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Leicester v Spurs, 13.09.97

"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published 13.09.2017, 2017, but first written in 1997 by the webmaster. The world was still mourning Pricess Diana, but I was mourning my beloved father.


Leicester scorers:-
Walsh, 55
Guppy, 68
Heskey, 77

Attendance:- 20,683

Referee:- Mr. A.B. Wilkie

Leicester (3-5-2):- Keller; Elliott, Walsh, Prior; Kaamark (sub Fenton, 88), Izzet, Lennon, Parker, Guppy (sub Cottee, 88); Heskey, Marshall (sub Claridge, 73)

Subs not used:- No details

No bookings

Spurs (3-4-2-1):- Walker; Campbell, Scales, Mabbutt (Capt.); Carr, Clemence, Howells, Nielsen; Dominguez, Ginola; Ferdinand (sub Armstrong, 46)

Subs not used:- Baardsen; Calderwood, Arber; Fox

Booked:- Campbell

An end to optimism

I won't have the audacity to call this a report, because I don't think I can be so composed about my remarks. You could call this report "An end to optimism", because that's how I feel after a performance which was described on 5 live as " sorry and shambolic". Until today, I harboured this feeling that we would qualify for Europe, but now I belong to the "might make top half brigade". I am convinced we are destined to achieve nothing until we get rid of Francis, and again there was some chanting " We want Francis out" today.

Anyway, on to the game..........

This is how we lined up:-

Walker;Campbell, Scales, Mabbutt (Capt);Carr, Clemence, Howells, Nielsen; Dominguez, Ginola;Ferdinand

Ferdinand was substituted at half-time with Armstrong. I assume that was because of the knock he picked up in the England game. Also on the bench were - Bardsen; Calderwood, Arber, Fox. I confess to leaving 5 minutes before the end. All I can say is that no other subs had been used at that stage.

As 3 o'clock arrived, the sun shone, and the one minute silence began. Some might say, "haven't we done enough by now", but I was grateful to take the opportunity to meditate on the loss of my father. During the silence there was a clap of thunder, and when I opened my eyes, it was pouring with rain. Little was I to know what was in store. When the team was announced I was quite optimistic about the thought of Ginola and Dominguez behind Ferdinand, but it just didn't work. Just occasionally in the first half, they did have promising ventures down the flanks, but sometimes they were on top of each other, when surely they should have been on their respective flanks.

Similarly, Howells and Nielsen seemed to be treading on each other's toes at times. Nielsen linked up with Ginola quite well 2 or three times in the first half; Dominguez showed some of his pace, skills, and fancy footwork, but referee Alan Wilkie obviously thought he was a "diver" because he gave very little our way.

Of the three defenders, I thought Mabbutt and Scales looked best, and that Sol was strangely a little out of sorts. He seemed to have the job of marking Heskey, and it has to be said that (sadly) Heskey had the better of our hero. One theory I have about Sol's under-par performance is that today he was playing at the right side of central defence, whereas I think he is best as the "king-pin" in the centre, or maybe towards the left. However Mabbutt had the central role, and Scales was on the left.

The woodwork once again did well for us, as on 10 minutes Sol, having ventured forward was caught out of position, and Heskey hit a powerful shot that hit the bottom of the left upright, bounced weakly in the air into the hands of a confused, and relieved Walker. Shortly afterwards, Marshall headed against the bar fom a corner. Martin O'Neill has to be given a lot of credit for getting a powerful, tight energetic team together with limited resources. They had 3 big defenders in Walsh, Elliot, and Prior, who coped easily at the back, but also threatened when going forward. ( I confess to having both Walsh and Elliott in one of my Fantasy teams, so there is some compensation in this defeat ).

Once again Walker was guilty of too often booting the ball aimlessly up the field, with only Ferdinand to find. Surely Jennings isn't teaching this style, is he? I was at the West Ham game, and I think this was an even sorrier performance than that. At least at West Ham, we showed some fight towards the end, and might even have sneaked a draw. No chance of that today.

We went in at half-time on level terms, without having seriously threatened Kasey Keller.

And so to the second half. It was a disaster. Armstrong showed a bit of energy for 5 or ten minutes, but then faded out of the game. The truth being that the ( non-existent ) midfield was not serving him. Howells had a bit of a nightmare today. Our passing was atrocious. We didn't hold the ball; we didn't challenge outside our area; and we didn't deserve anything out of this game. It was men against boys. It was those who did want to win, against those ( some of whom ) are there for the ride.

The goals game from Walsh, who comfortably beat Armstrong, and powerfully headed a Garry Parker free kick past a hapless Walker ( that's not a mis-spelling ). Then ( you don't want to know the times, do you ? ) the defence failed miserably to clear a ball, which reached another Leicester defender ( Guppy ) who, lurking on the edge of the box fired a powerful low shot home for his first goal for the club.

Finally, Heskey hit a very powerful shot from inside the 6 yard box, from a cross from the right, to seal a convincing win.

I know I gave Mabbutt some praise about his first half showing, but I thought he was showing a lack of pace in the second. I think his place is probably going to be on the bench.

I don't know what excuses Francis is going to make after this performance. I do know I want him out. NOW! Some might call it variety and flexibility, but he seems to try different formations every game. There has to be some consistency, and solid base surely.

To cap a sorry day, Arsenal won 4-1, and you-know-who (Ed - 2017 - Ian Wright)was being lauded for beating that scoring record. Chelsea won 3-0 without using their Italians!, and Wimbledon beat Newcastle 3-1 away! Sugar has allowed a lot of money to be spent; Francis has spent it; and we're getting left behind. To be taunted by fans from Leicester was a most depressing experience. I wish I hadn't gone, and I wish I'd stayed at home in mourning............................

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