Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Leicester City: on the up.

Talking to a mate yesterday about the past seasons I realised I’d swung from one extreme to the other. Struggling in the Championship for a few years and finally being relegated, I’d forgotten what winning felt like. We’d celebrate a late, scrambled winner against Barnsley like a cup final win because it gave us a glimmer of hope but finally
give up in front of live Sky Sports cameras; the humiliation of Stoke’s promotion celebrations making it that little bit worse. But I also realised that with the arrival of Nigel Pearson and the fantastic season we’ve just had, I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to lose. With just seven losses all season over all competitions it feels like we were invincible ever since we arrived at the top of League One with an away win at Scunthorpe (which I had the fortune to witness!). Of course, at times during the season it certainly didn’t seem that way but now, leading to the new campaign it certainly feels like we have momentum with us.

Finishing seven points clear at the top of a competitive league, Leicester go back into the Championship, which will also be very competitive. However, I still really do believe we are in a good position. I truly believe we can catch some of the bottom half teams from last season off guard and be a surprise to some of the relegated and top half teams in the coming campaign. It will be fun to engage some old rivalries with many Midlands teams to play (Derby, Forest and Cov!) and to test out the rejuvenated Ipswich and capitulating Newcastle and I think we can be a force in the league.

Saying all of this means nothing, of course, unless City themselves keep up the good form and rise to the challenge. Our big new signings Dany N’Guessan and Richie Wellens look promising to consolidate the stong squad we already have (studying at the University of Lincoln, I’ve seen N’Guessan play a couple of times last season and he certainly looked out of League Two’s ability) and the securing of Jack Hobbs and Wayne Brown permanently is also very good news. We need a new forward or two to help Fryatt and Howard out (could Dany fill this gap?) but the arrival of Chris Weale to calm our goalkeeping problems and the recovery of Aleksander Tunchev are exciting additions to last season’s finishing squad. A strong squad with a good league winning morale, lead by the consistent manager we’ve been waiting for in Nigel Pearson, gives me confidence for the season to come and I really believe Leicester can pose a serious threat in the Championship.