Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Hoos departs

Time up: Lee Hoos has left the Foxes
Leicester City Football Club's chief executive, Lee Hoos, has left the club.

BBC Sport revealed the news this evening, noting also that chief finance officer Mark Johnson is also set to depart.

Hoos joined the Foxes in 2008. It is not yet known who will replace the American, or if indeed a replacement has already been found.

Mail links Foxes with Rangers defender

Linked: Ranger's Madjid Bougherra
The Daily Mail has today linked Leicester City with another defender from a Scottish club, leading fans to dub the potential signing 'Sol Bamba Mark II'.

The Mail tips Sven Goran Eriksson for a £1million bid for Rangers striker Madjid Bougherra, a 28-year-old central defender. The French-born Algerian international has hinted that he is ready to leave Ibrox and with just a year left on his contract he would be a bargain signing for the Leicester City manager.

Meanwhile, the Mail have strengthened rumours of Emile Heskey making a return to his boyhood club, quoting a cut-price £500,000 deal for the ex-England man, who made regular appearances for the national side under Eriksson.

The report also mentions a potential bid for Bristol City's £5million-rated Nicky Maynard, whilst speculation is growing that Neil Danns is set to sign for the Foxes after his contract expires at Crystal Palace.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Bruma, PVA to Germany; Naughton signing "unlikely"

Chelsea's Patrick van Aanholt and Jeffrey Bruma look set to sign for German teams in the next few days, leaving Sven Goran Eriksson again chasing defenders as he looks to re-build his Leicester City side.

Bruma and van Aanholt both made loan appearances for the Foxes last season, but Bruma is understood to be on the brink of moving to Hamburg on a two-year loan, with fellow Dutchman van Aanholt expected to join him in the Bundesliga.

Meanwhile, with Premier League clubs circling, Tottenham Hotspur's young right-back Kyle Naughton looks set to remain in the top flight, scuppering Foxes fans' hopes that he would be signed by Leicester.

Eriksson believes that newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers will bid for Naughton and Harry Redknapp may still want to give the England Under-21 right-back a run in Spurs' first team.

"It will be expensive to buy him," said Eriksson, "He is a great player and I am sure it is not only us that want him. I am quite sure he has had offers from the Premier League as well. I don't know if we will miss out on him. It is too early, but we will keep trying."

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Yuki Abe to sign for Man City - ESPN

ESPN have shocked the footballing world by announcing today that Manchester City's billionaire owners are not targeting the likes of Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo this summer but instead looking toward Japanese duo Yuki Abe and Keisuke Honda.

Favourite: Yuki Abe is loved in Leicester
Abe signed for Leicester City under Paulo Sousa from Urawa Red Diamonds and after a shaky start to life in England has established himself as a firm favourite amongst the Foxes' faithful. ESPN believe that Roberto Mancini's City are lining-up the Japanese pair to work alongside each other as they have done previously for the Japan national team.

Abe's dedication to the East Midlands club was initially questioned in some quarters, but his commitment to learning English and working with his teammates to establish a rapport has earned him respect and, often, adoration from fans.

The possible move from the Citizens has raised the eyebrows of some, who believe the move for Abe in particular could act as a publicity stunt to raise the profile of the club in the Far East, with Abe immediately loaned-back to the Foxes after signing for City. 

Leicester City manager Sven Goran Eriksson is yet to comment and neither player has made a statement.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

10 released as Tunchev is given repreive

Shown the door: Ricardo
Ten Leicester City players who are out of contract as of the end of this season will not have their current deals renewed, according to a statement on the club's official website.

Young players make up most of the list: Robert Ambrusics, Ashley Chambers, Nathan Hicks, Jorrin John, Craig King, Ben Milnes, Luke O'Neill, Aman Verma and Adi Yussuf will all not have their contracts renegotiated and they will expire on 30th June this year.

The only player to have made a first team appearance this year whose contract will not be renegotiated is Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo. The ex-international failed to consolidate his position between the sticks after a shaky start to his career at the Walkers Stadium and he is now free to look for another club.

Perhaps the only surprise is that Aleksandar Tunchev will not be immediately released from his contract, which is also due to expire at the end of next month. Tunchev - out of action for nearly two years before his two substitute appearances at the end of the season - has been invited by Sven Goran Eriksson to join his team for their pre-season preparations and his place at the club will be determined following further assessment by the coaching team.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Mercury hint at Heskey approach

Popular: Heskey won two trophies with the Foxes
The Leicester Mercury has given the strongest hint yet that Sven Goran Eriksson has contacted Aston Villa about the potential signing of Leicester-born striker Emile Heskey.

Heskey, 33, would see his contract expire at Villa Park at the end of next season and the Villains could be keen to cash-in on the former England target man, with figures quoted of around £1 million for any deal with the Foxes.

The striker would be a welcome figure should he return to the city of his birth: a lifelong fan, Heskey invested as part of the consortium that saved the club from administration in 2003 and has never rubbished talk of a move back to the East Midlands.

Heskey made his last appearance in a Leicester City shirt in 2000 having scored 40 goals in 154 league appearances for his boyhood team before a club record £11 million move to Liverpool. He has since played for Birmingham and Wigan Athletic before moving to Villa for £3.5 million in 2009, having made a further 362 appearances and scoring 76 times. This unimpressive goal tally hides Heskey's ability to hold the ball, something he was credited for by subsequent England managers as he kept his place in the national squad, gaining 62 caps yet netting just seven times for his country.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Lamey told to find another club; Verma also released

The spinning door at the Walkers Stadium has begun to turn as Sven Goran Eriksson looks to rebuild his Leicester City squad in preparation for the 2011/12 promotion campaign.

Door: Michael Lamey failed to make an impact
Dutch defender Michael Lamey has been told to look for a new club after Eriksson played him just once - the 31-year-old made only seven starts all season despite being signed by Paulo Sousa on a two-year deal. Meanwhile, Aman Verma has been released for the second time. The 23-year-old has failed to shine since graduating from the Foxes' academy side and has been offered a deal at Blue Square Premier outfit Darlington after a successful loan spell there.

Meanwhile, Eriksson has rubbished talks that Steve Howard could depart the club in the Summer: "He's our player and has a contract for one more year," said Eriksson defensively after BBC Radio Leicester questioned the ex-England boss on rumours linking the Scot to Sheffield Wednesday.

Derby County are believed to be chasing fans' favourite Martyn Waghorn after his poor showing since a £2 million deal with Sunderland saw the young forward move to Leicester as Sousa attempted to win the hearts of Foxes fans. Waghorn had a successful loan spell at the Walkers Stadium under Nigel Pearson.

Finally, Aleksandar Tunchev is yet to learn his fate after returning from two knee injuries to rapturous applause as he played an hour in City's final game of the season against Ipswich. It is thought Tunchev could extend his current deal - which expires next month - for one year on a pay-as-you-play basis.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Sven Given 'no limit'

Leicester City manager Sven Goran Eriksson has said he has been given "no limit" by the club's Thai owners as he looks at how to rebuild his squad for the 2011/2012 Championship campaign.

Vichai and Top Raksriaksorn, owners of Thailand's largest duty free service, are gunning all-out for the Premier League next season and have not laid a budget for the Swede, who has already been linked with a number of transfer targets including Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given.

"There is no limit at all – they want Premier League and that is it," claimed the Foxes manager, "They are very clear. The target they have the plans they have are the same... as long as I don't go over the top. It is common sense."

Eriksson has already been in touch with Chelsea regarding possible permanent moves for loanees Patrick van Aanholt and Jeffrey Bruma, whilst Ben Mee has keenly hinted his desires to move to the East Midlands for good. The City boss has also been in touch with Rui Costa at Benfica over a potential deal for Miguel Vitor. The young Portuguese defender has pledged his commitment to Leicester City should his parent club agree a fee.

"I know Miguel wants to stay if Benfica don't take him back," said Eriksson last month, "What he said, which was very nice, was that the biggest surprise was how good the football was for a second division. He said it was fantastic.

I think the loan lads have enjoyed it and they have been good to us," he added, "Maybe some of them have a lack of experience and some mistakes come from that. But that is not their fault, it is more my fault. I am sure they have liked it here and I am sure they have learned a lot. I think a decision will be taken in the middle of June and the rules might change so we will only be allowed to have four in our 18-man squad, and we will have to have that in mind."

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Conclusions from Ipswich Town

Leicester4-2Ipswich Town
(HT 3-0)
King 26
Yakubu 42
Abe 45+2
Kamara 72
Leadbitter 69 (pen)
Wickham 70

Att: 24,859
BBC Match Report

  • One of the most exciting 'nothing' games you will see. A glut of goals, some controversy, a scrap and overall a great performance from the Foxes. This was a quality game for the celebrating Leicester City fans as well as for any neutrals (Jack Whitehall?) that made their way as part of a stunning 25,000 to the ground. Well done everyone.
  • NB. A full season run-down will appear in this space soon. Keep your eyes peeled for awards, player-by-player analysis and a look ahead to the summer and to next season.

If he wants a contract at Leicester he's gone the right way about it. Another goal to sustain his one in two ratio - the best strikers at international level hardly reach those heights - and surely the fans must now get off the big forward's back and clamour for his signature. He would rip apart this league next year.

Andy King
Scored a goal to end his recent drought and set-up Yuki Abe for his first ever English goal in a return to form for the club's top scorer of the season. He's had some poor performances of late where he was in some way absent from the game, but he stamped his mark brilliantly with this performance.

Yuki Abe
Finally, finally grabbed his first goal in English football following some lovely play by King. That goal capped another decent performance from Abe and crowned a good season for the Japanese international who has been dedicated to the cause throughout.   


Chris Weale
Nothing beat him in the first half as he put in a sterling performance to stake his claim for the number one jersey next season. The two goals conceded were both due to mistakes from his back four and Weale was unlucky to not claim a clean sheet. Whether this will be enough to appease Sven Goran Eriksson - and the critical fans - remains to be seen.

Patrick van Aanholt
One man who will almost certainly not be making a return to the East Midlands next season, van Aanholt made another error today that cost his side. Yes, Jeffrey Bruma's handball had already ruined Chris Weale's idea of a perfect afternoon but this error nearly cost the Foxes the game.

Jeffrey Bruma
The centre half stuck up his hand to block an incoming corner. A stonewall penalty given away in ridiculous circumstances that Weale was rightly upset by as he saw his great work of the first half undone. Bruma is another defender who will be wondering who he'll be playing for next season. On his showing for most of his time at the Walkers Stadium, he won't be appearing for Chelsea's first team any time soon.

Birch completes 31st annual run

Leicester City's club ambassador Alan Birchenall has completed his 31st annual charity run.

The Birch, as he is affectionately known by Foxes fans, has made it his duty to complete fifty laps of the pitch at the club's home ground prior to kick-off at the last home game of every season.

An emotional Birch said at the end of his 'last' run, "We do it to raise money for charity... We've got to do this, it's unique to our club and I don't understand why other club's don't do it, it raises so much money."

Club chairman Top Raksriaksorn, manager Sven Goran Eriksson and both teams selected for today's match against Ipswich Town all part for a lap or two whilst Birch, who was awarded an MBE for his charity work, was joined once again by David Neilson of Coronation Street fame - a runner now for over a decade - and boxer Rendall Munroe. 

Following his run and immediately before kick-off, Birchenall was presented with a lifetime contract as Club Ambassador at Leicester City by the club owners as a surprise reward for his efforts.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Leicester to reveal new strip

Andy King wears the new Foxes kit in this teasing photo
Leicester City will reveal their new home kit for the 2011/12 campaign when they walk out against Ipswich Town tomorrow afternoon (KO 12:45pm).

The club gave a first glimpse of the shirt, designed by Burrda, in a photograph released on the official website this afternoon. The kit appears to be a familiar plain pattern of royal blue with white trim around the round-necked collar. The sleeved are trimmed with two strips of white around the upper half.

Enhanced: Classic, unfussy design of kit is clear to see
It appears from careful examination of the photo, featuring recently crowned Players' Player of the Year Andy King, that the club crest will appear on the left breast and the sponsor, King Power, will sit centred underneath.

The new shirt will be available for pre-order from the Leicester City Megastore and Online Shop at 9am tomorrow morning, before it is revealed to the public three hours later. The release date will be announced in the coming days.

Foxes announce player awards

Wellens celebrates with his Foxes team mates after scoring
Leicester City have announced their annual awards following a gala dinner that took place in the Great Hall at the Walkers Stadium last weekend.

Richie Wellens was the big winner on the night as he walked away with the Player of the Year award as voted for by Foxes fans, whilst Andy King took the Players' Player of the Year trophy. Wellens' triumph was doubled as his excellent season was rewarded with a second prize, awarded by the local media for his sterling efforts in the Leicester midfield. 

Other awards went to those on loan at the club. Kyle Naughton picked-up the prize for Young Player of the Year whilst Yakubu took the Goal of the Season trophy for his volley against Derby County.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Belated Conclusions from the Keepmoat Stadium

Doncaster Rovers1-1Leicester
(HT 0-0)
Brooker 50Yakubu 76
BBC Match Report

  • Lot's of winners. But one of those is not Leicester City. There were some decent individual turns against Doncaster but the woeful ones that balanced them out made for a poor team performance. This was a forgettable game with a forgettable bunch of home fans. A pity for the sake of football and for the 2,000-odd travelling fans who were in fantastic voice in Doncaster's admittedly very tidy ground.

Despite the jeers from the crowd after a supposedly lazy first hour, Yakubu persevered and got the goal that silenced those vocal critics. It was finished in classic Yak style, a lovely piece of passing around the eighteen-yard box building-up to the Nigerian's lovely stroked finish. His tenth goal of the season for the Foxes - since only January, remember - quantifies his value to the squad: only Andy King (14) and Paul Gallagher (11) have netted more times for Leicester this term.

Darius Vassell
A great performance that saw him rewarded with an assist. Vassell's pace troubled Doncaster's defence all day and he even had the ball in the back of the net only to see it chalked-off for offside. He is becoming favoured by Leicester's fans for his hard work and perseverance, in contrast to Yakubu who comes under almost a constant barrage of criticism. Let's reflect, then, on the fact that Yakubu's goal tally that is now into double figures. Vassell has scored just four times. That, however, cannot detract from his pace, power and passion that have proven crucial in breaking-apart Championship defences all year.

Jeffrey Bruma
It was another good performance from Jeffrey Bruma, back in defence after recent successful outings in a holding midfield role. He was solid and looked like the player worthy of the acclaim afforded to him and his positioning was much better than the Foxes faithful have come to expect. If Bruma ends the season in this vein, his permenant signature would not be such a bad thing after all.

Diomansy Kamara
Introduced in the second half, Kamara brought some life into an ailing Foxes attack and it was his pace and ability that ultimately led to the Leicester equaliser. He's looking more and more like a fantastic prospective summer signing.

Kyle Naughton
Another consistent performance from the young full-back who had the run of his right wing all match long. Sven Goran Eriksson should be given a transfer budget to sign Naughton alone - anyone else is a bonus if Leicester sign this kid.

Chris Weale
Even without his nearly-moment in front of the gasping away supporters, miscontrolling the ball under pressure and so nearly conceding from a pass back, this was another performance from the Bristolian that seemed to lack confidence. Once again his ability to handle balls from long range was questioned - it is no wonder Leicester have had results 'stolen' through 'wonder goals' with Weale between the sticks - and his distribution was beyond poor. The number one position is fast becoming the priority for the off-season.

Andy King
The Foxes' top goalscorer is without goals and without a certain je ne sais quoi that he possessed in the pre-Christmas period when he was ripping-up every defence in the league. Whether players have got wise to his late runs or he's lost his mojo, King was poor against Doncaster and without him, the Leicester City midfield lacks a focal point.