournament are most likely to win. Next year's host is Ghana who have won the trophy 4 times previously. Not surprising then that they are one of the favourites to win this time.

When you look at the quality of some of the players in the Ivory Coast team though they must be in with a chance. Amazing when you look at the size of the country compared to some of the others. If I was a betting woman they I would probably put my £1 each way on them.

You heard it here first.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Riding Along On The Crest Of A Slump

According to Mr Holloway, The Foxes are riding along on the crest of a slump. A bit like this.

They play Wolves this afternoon. On recent form I am not holding my breath. Despite my longer term faith in Olly it will be a while before we consistently see the fruits of his labours in my view. The main thing is to do enough to ensure we get and keep ourselves out of relegation danger.

We are not the only ones is a slump. I imagine there is a somewhat muted air around the Manchester United camp after Fergie read the riot act about the behaviour of members of the squad at their Christmas party, which resulted in the rape allegations against Jonny Evans.

No slumping for my lover today though. Reading beat Sunderland 2-1 today, albeit as a result of a controversial goal. And the lovely Arse stay top of the table after defeating Tottenham.

But wait. I can feel my shoulders straightening. Ten minutes into the match and Leicester are 1 goal up against Wolves. Away at that.

Come on you Foxes...................!!

Friday, 21 December 2007

Another One Bites The Dust

Lawrie Sanchez is the 7th Premiership manager to bite the dust. After being at Fulham just the same number of months.

It could be because he thinks it is cool to ride around on a suitcase trolley. Or funny to take off his jacket and throw it into the crowd. Most probably though it is because Fulham are languishing at the bottom of the Premiership.

Nothing languishing about the lovely David Beckham however. Who apparently is going to be training with Arsene Wenger. An interesting tutelage partnership I would suggest!

Our Becks planning his first move into management maybe?

Wednesday, 19 December 2007


So then, my first guest poster last night.

I had a date at a party dressed as Batwoman.

Sometimes a girl has to make hard decisions. Do my post or go to the party? Anyway I hope you appreciated my compromise. Not bad for a boy I thought.

Now, turning to today's football stories, the allegation that Jonny Evans has been released on bail following allegations that he raped a woman yesterday is probably the most shocking.

It would not be appropriate for me to comment at this particular stage on the detail of the case but interestingly the topic of rape has featured in other debates this week. John Redwood sparked controversy when he suggested that 'stranger' rape is worse than being attacked by someone you know.

I should say straight away that I disagree with him.

But at the risk of incurring the wrath of feminists everywhere, I would say that there is a debate to be had. Crass as I think Mr Redwood's remarks are, it highlights the complexity of the issues around the subject.

I think the majority of people in this country would recognise that the stereotypical rapist with the full face balaclava who attacks an innocent stranger has committed a grave offence. Provided of course she was not provocatively dressed and out late at night on her own.

Which is when it all starts to get complicated.

Maybe this shows that we are asking the wrong questions. Maybe the problem is a wider sociological one.

What I am talking about is that perhaps we should be looking at sexual relationships between people and also how they are viewed by society generally.

I would suggest that the 'test' we should apply to judge whether sex is consensual is to measure the level of mutual respect that exists in the situation.

Casual sex if fine provided both parties choose to participate and are genuinely convinced the other person does too. It is about enjoying a shared experience. Mutual fun and joy.

But if you are not sure your partner in the act really wants to take part, then how can you be entering the relationship on that basis? You must be putting your own wishes and desires first.

You need to check it out. You need to be sure. And if they are vulnerable, perhaps through drink or emotion, you need to check even more carefully.

In essence, if men and women or same sex partners, whether in the moment or an on-going relationship, treat each other with the respect they would want themselves to receive, rape would cease to exist.

Now that would be a result.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Excuse me miss......I'm new !

And I really am. Georgy is off tonight doing stuff. Cept' it's Christmas and it's more likely to look like this.

She's left a Bear in charge.....which is quite a thing really. I have passwords.....the lot......all given with good grace and an amazing sense of trust.

I'm a fan. Obviously not the same sort of fanatical devotee that is GB. But a fan nonetheless.

You'll know by now....those of you that read this regularly....I'm a fan of this lot. And quite a lot they are. Video shows our steady progress into the Premiership.

A really brilliant model for the Foxes to do better with ?

Particularly since you're at The Walkers. What a great place for football. Someway better than the Mad Stad I think. Parking's ok too.

Last time I was there with GB (4/5 weeks ago), I met this bloke (like me.....smoking in the bogs) who said to me in strong Leicester Accent " We're never gonna go up at this rate. What this club needs most is discipline and passion !"

I felt for him and said I had to agree (sort of).....but I didn't want to knock a club when its had such a time as you have

What I really think is that great clubs like The Foxes have to have the following in place for there to be consistent and deserved success these days.
  • A great and entruprenarial benefactor not directly linked to a multi-national corporation or dodgy money
  • Stability of Management
  • An open, trusting and, emotionally satisfying relationship between the Manager and the Owner.
  • Ditto Manager and Players.
  • Skills and stamina training that works.
  • Belief in the idea.
  • Having someone who can talk to the press properly.
  • Having someone who can find you great players for tuppence ha'penny.
  • An engine that runs for 96 minutes.
  • Tactics, Tactics, Tactics.
Finally, in the words of the great Brian Clough " If they've got the ball.....go and get it. If you've got the ball......keep it"

And there you have it. I think currently you tick about 6 of those.

I do believe, having seen Foxes play quite a bit recently, that a return to this is but a few months away. I pray Mr Holloway does well and the club supports him. He seems like a good man.

As a post script, I'd like to say what a complete joy and privilege it has been (so far) to meet the female equivalent of a football ignoramus like this numpty .......... and watch GB turn into a sound and important pundit of these proportions...................goodness !

You have a 17.30 Kick off at Wolves Saturday. Good luck indeed.

We're at home to the team this............... man !

Keep the Faith Everyone


Monday, 17 December 2007

That's My Boy

My son is 22. He has been an Arsenal supporter for as long as I can remember.

I have to confess I never previously took much notice. Neither his dad nor I had any interest in football. His older half brothers are keen - one supporting Manchester United and one Chelsea. But it was never a major discussion topic in our household.

If you had asked me six months ago how much my son knew about football I would not have had a clue. I had certainly never had a conversation with him about it.

Then this summer we travelled to a christening together and started chatting. I asked him how he came to support Arsenal, especially as his brothers support other teams. He recounted a vivid memory from when he was 7 or 8 and first saw Ian Wright playing on the television. He talked about the impact it had had upon him and how he has loved football, and in particular Arsenal, ever since.

It was a strange moment in many ways. Like seeing your own son for the first time. Learning about a passion I had simply never noticed because I hadn't bothered to ask.

I spoke to him on the phone tonight. It went like this:

" Hi Mum"
"Hi Son"

"Did you see the press conference with Capello today?"

"No although I have heard them talking about it on the radio. He didn't speak much English did he?"

"No. He seems to know what he is doing though. I think he'll be good"

" I reckon he is going to cut through some of the crap and play people because they are the right people for the team, not because individually they are some sort of superstar, no matter how good"

"I think he should take Michael Owen out. He seems to get a place just because of who he is"
"I agree. There are a few past their sell-by date. Capello seems to be clearly saying that everyone will have to earn their place every time. That has to be a good thing. Wonder what he will do about the Lampard/Gerrard thing"
"They are both good but I prefer Gerrard."

"Me too. I'm not keen on John Terry though. He seems a bit of a thug"

"He can be. He is good at getting people moving around though on the pitch. I think Gerrard would be good as Captain too. He leads Liverpool with real passion."

"He needs to find a decent goalie. Robinson has been off form and David James, while brilliant sometimes, is inconsistent"

"Robinson is a good goalie. McLaren made a bad mistake playing someone for the first time in that recent match on a poor surface. He really set him up"

Now if that isn't a proper conversation between a mother and son, I don't know what is.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

How To Make A Gourmet Meal

Seems we are not the only ones cheesed off by the Foxes performance yesterday girls.

Olly, apparently, is getting tough.

He has made it clear that he intends to bring in some new players during the transfer window. Every player in the squad has their chance to make an impression on him but they will need to get a move on. And they will need to really put their house in order.

One of the things our new manager has identified as missing is teamwork. He is able to recognise some of the reasons, including the way a whole new raft of players were brought in during the summer with apparently no attention paid to creating a sense of unity, a shared passion and vision.

I watched the Liverpool v Manchester United game this afternoon. I thought it was a great match. What stood out for me was the way United really did play as a team. Strong individuals with their signficant talent, working togther. Their goal exemplified this beautifully, with fantastic positioning and accurate placement. Each believed the others would deliver, and they did.
When I conduct recruitment interviews at work I always ask candidates what they think makes good teamwork. It's amazing how that can throw people. Most people are able to identify some elements but I am often struck by the things they leave out, such as communication and trust.

It is a real talent to be able to develop a good team. The skills required to nurture, support and develop individuals, yet always work for the greater good are not to be underestimated.

It reminds me of my cooking really. I often start with great ingredients, but somehow the way I put them together and treat them on the way results in me not realising their full potential.

It sounds as if Olly needs to improve his basic ingredients and buy in some good players. But he will need to make sure he works to a good recipe to ensure the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

So Mr Holloway, I shall put some champagne in my fridge ready to accompany the gourmet meal you are going to serve us up.


Saturday, 15 December 2007

Ladies' Man

What I would like to be posting about today is a fantastic away win for The Foxes at Hull.

I could of course. But it would be a lie. 2 - 0 defeat. No points. Just above the relegation zone.

So that leaves me with the new England manager, Signor Fabio Capello.

Champion of feminists across the world.

Interestingly, some interpret his public dislike of WAGS as misogyny. That somehow he does not think women have a place in the world of football.

My view is this simply shows that what he expects is that women will conduct themselves with dignity. That any interest in football is based upon a love of the game and a desire for success within it, not seeking a means to use it for self aggrandisement.

Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Girls can do football. Of course they can. But it has to come from the heart as well as the head.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

It's A Dog's Life

I know who ate all the pies.

It was the dog.

You wouldn't believe it would you. Those innocent puppy dog eyes.

Clearly the pie-loving pooch had heard that since last year, the Wigan World Pie Eating Championships have been taking a more healthy approach and catering to a wider range of tastes. Or that the pies were locally baked rather than the rather more controversial situation in 2005 when they were imported from Bolton.

This man would sympathise with our canine friends passion. He obviously appreciates the power of pies.

Some people do take things a bit too seriously maybe. But then who am I to talk. The girl who has become obsessed by football and all that goes with it.

Woof woof!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

That's Another Fine Mess You Got Us Into

I don't know whether to be pleased or furious that the red card given to Kisnorbo last night, which most agree changed the Ipswich Leicester match last night, has been rescinded.

I am pleased that at least the referee has had the decency to publicly admit that he made a mistake.

I am furious at the way it happened though. The referee was looking to give a free kick but then changed the decision in response to the view expressed by one of the linesmen.

We know mistakes happen. We know that the referee cannot see everything or might see things differently because he is at a particular angle.

But you do have to wonder at the power dynamic in that particular incident. As Holloway said, it's like him picking the team then being overruled by his assistant. They didn't even have a discussion.

I have not seen anything to suggest that there will be learning from the situation. I mean it is all very well to apologise but that does not change the fact that we probably lost 3 points.

One wonders whether with an error that significant there should not be some kind of recompense. I recognise it is not easy though.

The match could be declared void and therefore no points get awarded. I wouldn't be very happy if the boot was on the other foot though (to use a football analogy!) . We don't know we would have won and either way both teams would be disadvantaged in the league because they would have effectively had one less game in which to obtain points.

I would probably declare the game a draw. I recognise it is not a perfect solution though.

It would be some comfort to know that some good came out of it . For example if the rules had been different the referee could have checked his decision out, even if he waited until half time. A quick glance at the video replay and bingo. Sorted!

I know tradition is important, especially in a sport like Football.

But come on FA. Get with the times. We have had the capacity to film things and watch them back for a little while now. We probably now have the technology to replay it on say the referee's watch or a little screen kept in his pocket. Instant replay.

So how come we still end up in these sort of messes?

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Get The Right Man For The Job

I think the way the FA is going about the business of finding a new manager for the England football team is flawed.

As I understand it the only real pressure in terms of time is the fierce public, and in particular media, interest. I am not aware of any important international engagements coming up which require us to have someone in place. We certainly don't need one to prepare for Euro '08 do we for goodness sake.

I was very struck when I heard Ian Holloway interviewed on Talk Sport recently. He talked about the small window of time in which he had to make major career-changing decisions when he was faced with the choice between Plymouth and Leicester.

That situation was different though. There was an imperative to get someone in and for them to hit the ground running.

In my view the FA should have just put the brakes on. They should have made it clear that they would take as long as necessary to identify the right person.

Yes there would be huge and on-going media interest. Yes everyone would moan.

And no doubt the FA would say they have to answer to the fans.

But I am certain that if you asked any English fan what they wanted they would not say an immediate decision. They would say they want the best man for the job.

And lets be honest, eventually the story would become stale and the media focus would shift. With good PR which included smoke screening and red herrings they could have taken back the power. Pursued various options. Gathered information. Sought to target who they wanted then work to get it over time.

Instead they have given away all their power. Their actions smack of desperation. Everyone now knows - or at least believes - that Mourinho was first choice and Capello second. If he turns it down then anyone else offered it starts to look like an 'also-ran'. Just what happened with McLaren.

I tell you what. I would love to get involved in running the FA. They would have to let me be in charge of course. But I am sure I could make a better fist of it than some of the current incumbents. In other words - I am the right woman for the job.

So if any of my readers have friends with influence perhaps you could have a word in the right ear.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Mum's The Word

Ssssh! I've got a secret!

My Mum and Dad have bought me Ian Holloway's book for Christmas.

Now please, you mustn't let on you know. My mum said I have got to forget about it now and pretend it is a surprise when I open it.

My poor parents. Goodness knows what they make of my new found passion. Most of my friends are completely baffled by it, if somewhat amused.

I suppose my parents have known me that much longer - all my life in fact :-). They are used to 'Georgina and her strange ways'.

And then there is the fun of teasing my dad. A dyed-in-the-wool egg-chaser. We now have the shared joy of arguing about whether the earthy skill of rugby boys can compare with the choreography of the beautiful game. And whether the "I can still score a try with two broken arms and a severed leg" mentality of rugby hunks has more merit than "I've broken an eyelash and need to be carried off on a stretcher" which we can't pretend is not around in football.

Sadly, just as I was gearing up to convince my mum she should spearhead a "Mourinho for England" campaign amongst the population of 'more mature' women, I learned that he has ruled himself out of the running.

Guess I won't be getting everything I wanted for Christmas.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

I Should Be So Lucky

Josh, who describes himself as a "young Leicester fan" is also an Ian Holloway fan. So much so that he has given him a lucky guitar pick. What a rocking present!

Some people don't believe in luck you know.

I know - mad or what?

Try telling this bloke there is no such thing. Or this poor soul that bad luck does not exist.

It is all a matter of anxiety according to this commentator.

Me - I think I can make luck. Things do seem to happen around me.

Not very good at controlling whether it is good or bad luck though.

Which might explain the rather turbulent times of Leicester City Football Club since I started supporting them.

I'm going to start trying harder though. Goodness knows those Foxes could do with a bit of good luck at the moment.

Saturday, 8 December 2007


My lover is cockahoop.

His team, Reading, beat Liverpool this afternoon 3 - 1. I can imagine this evening's party at the Madjeski now.

And oh dear Liverpool. Their first league defeat of the season.

That means Reading are now 12th in the Premiership.

Other news is less happy however. The Foxes went down 1 -2 at home today.

Still - not to be downhearted. I'll go and see if I can find a Reading Supporter who wants to share their joy with me.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Right Backs Need Not Apply

Hey - guess what!

The FA have approached Mourinho about the possibility of becoming the England manager! He is on the shortlist!

I knew there was a reason he did not come to Leicester. He was destined for something else.

Meantime, Ian Holloway, the man who eventually did arrive to manage The Foxes, is starting to win the support and respect of the fans. Not that he came to a hostile reception but looking at the forum discussion when he was appointed there was certainly a sense of "we will wait and see".

Olly has quite a good media profile as we know and he is using this to excellent effect to communicate with the fans and wider football world. In a great article in the Guardian today he bemoans the current profile of the team:

"Everyone is a right-back. I'm going to change our name to Right-Back United.".

He also discloses that he wishes he was Scottish like Alex Ferguson, as being an "ooh-aah person", as he calls it, gives him less gravitas. Mind you I was a little confused about some of his logic:

"I wish I was related to William Wallace because did that bloke deal with some injustice. Would you like your wife to be taken off and shafted by an English laird on her wedding night?"

I think the answer is probably 'no' to that one Olly.

Anyway, there is building excitement in The Foxes' camp as we approach the January transfer window. Mr Holloway will have his first opportunity to spend Mr Mandaric's money. Although it sounds as if his message to potential signings will be "Right Backs need not apply".

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Christmas Might Be Cancelled

Christmas is allegedly on its way. And no doubt you like me are busy writing cards and choosing presents.

No? Bit of a last minute wonder are you?

Well here are some present ideas with a football theme to help you along.

To start with what about celebrating the buildup to Christmas with a WAGvent calender?

And who could resist a personalised football? Or that great stocking filler, a football annual?

But for those of you with a less commercial bent, what about pausing to thing about the very special connection between Christmas and football.

The story is well known now but for those of you who are not familiar with it, on Christmas Day in 1915, during the awfulness that was World War I, a group of English soldiers and a group of German soldiers spontaneously left their trenches to play a game of football. If ever there was a tale that highlighted the senselessness of war this has to be it. The same men who hours before and minutes later would be trying to kill each other, joined in a shared act of understanding.

Other connections?

Well there is the Christmas Island football team. Their 'league' does not seem very extensive. In fact as far as I can make out all their matches are against only one other team - Cocos Island. A permanent derby.

It would be like Manchester United and Manchester City or Liverpool and Everton only ever playing each other. Transfer opportunities would be somewhat limited and the practice of passing managers around would soon run out of steam.

Of course, all this nonsense will offer little comfort to Sam Allardyce, who would be quite happy just keep his job until Christmas I suspect. Although he is making plans for himself and his team to spend some time together during the festivities. Sweet!

Sssshhhh! I can hear Big Sam making a Christmas wish. What's that? You are going to tell those young Arsenal players that if they beat you tonight Father Christmas won't come this year?

Mmmm. An interesting ruse. It might just work. They are still just babies after all.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

The Franco Files

Life is better in France.

At least according to Florent Malouda. Which is interesting coming from someone whose name sounds like a cross between broccoli bits and a nasty smell.

He also reckons that Chelsea do not give their players advice on proper diets and that they drink coke all the time during training.

Question is - can they tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi?

And what is so good about France anyway?

Well there is the kissing of course. (Or maybe you prefer this version).

And letters. (Tut tut! What were you expecting? This?)

That more refined way of putting people to death, the guillotine (which they largely used on other French people so saving other nations the bother).

Nice cheese. And wine.

But what else?

Well there was always this man.

Renowned for his unusual life philosophies and confounding most in the media with poetic quotes such as:

"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown in to the sea."

He didn't always get it right though. I mean just listen to this:

"When you are a rich man you are proud to own a Rolls Royce and when you are a poor man you are proud to own a Renault"

Errr ..... no!

Guess that means I am no Francophile.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Wanna Know A Secret?

Who shone that light in Drogba's eye?

Come on boys. Own up. No-one leaves until the culprit is found. Someone must know something.

And that someone is me. I have information. I know who it was.

And what is more I know that they were signalling a secret message. And what that message said.

Wanna know a secret?

The message being signalled was "I'm coming back. They want me to manage England. I am the special one"

It was signalled from a laundry basket. I will say no more.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Nobody Likes A Quitter

Mandaric quits!

Imagine if that had been the headline last week.

Milan Mandaric has revealed today that he nearly left the world of football following his arrest.

If he is innocent, (and my belief is that he will be vindicated), you have to feel for a man who has had one of his most precious assets, his honour, damaged.

I'm not surprised he didn't quit though. People who have suceeded in the way Mandaric has are not going to be people who throw in the towel at the drop of a hat. He is what this commentator would call "intrinsically motivated". In other words, he is driven by inner forces such as passion and a sense of purpose rather than money or fame.

I do like a man with staying power.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

There's Always Fudge Cake

Well me and my fellow fans will not be the only ones disappointed by our 1 -2 defeat by Southampton at The Walkers today.

Olly, who as many of you will know writes a weekly column for the BBC (greetings fellow scribe!) says he was disappointed with only getting 4 out of 6 points in his first two games. That is 4 out of 9 now.

The poor man must be wondering what on earth he has walked into. It was a massive decision to leave a team who were at the time 4th in the Championship, to work with one struggling below half way. Then within less than a week of his arrival, his Chairman has been arrested on fraud charges.

To add to the irony, Holloway has himself spoken out against corruption in the game in the past.

Which of course gives him something of a connection with Mike Newell.

Maybe I wasn't so far out with predicting our manager after all. Maybe I just misinterpreted the "Mike Newell feeling" a bit.

Anyway enough of the self justification.

Good job Olly has bought a few of his mates with him to cheer him up. And he can always retreat to fudge cake, which is apparently one of his favourites. So much so in fact that he used to consume it competitively.

Maybe he has some "cheer yourself up tips" for Sam Allardyce, who must be feeling the need for something sweet after his team's 3 -1 loss today.

Friday, 30 November 2007

I've Got A Little List

Life is full of lists. Isn't it?

Cristiano Renaldo is on the 'list' for the world player of the year award, along with Kaka and Lionel Messi.

Poor Harry Redknapp, our own MM and co. are of course on a list they would rather not be on.

Knowing that my readers will be of an intellectual bent, (well obviously because you appreciate this blog!), I'm sure you will have spotted the reference in the title to the Gilbert and Sullivan song of the same name.

What's great about the G&S list is that it is a list of people who won't be missed.

So what football personalities might find themselves on such a list?

Morhino? - No he is definitely missed. By many.
Mandaric? - No, I believe he would be missed.
Megson? - Who?
Fryatt? - Well he will definitely be missing, for the next match at least having lost his appeal against a red card.

I'm sure you will have 'lists' of your own.

Me - I'm off to write my Christmas list. Don't want my lover being lost for ideas do I?

Thursday, 29 November 2007

I Smell A Rat

So - what to make of it all then.

A major disaster or a storm in a teacup?

The start of major financial difficulties and other troubles for LCFC, or a damp squib that will all be forgotten in a week.

It is hard to know what to make of these arrests.

There are some things that make you think there must be considerable substance to the allegations, including:
  • The police are unlikely to make such high profile arrests without good evidence (aren't they?)
  • Rumours about corruption in the game are widespread, suggesting this might be the first in a number of similar operations
  • The chances of there not being corruption in the game given the high financial stakes seem low
On the other hand, there are some puzzling elements, including:
  • Milan presents as a man with integrity (although I recognise I am partisan)
  • Harry Redknapp's account of the subject of the questioning is that they are witnesses rather than suspects
And there are some ratty smells about too. For example, what a coincidence that just when Harry Redknapp is well in the frame for the England manager's job, he is arrested. And what an even bigger coincidence that there were a load of tabloid photographers there when the police raided Harry Redknapp's house.

In the world of football speculation is what they do. They'll make this story last - eke it out - as long as they can. If they are guilty then they must follow the course of justice. If innocent they will suffer the damage of tarnish, not to mention the distress.

I'm going to sit and wait and see.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

May You Live In Interesting Times

When I originally selected LCFC as my team to support, my lover said "You have picked an interesting team at an interesting time in their history"

How prophetic his words were.

It has been a non-stop roller coaster since the moment I made my choice. The passion of the new owner. The drama with the various managers. The variability of performance ranging from the extremely dire to flashes of complete brilliance (a la Chelsea match for example).

Nothing has quite prepared me for tonight's news that MILAN MANDARIC HAS BEEN ARRESTED however.

It is still breaking news even though the arrests were made in dawn raids this morning. Five men have been arrested in total, including Harry Redknapp. They have all been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting. The allegations relate to the period Mandaric was at Portsmouth.

It is important to remember that at this stage these are arrests. I am not yet aware of anyone being charged. It would therefore be inappropriate for me to comment further on the specifics.

It does make you realise how close the world of football potentially is to the world of crime though. Rumours have been rife for a long time about corruption in the game, leading to the Stephens Enquiry which reported earlier this year of course. Then there were the recent arrests at Luton. Now this.

Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase " May you live in interesting times".

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Carry On Scoring

"Mila kuru si planina" was mistakenly sung by Tony Henry, an opera singer who sang Croatia's national anthem at the start of last weeks game against England. Apparently it means "My dear, my penis is a mountain" rather than the intended "You know my dear how we love your mountains". Of course, there is potentially a "double entendre" in the correct version but lets not go there........

Mistaken meanings, saucy innuendo and general naughtiness are of course part of our British heritage. Take for example The Carry On Films.

But has this influenced the beautiful game in any way?

Well it would seem it is possible to put together a squad of at least 17 players with filthy names.

And one wonders what would have happened if a planned Carry On film, Carry On Scoring, had ever seen the light of day. It is probably reasonable to say that the sight of Kevin Keegan running naked down the street high on acid would probably have changed the image of the game for ever.

And who knows what other well hidden connections there are?

For example, what if this was the way the prototypes for facilities at The Walkers were tested?. Or this the way football stars really spent their leisure time?

Not convinced?

Well how come Steve McLaren was heard to say at the end of the match last week "Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!"?

Monday, 26 November 2007

The Boiler Room Is Smoking

The attrition rate of Premiership managers this season so far is 30% - and its only November!

Kicked into touch to date:
  • Mourhino by Chelsea
  • Lee by Bolton
  • Jol by Tottenham
  • Davies by Derby
  • Bruce by Birmingham
  • Hutchings by Wigan
Looking decidedly wobbly are:
The rate of turnover in this group is already higher than the 04/05 and 05/06 seasons. Bundle the Steve McLaren sacking in with all the other problems facing English football at the moment, it does feel like a system that is falling apart.

Football is big business of course. And the system has to rise to that. But what of the other things that football is about? The passion and the loyalty. Building for success over time, not going for quick wins in response to pressure, which will inevitably mean the longer term is not properly attended to.

If we were a ship, the klaxon would be sounding. There would be cries of "The boiler room is smoking. It could burst into flames at any moment"

Lets hope we have got the right equipment to put the fire out and repair the damage.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Everybody Wants To Be A Cat

Suddenly everyone wants to be a dad!

There is Capello who believes the problems of the England football team are psychological not technical or physical.

Dads have a special place in football of course. A love of the beautiful game often comes from this source.

Craig Gordon says it was his dad who inspired him to play football. And this man is the son of the inventor of Subuteo. And of course Darren Ferguson owes so much to his famous father.

Parenthood is such a gift. There is nothing in the world like the closeness of of a parent with their child. And I speak as a mother who has just spent a wonderful 24 hours with her beautiful daughter.

My lover has inspired his children too. His daughter is an artist and lives life in her own unique way because of his encouragement to always believe in herself. And his right handed son is a left handed guitarist in a talented band currently touring America. This is their latest release. It was his left-handed dad who taught him to play and love the guitar.

Lucky for those Foxes then that Uncle Ian has arrived. He said yesterday:

"They just need some stability - they need a new dad who is going to calm them down and set some rules out"

Its official then. Dads are cool cats.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Men In Suits

Seems it is not just Steve McLaren who is being held responsible for Wednesday's debacle. Even the government is warning the FA that they need to bring about some fundamental reforms - or else!

This blogger thinks the FA themselves should be sacked. There certainly seems to be considerable evidence that significant change is necessary. As long ago as 2005, a review undertaken by Lord Burns identified a number of major concerns including:

  • Potential conflicts of interests among FA board members
  • An unrepresentative council
  • Lack of confidence in the disciplinary process
  • Too much power being wielded by the Premier League
  • Lack of representation for the grassroots game

  • When you look at the makeup of the Board you can see what he means.

    It's always a strange situation when you have a group of people who are the "accountable body". Who are they accountable to? And what power do those they are accountable to have to change anything?

    I guess ultimately the FA are accountable to the fans and the commercial investors, which includes the government of course.

    There is a real problem though I think when you have organisations who are responsible for recruiting themselves and for assessing their own performance. It is well known for example that so often people and groups recruit in their own image. It is why women and minority groups find it so difficult to reach the top.

    Which begs the question, why are there no women on the FA Board? There is a growing women's football movement. You do not necessarily have to have a history within the football world (Brian Barwick the Chair being a case in point) to make a contribution. And maybe just maybe you would get some different perspectives and skills.

    Ultimately of course it is about having the right people for the right job and I am not necessarily in favour of quotas or tokenism. But you do have to ask yourself if it is time for a very different approach. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

    How different these men in suits seem to our new manager. I heard him interviewed on Talk Sport last night. My impressions were;
    • genuine
    • passionate
    • thoughtful
    • open
    • kind
    • modest
    • in-touch
    • ambitious
    • dedicated
    • ordinary (in the nicest sense)
    • not simply 'a man in a suit'
    Having heard him I am not surprised Manadaric chose him. These are all qualities that MM has stated he admires. This is complemented by his performance record, which although he is no Wenger or Ferguson, is respectable.

    What touched me most was when he was talking about the team and the state he has found them in. Not judging, not using it as an opportunity to promote himself, but a genuine sense of concern that here were a bunch of young men who had had a difficult time over recent months, experienced instability and change and who just need a combination of TLC and firm guidance and leadership.

    As you have guessed I am impressed so far. Ultimately of course it will be the results that count but I'm prepared to invest my belief in him.

    Especially after today's 0 2 win against Bristol City.

    Olly Olly Olly - Oi Oi Oi!!!!

    Friday, 23 November 2007

    We Have An Opinion

    There are a few lonely places in the world and I suspect that the Steve McLaren Fanclub is one of them at the moment.

    A few people are a bit cross with him. And he has now been fired from his job as England manager of course. After just 16 months.

    Perhaps we should not be too surprised. After all the FA originally wanted Scolari.

    Of course one of the big questions on everyone's lips, is who will replace him. Other contenders last time round included Allardyce, Curbishley and O'Neill. O'Neill has already stated that he does not wish to put himself forward this time though, as has Allardyce.

    Needless to say rumours, speculation and suggestions are rife.

    Should be Redknapp say some. No way say Portsmouth. If it does turn out to be him I hope he will resist extending his squad to include members of the crowd.

    We want Mourinho chant others. Yes please says Georgina Best. I'm sure he would be a popular choice with the fans.

    Frank Capello has made it clear he would be interested in the job and is currently the favourite. This could bring a whole new meaning to phrases such as "C'e un capello nella minestra" (there is a hair in the soup).

    Scolari, Shearer, Robson, Beckham - all names I have heard in the frame.

    But this is football. Which means all fans have to have an opinion on who it should and will be.

    So where is GB going to cast her prediction?

    For good man management skills, excellent performance record and great attacking football - Harry Redknapp.

    Thursday, 22 November 2007

    I Don't Believe It

    OK OK . You won't hear me say it very often so listen hard because I can only bring myself to whisper it.................
    I was wrong!

    At last our 'precious' new manager has been revealed as Ian Holloway.

    The worst thing is I won't get any of this.

    Our Ian is a West Country boy - like myself. Except of course I am a girl.

    He's had a time of it too, one way or another. He has three deaf children. And his wife fought off cancer when they were first going out together.

    Enough of that anyway. I'm off to research the answers to the questions posed by one of my readers in the comments on yesterday's post. They are quite hard for a girl who has only just learned to do football.

    I'm going to try my very best though.

    Feel as if I have to redeem myself after my uncharacteristic blunder.

    Wednesday, 21 November 2007


    If you were a football manager, would you leave God on the bench?

    So how come it took 45 minutes of football for Steve McLaren to put Golden Balls on the pitch?

    And why did Peter Crouch have to play the game of 11 men in the first half?

    And for what reason did we put on such a defensive line-up for the first half and then fail to defend?

    I was riveted to me seat. I had my hand over my mouth. I was screaming (in the house on my own). I hid my eyes. I was glued to the screen. I had my fingers and toes crossed. I froze in disbelief as Croatia's third goal went in.

    OK OK - I get it! I understand what doing football is really about at last.

    The drama. The pain. The anticipation. The disappointment.

    I'm truly gutted!!

    Tuesday, 20 November 2007

    Are We Nearly There Yet?


    The fans on the message board reckon Ian Holloway is hot favourite to become manager of The Foxes. So does this reporter.

    Mandaric denied it only yesterday, however.

    I'm sure Mandaric is speaking true.

    Come on though MM. We are getting bored with the wait.

    Monday, 19 November 2007

    The Land Of The Giant

    He's a bit of a one-off that Peter Crouch isn't he.

    I mean for a start he is the most unlikely looking football hero. Famed for his great goal scoring ability and body-popping celebrations, his propensity to contort his body is legendary.

    Not sure if he is quite as bendy as this though.

    He reminds me of one of these.

    Of course life for a tall boy is not always straightforward.

    For example where do you find a bed big enough?

    And do you think it is true that taller men are more sexually active and likely to father children? Or that taller men get paid more? And can you believe there is a club called the Tall Persons Club for the vertically endowed?

    198 cm up sounds a long way up to me. Imagine how weird the world would look from up there. I wonder if you have to cup your hands and talk up to him to make him hear.

    Of course it also means the goal is further away from his head than anyone else. Which means the target is much smaller.

    So I guess that does make him a football hero.

    Sunday, 18 November 2007

    Bruce Force

    So it looks as if the new manager of Wigan is going to be Steve Bruce.

    Not to be confused with Robert the Bruce. Or Brucie baby. Nor Bruce Lee, Bruce Campbell or Bruce Willis. In fact, don't be confused by any Bruces.

    Steve Bruce has been having something of a 'blue' time recently at Birmingham City and is jumping ship before he is forced to walk the plank by Carson Yeung, the prospective new owner . That should cheer him up.

    Notable facts about Steve Bruce include a story that in 2004 he was involved in a fight with three men who tried to steal his car. He has also written 3 books called "Sweeper", "Defender" and Striker". I sense a theme...................

    Do you think when Steve Bruce signs on the dotted line Dave Whelan will say "This Land Is Your Land"?

    Saturday, 17 November 2007

    The Great Escape

    Once again, England lives to fight another day. Israel beat Russia, meaning that if England beat Croatia on Wednesday they qualify for Euro 2008.

    Bit like us and Gary Megson. A great escape I reckon - for us.

    Which football is full of apparently. Like this and this and best of all this.

    There is one thing in life we can be sure we won't escape from - no matter how lucky we are.


    Friday, 16 November 2007

    Better Late Than Never

    Sorry I haven't posted for a while. Combination of being very busy and feeling a bit mopey and 'can't be bothered'.

    I know, I should be ashamed of myself.

    It's not as if I have been short of material. For example, if I had posted on Wednesday, I would have talked about the press coverage on Wayne Rooney. He is apparently studying for GCSEs in Maths and English as well as learning to play the guitar. At one level you might argue that the report in The Sun is simply meant to be tongue in cheek. Personally I thought it rather cruel. Fair play to him I say. Go for it boy!

    If I had posted yesterday, my story would have been about the Luton Bung Scandal. A whole load of Luton staff have been charged with breaches of financial rules. And guess who blew the whistle? Yes the man himself. Georgina's Best's hot tip to be the next Leicester manger - Mike Newell.

    Today of course all the buzz is about the internationals. Scotland are due to play Italy tomorrow in Glasgow, having performed significantly above expectations so far in the Euro 2008 competition . The fate of England, however, still lies in the balance tonight after they beat Austria 1 0. A variety of convoluted alternatives could result in England qualifying by the skin of their teeth or being knocked out of the competition - a performance significantly below expectations.

    Meantime The Foxes are having a little rest this weekend. Their next match is against Bristol City on 24th November. By that time Mandaric is hoping to have a new manager in place.

    That makes two of us Mandy.