Tag Archives: Leicester City

Memorable Matches: Tottenham Hotspur 5-4 Leicester City (May 2018)

Goalscorers: Jamie Vardy 4, 73, Harry Kane 7, 76, Riyad Mahrez 16, Kelechi Iheanacho 47, Erik Lamela 49, 60, Christian Fuchs 53 OG

Teams:

Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris, Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Kyle Walker-Peters, Victor Wanyama, Moussa Sissoko (Heung-Min Son 84), Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela (Davinson Sanchez 78), Lucas Moura (Dele Alli 74), Harry Kane

Leicester City: Eldin Jakupovic, Christian Fuchs, Harry Maguire, Wes Morgan, Danny Simpson (Hamza Choudhury 56), Vicente Iborra, Adrien Silva, Demarai Gray (Fousseni Diabate 61), Riyad Mahrez, Kelechi Iheanacho (Harvey Barnes 85), Jamie Vardy

Referee: Craig Pawson, Attendance: 77,841

One of the best games of the 2017-2018 Premier League season came on the final day of the campaign. Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City shared nine goals in an end-to-end, see-saw contest in what was meant to be Spurs’ swansong game at Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham had already secured UEFA Champions League football following a midweek victory over Newcastle United but still needed to match or better Liverpool’s result to secure a top-three finish for a third successive season. However, they suffered an early blow when Jamie Vardy found the back of the net with a header after only four minutes.

Vardy had scored in the Foxes 2-1 victory back in November over Tottenham and so too had Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian put Leicester back infront on 16 minutes with what turned out to be his final goal for the club with a summer move beckoning to newly-crowned champions Manchester City.

In-between, Harry Kane had equalised as he continued his dogged pursuit of Mohamed Salah in the race for the Golden Boot. Unfortunately for Kane, Salah had scored Liverpool FC’s opening goal against Brighton & Hove Albion which meant Kane’s two-year stranglehold on the Golden Boot was about to come to an end.

Tottenham had lost Jan Vertonghen in the warm-up to an injury and throughout, they looked very nervy defensively. Two minutes into the second half, Kelechi Iheanacho drove forward from midfield, held off a challenge and found the top-right corner of Hugo Lloris’ goal with a stunning effort. However, Leicester’s two-goal cushion didn’t last long.

The home side scored three times in 11 minutes to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 advantage. Erik Lamela came alive. The Argentine, beset by injury during his spell as a Spurs player, was starting to come good. He scored twice from close-range after two excellent crosses from back-up full-back, Kyle Walker-Peters. Lamela also had a shot which deflected off the unfortunate Christian Fuchs into the back of the net past Leicester reserve goalkeeper, Eldin Jakupovic.

This incredible game took yet another twist on 73 minutes when the exceptional Vardy scored his second goal of the afternoon to level the scoreline again at 4-4. This was an eye in the critics for Leicester manager Claude Puel, who was under pressure with his job and being accused of playing negative football.

However, there was to be a winning goal. Kane matched Vardy’s feat, curling in his second of the day and achieving the milestone of 30 goals in a season for the first time in his career, ultimately two short of Salah’s final total. The win was enough to clinch third place for Tottenham in the table, although they finished 23 points behind Manchester City. Leicester finished ninth.

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Great Goals: Jamie Vardy – LEICESTER CITY vs. Liverpool FC (February 2016)

In February 2016, Leicester City were still top of the Premier League table and many still believed that this amazing journey would have to come to an end at some point. In the space of a few days, they turned all the doubters into believers.

They faced Liverpool FC who were going through a transformation period under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp. The scoreline was locked at 0-0 in the 60th minute and it looked like something special was going to be required to break the deadlock. England international Jamie Vardy produced it with one of the best goals of his career.

Picked out by the eagle-eyed Riyad Mahrez, Vardy was in a one-on-one situation with Dejan Lovren. Lovren thought he had his angles covered but the Croatian was to be proven wrong. Vardy produced the most breathtaking of strikes that left Simon Mignolet flapping at thin air. It was an amazing moment for one of the players of the season. Even Klopp admitted afterwards that the goal was “world-class.”

Leicester won 2-0 and days later, stunned title favourites Manchester City to win 3-1 at The Etihad Stadium. They were on their way to completing the greatest story ever seen in the first 25 years of the Premier League.

Seasonal Stories: Leicester City (2014-2015)

It’s been one of the most traumatic weeks in the history of Leicester City Football Club. The tragic helicopter crash outside the club’s King Power Stadium on Saturday 27th October that claimed the lives of five people has shaken the world of football. One of the five members who died was Leicester owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. Owner of the club since 2010, Vichai’s vision, commitment and kindness saw him much-loved by the players, the supporters and the city of Leicester as a whole. Six years after his takeover, the Foxes stunned us all to become the champions of the Premier League. This won’t have happened without Vichai’s belief in the project he was running. His kind generosity shown by his donations to the local hospital and University show that it wasn’t just about the football.

Leicester will miss him and the whole football world has lost one of the good guys. I echo the thoughts of many by saying he will never be forgotten and send my thoughts to his family, as well as the other families who lost loved ones on the helicopter and everyone connected with Leicester City Football Club.

The title success of 2015-2016 began with a remarkable escape from relegation the previous season and here is the story of Leicester’s 2014-2015 campaign which started their journey to Premier League glory.  

The start of an incredible fairytale

Leicester City’s escape from relegation in 2014-2015 has to be considered among the best ever seen in Premier League history. The Foxes spent the bulk of the campaign bottom of the table and went into April seven points adrift of safety. However, an incredible run of seven wins from their last nine matches saw them complete a remarkable escape from the drop.

It would be the start of an incredible fairytale which would ultimately see them become Premier League champions just one season later.

A decent start

After an absence of 10 seasons, Leicester were back in the top-flight after running away with the Championship title. It was Nigel Pearson who was in-charge. The former centre-back was in his second spell as manager of the club.

First business of the summer by Pearson was to give new contracts to three of his key players from the Championship title-winning campaign in midfielder Matty James, winger Jeff Schlupp and skipper Wes Morgan. Leicester then added to their ranks with the acquisition of Esteban Cambiasso on a free transfer from Inter Milan and a club-record fee was dished out for Brighton & Hove Albion forward Leonardo Ulloa. The Foxes paid £8 million for Ulloa’s services.

Leicester made a decent start to life back as a Premier League club, collecting eight points from their first five fixtures. Ulloa settled in very quickly, scoring on his home debut against Everton to earn a point and netting the winner away at Stoke City.

They enjoyed an incredible 5-3 victory over Manchester United in a sensational comeback against the most successful side in the Premier League era. With an hour played, Pearson’s side were trailing 3-1 against a team that had the talents of Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria and Robin van Persie among their attacking line-up. However, this fixture was the first sign of the now famous motto “Foxes never quit.” Ulloa added another two to his tally and there were first Premier League goals for Cambiasso and Jamie Vardy. Leicester finished the day in seventh place in the Premier League table.

Worrying times

After that excellent start, Leicester began an alarming slide towards trouble. They went 13 games without a victory, collecting a meagre two points from that period in home draws against Burnley and Sunderland.

The goals dried up too. Cambiasso’s strike in the 3-2 defeat to Queens Park Rangers at the end of November was the first goal from a Leicester player in nearly two months. Even Ulloa’s early goalscoring spurt had been forgotten. The Argentine went eight games without a goal during this bleak winter period.

The defeat to QPR saw Leicester drop to the bottom of the table and they would remain there for the next 19 games.

The winless sequence did end just before 2014 ended when Riyad Mahrez’s goal beat Hull City 1-0 at The KCOM Stadium. However, Leicester spent Christmas Day bottom of the Premier League. Traditionally, this means relegation at the end of the season. Just two sides (West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland) had avoided relegation having been in this predicament. They would have to defy history too.

Nearly doomed

The opening of the January transfer window allowed Pearson to add to his squad and he brought in Robert Huth on-loan from Stoke City until the end of the season. Just two clean sheets had been kept in the top-flight before his arrival in mid-January, so plugging the leaky defence was vital. Huth would add vital experience.

Andrej Kramaric also arrived with a prestigious goalscoring record from Croatia but this move didn’t quite work out for either player or club.

January started well enough. On New Years’ Day, Leicester came back from 2-0 down to earn a deserved point at Anfield despite being on the wrong end of some questionable refereeing decisions. Paul Konchesky’s goal beat Aston Villa in their next match but then Leicester hit the buffers again, going on another painful winless streak – this one lasting eight games.

Performances were much better during this winless run but the points weren’t coming. They were denied a victory away at Everton in February by a late Romelu Lukaku equaliser and scored three times but still lost 4-3 at White Hart Lane to Tottenham Hotspur a month later. On 22nd March, Leicester were seven points from safety. Their fate looked all but sealed.

TABLE ON 22nd March 2015

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
15 Hull City 30 6 10 14 28 40 -12 28
16 Aston Villa 30 7 7 16 19 39 -20 28
17 Sunderland 30 4 14 12 23 44 -19 26
18 Burnley 30 5 10 15 26 49 -23 25
19 Queens Park Rangers 30 6 4 20 31 54 -23 22
20 LEICESTER CITY 29 4 7 18 27 48 -21 19

Wins and ostriches!

April began with a home fixture against mid-table West Ham United. For once, things went Leicester’s way. David Nugent missed a penalty but a cracking Cambiasso strike and a late winner from Andy King gave Leicester a 2-1 victory.

A week later, another late winner – this time from Vardy helped the Foxes to a 3-2 success in a thrilling match away at West Bromwich Albion. It was only the second time back-to-back wins had been recorded in the season and this gave the fans a glimmer of hope that avoiding relegation was still a possibility.

Two wins in a row became four wins in a row with victories at home to Swansea City and away at Burnley. In the match at Turf Moor, Leicester conceded a penalty which was missed by Burnley’s Matt Taylor. Less than a minute later, Vardy bundled the ball over the goal-line to steer the Foxes to a vital 1-0 victory that virtually condemned Burnley to the drop and incredibly, took Leicester out of the bottom three.

A midweek defeat to champions-elect Chelsea did halt the march towards survival. In his post-match press conference, Pearson took offence to a question posed by a local reporter and it turned into an unbelievable confrontation.

His response was;

“I think you must have had your head in the clouds, away or on holiday or reporting on a different team because if you don’t know the answer to that question, then I think your question is absolutely unbelievable. 

“The fact that you don’t understand where I’m coming from. If you don’t understand that question then I think you are an ostrich – your head must be in the sand. Is your head in the sand?”

It wasn’t the first time that his combative style had been played out infront of the cameras. Earlier in the season, Pearson was involved in a touchline altercation with Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur. He put his hands around McArthur’s neck after the Scot had accidentally knocked him over whilst chasing the ball. Despite growing reports he had been sacked following this incident, Pearson held onto his job.

Despite the Chelsea loss, Leicester recovered in style and the wins kept coming. Newcastle United were easily beaten 3-0 and Mahrez scored twice in a 2-0 success over Southampton. This amazing escape was completed on the penultimate weekend of the season. A goalless draw at Sunderland, coupled with Hull City’s 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur meant Leicester were safe before the final day.

They actually finished 14th in the table after a 5-1 final day rout of already-relegated Queens Park Rangers. Seven wins from their last nine matches had taken the Foxes away from danger when they had virtually been written off by everyone within the game.

FINAL 2014-2015 TABLE – THE BOTTOM SEVEN

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
14 LEICESTER CITY 38 11 8 19 46 55 -9 41
15 Newcastle United 38 10 9 19 40 63 -23 39
16 Sunderland 38 7 17 14 31 53 -22 38
17 Aston Villa 38 10 8 20 31 57 -26 38
18 Hull City 38 8 11 19 33 51 -18 35
19 Burnley 38 7 12 19 28 53 -25 33
20 Queens Park Rangers 38 8 6 24 42 73 -31 30

Despite the achievement of steering the club away from almost certain relegation, there would be no happy ending for Pearson though. He was sacked in June 2015 after the board said “the working relationship between Nigel and the Board is no longer viable.”

Claudio Ranieri succeeded him and what happened afterwards was simply remarkable. In the following season, Leicester City became just the sixth club in the Premier League era to be crowned champions and this all started with a sensational comeback to avoid the drop in 2014-2015.

Shock Results: Leicester City 0-3 Crystal Palace (December 2017)

Goalscorers: Christian Benteke 19, Wilfried Zaha 40, Bakary Sako 90

Teams:

Leicester City: Kasper Schmeichel, Ben Chilwell, Harry Maguire, Wes Morgan, Danny Simpson, Vicente Iborra (Shinji Okazaki 77), Wilfred Ndidi (SENT OFF), Marc Albrighton (Andy King 77), Demarai Gray, Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy (Leonardo Ulloa 85)

Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni, Scott Dann, James Tomkins, Martin Kelly, Jeff Schlupp, Yohan Cabaye (Jairo Riedewald 85), James McArthur, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andros Townsend, Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke (Bakary Sako 88)

Referee: Martin Atkinson, Attendance: 31,081

After their truly abysmal start to the 2017-2018 season that yielded no points from seven matches, Crystal Palace were starting to recover by the time Christmas arrived. The Eagles had found some form at Selhurst Park but were still without the magic formula on their travels. They hadn’t even scored away from home by the time they travelled to The King Power Stadium.

They faced a rejuvenated Leicester City. Two months earlier, the former Premier League champions had dispensed with the services of Craig Shakespeare as manager after just one win in their first eight matches. Now, Claude Puel had steered them to four successive victories and just one defeat in seven matches, which had come against Manchester City. With Palace’s pompous away record, this looked like a home banker on many of the weekend’s accumulators.

However, Roy Hodgson’s team were about to tear up the formbook, producing a dazzling display that left the Foxes in a Saturday lunchtime daze. Palace took control of the game from the opening moments and deservedly took the lead after 19 minutes. Christian Benteke showed some of his old form to power a header past Kasper Schmeichel after he met Andros Townsend’s deep cross. It was the perfect response from Benteke, who had taken a spot-kick against AFC Bournemouth a week earlier and missed having gone against team instructions from his manager.

Only a yellow card which led to a suspension would temper Benteke’s afternoon. The Belgian was a menace throughout and so was the ever-increasingly influential Wilfried Zaha. Five minutes before half-time, he doubled the advantage for the south-east Londoners, producing a lovely stepover to beat Ben Chilwell, then producing a devastating finish past Schmeichel. Leicester looked shell-shocked. This was almost a completely different team from the one that had just dismantled Southampton 4-1 in their own backyard less than 72 hours earlier.

Puel’s side did rally after the break. Vicente Iborra had the ball in the net but it was rightfully disallowed for a foul in the build-up, whilst veteran goalkeeper Julian Speroni was at full stretch to deny Riyad Mahrez from distance. Any realistic hope Leicester had of getting back into the match though was ended by Wilfred Ndidi’s dismissal just past the hour mark. On his 21st birthday, Ndidi went down cheaply in the penalty area looking for a spot-kick. Martin Atkinson wasn’t falling for this trick and booked the Nigerian for simulation. That was his second bookable offence, leading to an early bath and a dressing-down from his manager. It wasn’t a birthday to remember for Ndidi.

Crystal Palace saw the game out comfortably with the extra man advantage and Benteke was slightly unfortunate not to win a penalty for his side late on when it seemed like Marc Albrighton had tripped him. In stoppage-time, it was his replacement, Bakary Sako who added the gloss to an almost perfect away performance with a fine finish.

There were still nine points between the sides on the full-time whistle but this win and a resounding 5-0 victory at Selhurst Park in April made Leicester a very favourable opponent for Crystal Palace in the 2017-2018 Premier League season.

Memorable Matches: Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City (August 2017)

Goalscorers: Alexandre Lacazette 2, Shinji Okazaki 5, Jamie Vardy 29, 56, Danny Welbeck 45, Aaron Ramsey 83, Olivier Giroud 85

Teams:

Arsenal: Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding (Olivier Giroud 67), Nacho Monreal, Sead Kolasinac, Mohamed Elneny (Aaron Ramsey 67), Granit Xhaka, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Danny Welbeck (Theo Walcott 75)

Leicester City: Kasper Schmeichel, Christian Fuchs, Harry Maguire, Wes Morgan, Danny Simpson, Matty James (Kelechi Iheanacho 82), Wilfred Ndidi, Marc Albrighton (Demarai Gray 88), Riyad Mahrez, Shinji Okazaki (Daniel Amartey 72), Jamie Vardy

Referee: Mike Dean, Attendance: 59,387

The first match of the 2017-2018 Premier League season was held on a Friday night for the first time in the competition’s history and it was a battle between two of the league’s six previous champions. Three-time winners Arsenal welcomed 2016 champions Leicester City to The Emirates Stadium and it proved to be a blockbuster start to the new campaign.

Just 94 seconds were played before Arsenal went into the lead. Leicester skipper Wes Morgan misjudged the flight of a cross by Mohamed Elneny and Alexandre Lacazette guided his header into the bottom corner of Kasper Schmeichel’s net. Lacazette was the new club-record signing and became just the seventh player to score on his Premier League debut for Arsenal.

The lead didn’t last long though. Just three minutes later, the Foxes were level. Harry Maguire won a header at the back post and with Petr Cech caught in no-man’s land, Shinji Okazaki headed into an unguarded net to bring the visitors level. Leicester were showing signs of the devastating counter-attacking displays that took them to their shock title triumph two seasons earlier and took the lead just on 29 minutes. Marc Albrighton delivered a vicious diagonal ball across the face of the Arsenal goal and Jamie Vardy arrived to dispatch the ball past Cech.

It was a pulsating first half and just before Craig Shakespeare could get his team into the dressing room to praise them for coming from behind after such an early blow, Arsenal pegged them back. Debutant Sead Kolasinac cut the ball back for Danny Welbeck to finish. The action continued into the second half. Vardy grabbed his second of the evening, showing more demand in an aerial challenge with Nacho Monreal to guide Riyad Mahrez’s corner into the net. Whilst the shooting was superb, some of the defending from both teams was dreadful. However, this made the game a classic.

With the fans starting to show their frustration, Arsene Wenger turned to his bench to revive his side’s fortunes, bringing on both Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud. The substitutions had the desired impact. With seven minutes remaining, Ramsey levelled the scores although Leicester were furious that referee Mike Dean missed a clear handball from Mesut Ozil in the build-up to the goal.

Moments later, Giroud rose highest to meet Granit Xhaka’s corner and his header crept across the goal-line. It was enough to win the match for Arsenal and as they had 27 shots on-goal and 70% possession, they just about shaded the contest. However, it was a thrilling start to the season and a tough act to follow for the other 379 matches in the 2017-2018 campaign.

Great Goals: Jamie Vardy – West Bromwich Albion vs. LEICESTER CITY (March 2018)

Jamie Vardy has a happy habit for finding the back of the net on his trips to The Hawthorns. In four Premier League visits to West Bromwich Albion’s ground, Vardy has scored on every single visit there – three of them turning out to be decisive winning goals too.

However, this one was his best against the Baggies in March 2018 and the technique used saw it voted by BBC pundits as the Match of the Day Goal of the Season for the 2017-2018 campaign. West Brom were 1-0 ahead when Vardy rekindled the telepathic understanding he and Riyad Mahrez enjoyed for several seasons.

Mahrez produced a long pass and Vardy made the run behind Craig Dawson. Knowing where the goal was, Vardy watched the dipping ball fall out of the sky and with a first-time shot on the volley, drove the ball beyond Ben Foster. Leicester would go on to win the game 4-1 and drive West Brom closer to relegation.

The pass, the vision, the skill and the shot were all first-class and that is why Vardy is one of the best English strikers of recent times in the Premier League.

Premier League Rewind: 19th-21st August 2017

Results: Swansea City 0-4 Manchester United, AFC Bournemouth 0-2 Watford, Burnley 0-1 West Bromwich Albion, Leicester City 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion, Liverpool FC 1-0 Crystal Palace, Southampton 3-2 West Ham United, Stoke City 1-0 Arsenal, Huddersfield Town 1-0 Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Chelsea, Manchester City 1-1 Everton

The second weekend of the 2017-2018 Premier League season saw Manchester United steal an early march on all of their prospective title rivals. By the conclusion of the second round of fixtures, the Red Devils were one of only three teams to hold a 100% record.

Having thrashed West Ham United 4-0 on the opening weekend, Jose Mourinho’s side repeated the scoreline on their first away trip of the season which was in South Wales against Swansea City. The final score might have flattered them slightly but it came about through a devastating spell of three goals in the final 10 minutes. New striker Romelu Lukaku made it three goals in two matches and delightful finishes by Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial added to the glee of the supporters. Two games, two wins, two clean sheets, six points and eight goals scored. It was the perfect start for Mourinho in his second season in the Old Trafford dugout.

The other two sides still with a perfect record were slightly more unexpected in the shape of Huddersfield Town and West Bromwich Albion. Huddersfield had made a dream start to their Premier League life. After beating Crystal Palace 3-0 a week earlier, Aaron Mooy’s marvellous long-range effort was enough to defeat Newcastle United in the Terriers’ first home match in the top-flight. Meanwhile, West Bromwich Albion recorded their second successive 1-0 success, this time at Turf Moor away at Burnley. Hal Robson-Kanu made a dramatic contribution off the substitutes’ bench. First, he scored the winning goal after 71 minutes. 12 minutes later, he caught Matthew Lowton with his elbow and was duly sent off by referee Martin Atkinson. Little did the Baggies supporters realise at the time but this would be their last victory in the top-flight until mid-January.

After a shocking home defeat to Burnley, the pressure was already on championship-winning manager Antonio Conte and his shell-shocked Chelsea side when they travelled to Wembley Stadium for the first-ever Premier League match at the home of English football. Tottenham Hotspur were playing at Wembley for the season whilst their normal home was being redeveloped but it wasn’t a good start. They were defeated 2-1 by the champions. The hero was left-back Marcos Alonso, who scored both goals including a majestic free-kick. It looked like Chelsea had rediscovered their mojo.

On the Monday Night Football, Manchester City and Everton played out a stormy encounter at The Etihad Stadium which ended with the points shared and both teams finishing with 10 men. Wayne Rooney became only the second player in Premier League history to reach the milestone of 200 goals when he opened the scoring on a clinical counter-attack 10 minutes before half-time. The Citizens had Kyle Walker sent off on his home debut before half-time but put the pressure on and eventually found a way through with eight minutes left through a Raheem Sterling equaliser. Everton’s Morgan Schneiderlin was also given his marching orders before the end of the match. This draw would turn out to be City’s only dropped points until New Years’ Eve.

Arsenal were once again beaten at their bogey ground. Jese made an instant impact at Stoke City. On-loan from Paris Saint-Germain, the Spaniard scored the only goal of the game as Arsenal lost at Stoke for the fifth time in 10 seasons. Former champions Leicester City scored the fastest goal of the campaign when Shinji Okazaki found the net inside a minute. Harry Maguire headed home on his debut in the second half as the Foxes defeated Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0.

What else happened in August 2017?

  • One of the giants of the UK TV industry, Sir Bruce Forsyth passes away at the age of 89. His career in showbiz spanned an extraordinary 75 years with shows such as The Generation Game, Play Your Cards Right and Strictly Come Dancing.
  • At the age of 96, The Duke of Edinburgh carries out his final official engagement before retiring from public duty.
  • A four-year Renovation begins on Big Ben, meaning the chimes of the famous clock fall silent.
  • Two legends of the athletics track & field era bow out at the World Athletics Championships in London. Usain Bolt and Mo Farah both retire after the championships, with Farah moving into marathon running and Bolt hanging up his spikes for good.
  • 15 people are killed in a terrorist attack in Barcelona; one is a seven-year old, with dual British-Australian nationality.
  • 108 people are killed in the United States as Hurricane Harvey strikes Houston. The total damage of the storm reaches $125 billion.
  • The UN Security Council unanimously approves fresh sanctions on North Korean trade and investment.

Premier League Files: Andy Impey

Premier League Career: Queens Park Rangers (1992-1996), West Ham United (1997-1998), Leicester City (1998-2002, 2003-2004)

Andy Impey made 289 appearances during a Premier League career that ultimately spanned 10 seasons. He scored 12 times in the top-flight, playing for London clubs Queens Park Rangers and West Ham United, before finishing his Premier League days with Leicester City in 2004.

Impey made his professional debut for Queens Park Rangers in 1991 and would play for the Hoops for six seasons. He was an auxiliary player who could play either at left-back or on the left-hand side of midfield. Impey’s consistency was shown by his teammates who voted him as the club’s Player of the Season in three consecutive seasons (1993, 1994 & 1995).

Impey stayed with QPR after their relegation from the Premier League in 1996 but he would eventually cut his ties with the club and joined West Ham United in 1997. Harry Redknapp was a fan of Impey’s and was very annoyed midway through the 1998-1999 season when he was sold to Leicester City behind the manager’s back.

Impey was part of Martin O’Neill’s squad that won the League Cup in 2000 and he appeared as a substitute in the final against Tranmere Rovers. Whilst he made over 100 appearances for the Foxes, Andy never quite found the form he demonstrated when he was at QPR. His final Premier League appearance was in February 2004 when Leicester lost 3-1 to Newcastle United at St James’ Park.

Shortly afterwards, he moved to Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest on-loan and the move became permanent in the summer of 2004. He finished his playing days with Millwall and Coventry City before calling time on his playing career in 2006.

In 2015, he rejoined Queens Park Rangers as an academy coach.

The Managers: Micky Adams

Premier League Clubs Managed: Leicester City (2002, 2003-2004)

In a 19-year professional playing career, Micky Adams made 438 league appearances and experienced the Premier League as a player with Southampton. He made the step into management with Fulham in 1996 and has earned four promotions during his career. Unfortunately, his only full season in the Premier League as a boss ended with Leicester City suffering relegation in 2003-2004.

A Premier League player

Raised from the steel city of Sheffield, Adams made his playing breakthrough with Gillingham in 1978. He came through the playing ranks at the same time as fellow Premier League manager of the future, Steve Bruce and made nearly 100 appearances for the Gills before moving into the top-flight of the Football League, joining Coventry City in 1983. Again, he featured almost 100 times for the Sky Blues but he wasn’t well-appreciated by the supporters or the coaching staff and eventually moved to Leeds United in 1987. He left Coventry before their FA Cup final victory and it was actually the Midlands side that ended Leeds’ hopes of the famous trophy that season in the semi-final stage.

His most productive league spell of his playing days came at Southampton. Operating as a full-back, he joined the Saints for £250,000 in March 1989. It took him 18 months to earn himself a regular place in the team at The Dell. In the inaugural season of the Premier League, he played in 38 of the club’s 42 matches but is in the record books of the league for the wrong reasons. For dissent, he was given the red card in Southampton’s second match of the season against Queens Park Rangers. This meant he became the first-ever player in the Premier League to receive a red card.

His career in the top-flight ended when Alan Ball replaced Ian Branfoot as Southampton manager in January 1994. Ball elected to start Simon Charlton ahead of Adams and he was shipped out on-loan to Stoke City in March. Fulham signed him on a free transfer in the summer of 1994, reuniting him with Branfoot who would help Adams out with his first steps into coaching. However, it would be a real baptism of fire in which he would get the Fulham job as a manager.

91st out of 92

When Branfoot stepped down in March 1996, Fulham were sitting 91st out of 92 clubs in the top four divisions of English football. Relegation to the non-league looked like a distinct possibility so it was to be a real test of Micky’s managerial credentials straightaway.

He kept them up and in the following season, guided the Cottagers back to Division Two as they finished runners-up in the Third Division. His work won him Manager of the Season honours with limited resources to work on in west London.

In September 1997, his reward for starting Fulham’s charge up the divisions was the sack. Owner Mohammed Al Fayed decided to replace him with a higher-profile appointment as Ray Wilkins and Kevin Keegan moved into the dugout at Craven Cottage. That was four months after he had signed a five-year contract to stay on as Fulham boss.

He dropped down a division to join Swansea City but his reign there was short and not positive. He lasted a mere 13 days and oversaw just three games. Adams claimed money that had been promised to reinvest in the playing squad was not forthcoming. Before the season was out, he also had a go at managing a struggling Brentford side in the Second Division but couldn’t prevent them from being relegated. He was dismissed following their relegation with owner Ron Noades deciding to make himself the manager instead.

It is fair to say 1997-1998 was not a good season for Micky Adams.

From Brighton to Bassett

After a short break from management, Micky returned with Brighton & Hove Albion in April 1999. He arrived with the club in financial trouble, having been forced to sell their ground just to keep afloat. The only transfer fee he invested on during his time as Brighton boss was to sign Bobby Zamora for £100,000.

After leading Albion to a mid-table position in his first full season on the south coast, he led them to the Division Three title in 2000-2001 by 10 points. This led to him collecting a second Manager of the Season award. He felt though he had taken Brighton as far as he could and was disappointed to be overlooked for top-flight positions in the summer of 2001 at both Southampton and West Ham United.

In October 2001, he left Brighton to become Dave Bassett’s assistant manager at the Premier League’s basement side, Leicester City. The pair had worked together for six months at Nottingham Forest in 1998 and were brought in to try and rescue the Foxes precarious position. They had mustered just one victory in eight games at the start of the 2001-2002 campaign.

Bassett couldn’t save Leicester. The squad simply wasn’t good enough or confident enough to stay up in the Premier League. Days before their top-flight demise would be confirmed by a home defeat to Manchester United, Leicester confirmed Bassett would move into a Director of Football role and Adams would succeed him as manager. He was in-charge of the club’s final-ever match at Filbert Street which saw them defeat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on the final day of the season.

Despite Leicester propping up debts of almost £30 million on their relegation which led to a transfer embargo, Adams guided the club back to the Premier League at the first attempt of asking. Leicester finished runners-up to Portsmouth in the 2002-2003 First Division.

His work received praise from the man who replaced him at Fulham, Keegan. In November 2003, he said: “I have a lot of respect for Micky Adams, who has proved himself at all levels. He has gone into clubs with little or no money to spend and shown he is not afraid of taking on tough jobs.”

A testing Premier League spell

With Leicester’s financial issues, Micky had to rely on loans and free transfers to bring players in ahead of their top-flight return. He did bring the likes of Les Ferdinand, Craig Hignett and Marcus Bent into the club but things were always going to be tough for the Foxes.

A second half collapse at Molineux in October saw them throw away a 3-0 lead to lose 4-3 to Wolverhampton Wanderers and it would be the story of Leicester’s campaign. They scored plenty of goals but conceded too many. Despite drawing at home with unbeaten Arsenal, winning 1-0 away at Birmingham and 3-0 at Manchester City, Leicester’s prospects of avoiding relegation always looked grim.

In March 2004, the club made the headlines for the wrong reasons when nine players were arrested for various offences related to an alleged sexual assault on three German tourists in La Manga. Three players; Keith Gillespie, Paul Dickov and Frank Sinclair were all charged but all allegations were later proved to be false. Adams even offered his resignation over the unsavoury incident but this was rejected by the Leicester board.

In his autobiography ‘Micky Adams, My Life in Football’ published in 2017, he admitted: “There is no doubt in my mind that it had an adverse effect on my career. Even though the players did not suffer in the same way, they had other issues that were never brought to light.”

Leicester were relegated in early May after a 2-2 draw with Charlton Athletic and after a poor start to the 2004-2005 campaign back in the Championship, Micky quit the club despite the board again attempting to change his mind. This time though, they had to accept his decision.

Since then, Adams has managed several clubs in the Football League, including Sheffield United, Coventry City, Port Vale and a second spell at Brighton. He ended his football management career in 2015 with Irish side Sligo Rovers.

Since then, he has his own football consultancy business, which has led to him lecturing on the Wales FA pro-licence course and does some part-time coaching for an Under-18 side close to his home in Leicestershire.

Premier League Files: Dennis Wise

Premier League Career: Chelsea (1992-2001), Leicester City (2001-2002)

Before John Terry experienced his rich success as captain of Chelsea, their most successful leader in the pre-Abramovich era was Dennis Wise. The tough-tackling, no-nonsense central midfielder certainly got in the face of his opponents and never messed around in his 20-year career on the football pitch. Whilst third place in 1999 was the closest he got to in the league, Dennis won three FA Cups and experienced European glory through Chelsea’s 1998 triumph in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.

Wise first made his name at Wimbledon, joining them at the age of 18 when he left Southampton after falling out with Lawrie McMenemy. Under the tutorage of Dave Bassett, he blossomed and immediately became an important part of ‘The Crazy Gang.’

He played a crucial role in Wimbledon’s run to the 1988 FA Cup final. After producing the delivery of the free-kick against Watford in the quarter-finals, he scored the winner to defeat Luton Town in the semi-finals. Wimbledon played Liverpool FC in the final and were given little chance of causing an upset but the Dons had other ideas. Wise did a wonderful job of containing John Barnes and then, it was his free-kick that was headed home into the net by Lawrie Sanchez. Wimbledon had just dashed Liverpool’s hopes of a second league and cup double.

He remained with Wimbledon until July 1990 when he switched from south to west London, joining Chelsea for a club-record fee at the time of £1.6 million. He impressed immediately, scoring 10 goals in 33 matches despite the Blues finishing mid-table. The arrival of his former teammate at Wimbledon, Vinnie Jones made the Chelsea centre midfield one of the toughest and hardest around in English football. In February 1992, he scored the winning goal at Anfield to spearhead the Londoners to their first win at the home of Liverpool FC in 57 years.

In the summer of 1993, Andy Townsend left for Aston Villa and on the arrival of Glenn Hoddle as manager, Wise was appointed as Townsend’s successor in the captaincy department. He made the FA Cup final again in his first campaign with the armband but this time, it was on the losing side as Chelsea lost 4-0 to Manchester United.

The 1994-1995 season was a miserable campaign for him. Form dipped on the pitch and ill-discipline was shown in the public eye when he was sent off at St James’ Park against Newcastle United for foul and abusive language in September 1994. This earned him a rebuke from Hoddle and he would briefly be stripped of the captaincy after an even further damaging incident in a season of shameful scandals.

In March 1995, Dennis was sentenced to a three-month jail sentence for assaulting a London taxi driver, also being forced to pay £1,200 in compensation. He was given an unconditional bail and eventually, the sentence was overturned on appeal. Many of his legal team were stunned by the sentence handed down and Chelsea stood by him. Managing director Colin Hutchinson said: “We don’t condone what Dennis did but its non-football related and the punishment will come through the courts.” A long-standing thigh injury finished off his wretched personal season as Chelsea finished a mediocre 11th in the table and the only highlight was a run to the Cup Winners’ Cup semi-finals before losing to eventual winners Real Zaragoza. This incident did effectively end his England international career as he wasn’t selected again for another four years.

Wise put behind him a troubled year and began to flourish again when Ruud Gullit arrived at the club, first as a partner in midfield for Dennis, then to manage the club following Hoddle’s departure to take the England job. It was during this period that he finally began to win silverware as Chelsea’s captain. He skippered them to victory in the 1997 FA Cup final against Middlesbrough, repeating this achievement three years later when Aston Villa were beaten in the last FA Cup event to be played underneath the Wembley ‘Twin Towers.’ In-between these two triumphs in his most specialised competition for success, Wise also skippered Chelsea to glory in the 1998 League Cup, 1998 UEFA Super Cup and 1998 European Cup Winners’ Cup. In the final against VfB Stuttgart, it was his wonderful pass that played substitute Gianfranco Zola through to score the winning goal in Stockholm.

His chequered career at Chelsea came to an end in the summer of 2001 when Claudio Ranieri sold him to Leicester City for £1.6 million. Ranieri was seeking to trim the average age of the playing squad. When he left, Dennis was ranked fourth in the club’s appearance history record, featuring 445 times, scoring 76 goals. He was crowned the club’s Player of the Season in both 1998 and 2000.

His one season at Leicester City was largely forgettable. He made just 17 league appearances, scoring once in a hapless team display against Liverpool FC which Leicester lost 4-1. The Foxes were relegated from the top-flight and in July 2002, he was suspended by the club for breaking the nose and jaw of teammate Callum Davidson during a bust-up on a pre-season trip to Finland. Wise was sacked by the club a few weeks later.

His Premier League playing career was over but that didn’t mean Wise dropped out of the limelight. He joined Millwall in September 2002 and became the club’s player-manager a year later. He experienced another FA Cup final but his Lions were no match for Manchester United at the Millennium Stadium, losing 3-0 in 2004. He resumed his playing career solely after leaving The New Den in the summer of 2005, experiencing one more season of second-tier action with Southampton and Coventry City before hanging up his football boots in 2006.

He had time back in management with both Swindon Town and Leeds United and in January 2008, became Executive Director at Newcastle United. His role was being tasked with travelling around Europe and further afield identifying young players and developing the academy. However, Kevin Keegan’s departure in September 2008 after clashing with the board over player transfers saw the fans target owner Mike Ashley and Wise, believing they were behind Keegan’s decision to go. He left his role in April 2009 and disappeared from the game for several years.

In 2017, Dennis returned to our screens, appearing on the ITV reality show ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” Despite some accusations of bullying from the press at a fellow contestant, he came out of the programme with enhanced creditability and has since contributed occasionally to Premier League coverage on Sky Sports. He has become a regular on Sky’s daily evening chat programme, ‘The Debate.’

Dennis Wise packed plenty into his life and career in football. There was rarely a dull part about one of the game’s most combustive and intriguing characters of the 1990s.

Premier League Files: Danny Simpson

Premier League Career: Manchester United (2007-2008), Blackburn Rovers (2008-2009), Newcastle United (2010-2013), Queens Park Rangers (2014), Leicester City (2014-PRESENT)

Leicester City is Danny Simpson’s fifth Premier League club. A product of the youth academy at Manchester United, Simpson raised his performance levels greatly in the 2015-2016 season, becoming first-choice right-back under Claudio Ranieri as the Foxes stunned the football world to become Premier League champions.

Simpson’s story is like many others in the Leicester squad from that season. It was one where he has had to deal with rejection, disappointment and frustration. However, he never gave in and the rewards came for the full-back from Greater Manchester in that incredible fairytale at The King Power Stadium.

Simpson came through the youth system at Manchester United and gained some useful loan experience at Royal Antwerp in Belgium and then Sunderland when they were playing in the Championship. He made 14 appearances in 2007 as the Black Cats won promotion back to the Premier League with former Red Devil Roy Keane as the club’s manager.

He returned to the United setup in the summer of 2007 and made his Premier League debut for them in October of that year, coming on as a substitute for the injured John O’Shea after 30 minutes in the 4-0 victory over Wigan Athletic. He claimed an assist too, crossing the ball in for Wayne Rooney to score United’s fourth goal that lunchtime afternoon. He signed a new contract and it was clear Sir Alex Ferguson saw him as a player for the future. However, he would be loaned out to Ipswich Town in March 2008, primarily to get more first-team experience.

With Gary Neville and Wes Brown both ahead of him in the pecking order, another loan period followed for Danny in 2008-2009. This time, he would play in the top-flight for Blackburn Rovers and under the tutorage of another former Manchester United title winner in Paul Ince. He played in 12 games for Ince but became a casualty of his sacking in December 2008. Sam Allardyce didn’t rate him and he spent the second half of the season largely on the bench in Lancashire.

His career seemed to be at a crossroads. The breakthrough just wasn’t going to happen at Manchester United, so after another loan spell at relegated Newcastle United, Simpson made the move to Tyneside on a permanent basis. Newcastle paid £750,000 to snap him up full-time in January 2010 and helped the Magpies return at the first attempt to the Premier League.

Ankle surgery that summer kept him out of action until October 2010 but he impressed on his first start of the season in a 2-1 win at West Ham United. He displaced James Perch for the remainder of the season in the right-back role and formed a good partnership with Joey Barton as Newcastle finished comfortably in mid-table in their first season back among the elite.

His best season with Newcastle was in 2011-2012, starting 35 of the club’s 38 league matches as they finished an excellent fifth in the table. He could even celebrate a fabulous 3-0 victory over his former club Manchester United in January 2012 on his 25th birthday. It was a surprise then to see his contract not renewed at the end of the 2012-2013 campaign.

After a year back in the Championship with Queens Park Rangers, Danny started their first game of the 2014-2015 Premier League season at home to Hull City but moved to Leicester City before the transfer window closed. Like fellow teammate and summer arrival Marc Albrighton, he found it hard to break into the first-team on his arrival and played second-fiddle for the majority of the season to Ritchie de Laet.

A similar story looked likely in 2015-2016 as de Laet started the campaign in the right-back role. However, a 5-2 loss at home to Arsenal in September was the catalyst for Ranieri to settle on a more defensively-minded back four. Out went de Laet and Jeff Schlupp and in came Simpson and Christian Fuchs. Apart from a red card in the 2-1 defeat to Arsenal in February 2016, Simpson’s ability to keep his position and not venture forward constantly made him a favourite with Ranieri. He only missed two games from the start of October onwards and was a consistent presence throughout as Leicester City wowed the neutrals and their own supporters to become Premier League champions.

Things were very different a year later as the reigning champions struggled domestically and looked to be fighting a relegation battle. Ranieri was sacked and Simpson was among several players criticised for their lack of effort when things got tough. This led to a rather humorous debate with ex-Liverpool FC defender and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher on Twitter.

In February 2018, Danny Simpson made his 100th Premier League appearance for Leicester in a 5-1 beating by runaway league leaders Manchester City. He is yet to score in his top-flight career but that doesn’t matter. His defensive approach to the game is highly valued and no-one can take away the fact that Danny Simpson is a Premier League title winner – not even Jamie Carragher!

Premier League Rewind: 21st-23rd November 2015

Results: Watford 1-2 Manchester United, Chelsea 1-0 Norwich City, Everton 4-0 Aston Villa, Newcastle United 0-3 Leicester City, Southampton 0-1 Stoke City, Swansea City 2-2 AFC Bournemouth, West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Arsenal, Manchester City 1-4 Liverpool FC, Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 West Ham United, Crystal Palace 0-1 Sunderland

In a season where many surprises were being produced, this was evident on the 21st-23rd November 2015 Premier League weekend. The league leaders were Arsenal going into the weekend but by the end of it, 5000-1 title outside shots Leicester City were sitting top of the pile.

Leicester travelled to Tyneside to face Newcastle United, with Jamie Vardy eyeing up a Premier League record. Midway through the first half, Vardy broke clear to open the scoring and therefore, register a goal for the 10th successive Premier League match. This equalled the long-time record, set by Manchester United’s Ruud van Nistelrooy back in 2003. Further goals from fellow forwards Shinji Okazaki and Leonardo Ulloa ensured Leicester won 3-0 and recorded a fourth successive victory in the process.

Arsenal still could have been top of the table but they endured another difficult away afternoon at The Hawthorns. After taking the lead against West Bromwich Albion, their day fell apart. James Morrison levelled the scores in the 35th minute and five minutes later, club captain Mikel Arteta put the ball into his own net. Arsenal still had an opportunity to equalise in the last 10 minutes, only for Santi Cazorla to slip over and balloon his penalty kick into orbit. The 2-1 victory was West Brom’s third in their last five games.

Manchester City were seen as the title favourites by many and were unbeaten in two months when they entertained a Liverpool FC side that were still finding their feet under Jurgen Klopp. Klopp had only recorded one victory from his first four league matches. However, his side were about to put on a blistering attacking display at The Etihad Stadium. Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino were in sparkling form. Both Brazilians scored and Martin Skrtel hammered home a fourth goal in the second half. Liverpool won 4-1 to move into ninth place in the table. It was a Saturday evening for City to forget and particularly for Raheem Sterling, who was facing his old employers for the first time since his summer move.

Defeats for City and Arsenal meant Manchester United quietly crept into second position with a 2-1 victory at Watford. Memphis Depay gave them an early lead but Troy Deeney’s late spot-kick looked to have rescued a point for the Hertfordshire side. That was until a late winner for the Red Devils with Deeney scoring an unfortunate own goal. It would be their final league victory of 2015 as a dire December would follow for manager Louis van Gaal.

Tottenham Hotspur extended their unbeaten run to 12 matches with a resounding 4-1 victory over London rivals West Ham United, who were missing their influential playmaker Dimitri Payet due to injury. Harry Kane scored twice for the home side. At the wrong end of the table, Aston Villa’s crushing 4-0 defeat to Everton left them bottom with just five points and five points adrift of safety. Sunderland climbed above AFC Bournemouth after a Jermain Defoe goal was enough to beat Crystal Palace 1-0 on the Monday Night Football at Selhurst Park.

What else happened in November 2015?

  • The world is left appalled by a string of terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday 13th November. The Bataclan concert hall, bars/restaurants and the Stade de France are all targeted. 130 people are killed.
  • In tennis, Great Britain wins the Davis Cup for the first time since 1936 after defeating Belgium in the final.
  • Storm Abigail is the first storm to be officially named by the Met Office. It leaves 20,000 people without power and much disruption to many travel services.
  • Alton Towers confirms that human error was the cause behind The Smiler rollercoaster crash in June that seriously injured five people.
  • ITV confirms it will air The Voice UK and The Voice Kids from 2017, poaching it from the BBC.
  • Children in Need raises over £37 million, which is a new record. It is the first time since its launch in 1980 that the legendary Sir Terry Wogan is unable to fulfil presenter duties following a back operation.
  • Turkey shoots down a Russian fighter jet in the first case of a NATO member destroying a Russian aircraft since the 1950s.