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Levein Faces Day of Decision

This evening Leicester City manager Craig Levein faces his employers as the manager whose record has left City in the worst League position of their football history.

A Foxestalk poll today listed over 85 per cent of fans as wanting the manager gone.

The dilemma for the Board now the transfer window is open is whether to back Levein - and with the cash for new players he so obviously needs.

Or will they be forced to axe Levein so another man can have that cash.

It should be remembered that, when appointed, Levein had arguably as good a record as anyone available, with over 40 per cent victories in his career at Hearts and Cowdenbeath.

And if he is ousted, the next question is who should replace him.

Names already mentioned include Phil Thompson (ex-Liverpool) and one-time City favourite Gary McAllister plus others like Martin Allen (Brentford) and the highrolling Penney at Doncaster who would probably not even be available.

There is, however, a long a list of available managers with some illustrious names on it.

It is not a particularly inspiring list overall.

However there are people with pedigree: Sir Bobby Robson, for instance, Kevin Keegan, Terry Venables, Lou Macari, George Graham, Trevor Francis, Howard Wilkinson, Mike Walker, Bruce Rioch.

A Phil Thompson/Gary McAllister partnership would hold some appeal to me were it possible and practical to assemble. Martin Allen, maybe.

My point is, the alternatives are pretty limited, especially when you rule out those who probably wouldn't be tempted anyway like, I imagine, Sir Bobby Robson, Kevin Keegan etc.

That leaves one to consider whether Levein could still haul us out of the mire.

I didn't want Levein in the first place. I wanted an attacking manager like Mike Newell.

But, I was pleased when he was appointed because he seemed
effective.

Here though, although I have much praised the work he has done reducing the wage bills, lowering the average age of the first team squad and showing commitment to the Academy players there is much I have not been impressed with.

Quite apart from the results which are singularly diabolical, I don't like the following.

* Poor free-kicks, corners, throw-ins, the lack of movement, the endless and aimless high balls plus many other aspects which point to ineffective coaching.

* Overloaded defensive tactical strategies which have been seen not to work with the level of player we have at the club and which are boring to the paying public anyway.

* Our signing of two non-specialist centre-forwards and the inability of our manager/coaches to get anything greatly effective out of them anyway.

* Our persistence with players who should clearly not be in the team.

* The continual playing of individuals out of position.

* Constant changing of the team and the tactics instead of having our own style of play (generally) and making as few changes as possible.

* Levein's lack of charisma in public situations because I think the club needs a higher profile man soit remains attractive to the public and to potential players.

* Levein's seeming disregard for his responsibility to entertaining as well as effective football.

* The number of players who seem to be underperforming either out of fear, lack of confidence, problems with the tactics, unfamiliarity with the position and Levein's part in not motivating or inspiring those players to shine.

* Our ineffective attacking approach notwithstanding the limitations of the centre-forwards.

That is 10 specific areas of dissatisfaction that come to mind immediately.

I said from the start Levein was a novice in English football and it is not impossible he could learn sufficiently quickly to negate some of the above.

Overall though my instinct would be to pay the reputed 600,000 compensation and change direction.

I would try to find an attack-minded charismatic manager who had the ability to put bums on seats and create an atmosphere.

Levein, I believe, can arrest our slide but I don't believe he will ever be a cavalier character, someone who makes us tingle with excitement when we walk down to the Stadium.

And that, in the end is why I'd change him. His record might have been 'successful' but it was dour and the Hearts supporters adhere to this.

It is why I wouldn't have appointed him in the first place.
I hope, I truly hope, that if he stays he proves everything I've said to be wrong.

No-one would be happier because I don't care who manages Leicester so long as they make me want to watch the matches and make me proud to be a City fan.




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The Journalist

Writer:  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday January 3 2006

Time: 12:01PM

Your Comments

That's an enormous majority wanting the manager out. And one brave board that will choose to back him in the face of such opposition. Interestingly, I notice a lot of those were registered this morning when the 1034 Leicester fans who attended the Palace match would have arrived home. That cannot be coincidence and makes the vote even more significant.
Fox-About
I would have thought you'd fancy Kevin Keegan as manager. Or perhaps Sir Bobby Robson. Both are attack minded. Keegan would certainly increase the crowd short term. Or is it that, like me, you don't think they'd contemplate Leicester as a port of call. It hardly has the same ring as Barcelona or Newcastle or England I suppose.
Fox-About
 

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