Date:Saturday January 14 2006
It is getting impossible to make a case for Craig Levein's continued management of Leicester City.
Put bluntly the performance at Sheffield Wednesday was a mess.
City's 2-1 defeat left them in the relegation bottom three for the first time this season, two points behind Brighton but with a game in hand.
It also left fans among Leicester's sizeable and initially voluble travelling contingent arguing bitterly among themselves.
In the red corner the youth with his three or four friends who screamed himself hoarse for the cause but finally, frustrated, led cries of "Levein Out, Levein Out" just before and right at the end.
In the blue corner an older guy with two equally mature friends who yelled his disgust at the chants and asked 'why sack the manager when it's the players letting him down.'
Why indeed. Well first they are all Levein's players now. He has to motivate them and he decides the way he wants them to play.
He was partially snookered today because of the suspensions to midfielder Joey Gudjonsson and winger Ryan Smith.
Anyone doubting how much City miss those two should have been at Hillsborough.
The midfield today (inexplicably to me) read: Hughes, Williams, Kisnorbo,Hamill. That didn't leave us just weak in left midfield it left us a hole wider than some of the local former mine workings
I've described Hamill as a little boy lost and Kisnorbo as a sidewards and backwards player who can't pass. Those characteristics were emphasised with interest today.
Just when Levein needed their help most they both played worse than ever, and that says something.
I wouldn't recommend either for a decent non-League team from what I've seen of them. Hamill had two reasonable shots at the start of the second half but was otherwise ineffective while Kisnorbo failed to deliver several five/ten yard passes accurately let alone anything more difficult (and I'm not exagerrating).
On the bench today were defender Patrik Gerrbrand, strikers Chris O'Grady, Matt Fryatt and Iain Hume, plus centre-half cum occasional striker Dion Dublin.
Take Fryatt first. He'd reportedly suffered hamstring trouble. So was he fit or not?. If yes, why not play him?. If no why put him on the bench? And anyway, why risk him for 10 inconsequential minutes or so at the end of a game when he might well damage himself further and be out for weeks - when we have two other forwards on the bench?.
Then there was Hume. Always a busy and dangerous player. Always a threat. Why leave him out and why leave O'Grady out with the goalscoring form he's in?.
Why not adjust your tactics to accomodate good players instead of finding space for people who have shown precious little this season. Hammond wide, Hume in midfield, DeVries and O'Grady up front for instance.
Too adventurous I presume but look where caution got us after we tried to close the game out when we took that early lead.
What irks most is that Sheffield Wednesday were so ordinary. Competent might describe them best. But, unlike our shambles, they were rigorously organised.
Once again City were shafted tactically.
Once again we played people out of position.
Once again we played people who should probably never be in the side.
Once again we conceded two goals and left our best defender on the bench.
Once again we failed to field our best players.
The same mistakes and more.
When is it going to end?
When will the Board cry enough.
I asked several fans if they had ever seen a worse City side.
Two groups said yes, back in David Pleat's day.
Another said he'd been a supporter since Brian Little was boss and it was "the worst" in that time and today was the worst he'd seen this season.
He'd obviously missed one or two (as he admitted) but it was close. So much for a bit of inspiration, Craig.
I agreed with the vociferous young lads mentioned at the start when their apparent leader said: "I've paid and paid to watch City this season and this is what you get."
The calmer group's man in blue said 'Well why do you come at all?' to which the youth replied 'because I WANT to see my team do well.'
He might have a long wait unless there are radical changes.
Leicester are even worse placed now then they were before and THAT was the worst position they'd ever held.
Two points from the last 24, one win in the last 13! How would the chairman feel paying a fortune in compensation as a 'goodbye' for achievements like that. It's bloody indecent and shows what a cockeyed world we live in.
I wonder what the miners got for all their years in the dark and damp digging coal out one day after another.
I'm not against reward for achievement but if there's any doubt what we've managed so far someone should put a blow-up of the League table on a placard.
Yes, we could always have lost today, even playing well. It was never going to be easy.
But the least we could have expected was red raw effort and all our best and most competitive players in the team instead of having a group of em on the bench.
Then, had we got at em first to last at least we could hold our heads up and I could have made a case for the management. We didn't and I can't.
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|Leicester City||1||-||0||Crystal Palace|
|1. Leicester City||13||8||4||1||+8||28|
|2. Man Utd||13||8||3||2||+10||27|
|3. Man City||13||8||2||3||+14||26|
|6. West Ham||13||6||3||4||+4||21|
|Video: Neil On Arsenal
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|Buzz on the Spot - Juventus v City - The aftermath
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|Pellegrini & Toure On Juventus Loss
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|Ulloa Talks Manchester United
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