Selasa, 03 Mei 2016

Feeling like a child again, all because of Leicester

When I was kid, I simply thought any team could win the league, I didn’t know how the world was. Today, I am a child again. It is a blessed feeling; a feeling like no other.
I’m sure if you looked at a word cloud of football rhetoric, money would be the biggest word. It dominates. It is both the warp and the weft of the modern game. We’re told every day that money dictates and even defines success, but as one Leicester City fan said so succinctly, in reaching to describe how he felt at this most incredible moment, “You can spend money, but you can’t spend this.”
He’s so right. And that is the lesson to take away from this most incredible of seasons. Positive memories and the emotions they stir, stay with you for your whole life. They paint your inner emotional landscape, they are the fire in the hearth of our soul, despite being utterly existential and as impossible to grasp, as it is to make love to a rainbow. And yet they elevate our existence if you open your heart to them, if you can shed the cynicism and acridity that modern existence seems to have elevated to the status of moral requirement.
As I get older, I feel more and more strongly that freedom and time is the real wealth, possessions (vinyl records aside, obviously) are fripperies and being obsessed with owning things is some sort of delusion or hypnosis. Maybe it is the hot breath of mortality on the older person’s neck that makes me think this way, but never has life seemed more about the intangible and less about the material than it does now.
And this is why Leicester City winning the Premier League resonates so deeply and feels so profound. The victory, achieved against all prevailing norms, against the status quo, against, what I feel in my guts is an immoral financial value system, is almost a biblical parable. It feeds dreams, hopes, even your sense of well-being. Like seeing a small child stroking a purring cat, it is an entirely positive thing to have witnessed and when all the money is spent, when all the bling has become bankrupt, the happiness of this moment will remain, immortal and inviolate.
Now, I can hear you thinking (it’s a talent I have and by the way, she doesn’t want to go out with you) that this is all hopelessly naive, romantic hippy nonsense and that money might not be able to buy you love, but it is very good at acquiring all the stuff you need to stay alive, like food and drink and quality underwear.
And that is of course true, but when something happens that feeds our non-material selves, we need to hug it close to us and feel its warmth because, at the end of our last day, life is not about stuff, it is about spirit. And, by god, today, thanks to Leicester City, thanks to Claudio, the spirit is high.

Mails: Leicester have changed everything

Football: Completed
Words could barely describe the joy I felt this time last season that we just going to be in this league right now. 12 months on and we have Wes Morgan to lift the Premier League trophy in front of our own fans on Saturday, followed by a guard of honour away to the reigning champs.

Football? Completed it.
Commiserations to Spurs, incredible team who have had me and many others a nervous wreck for the past 2 months.

I’ve been reading F365 for years and this is my first and last ever correspondence.
To be honest for most of those years I’ve not even bothered reading the mailbox section largely because the mails were just about the boring too few clubs who my shite little club could never ever dream of competing with.
Seeing all this about my team called Leicester City being Champions on your site helps bring the ridiculousness of this situation a little closer to home so thanks for that and your articles over many years.
This is not just for us, or any one person/player but for all the generations of Leicester fans who have passed on the bug and history for our club but who aren’t around to see the greatest day in its history.
It’s for those that make this extra special.
Oh, and I’m retiring from writing and reading the Mailbox, because it is not ever going to get as good as this again, (and no, I don’t care that’s a fact).
Richard, Leicester (not that one).

 Thank you
Id like to thank Claudio Ranieri, Steve Walsh, Craig Shakespeare, Alan Birchenall, Wes Morgan, DannySimpson, Kasper Schmeichel Christian Fuchs, Robert Huth, Ngolo Kante, Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater,Marc Albrighton, Jeff Schlupp, Andy King, Shinji Okazaki, Leo Ulloa, Shinji Okazaki, Demi Gray,Daniel Amartey, Gokhan Inler,Mark Schwarzer, Marcin Wasilewski, and everyone associated with the club. You’ve given me the most memorable year of my life.
Leicester City 2016 premier league champions. First time in our history. Here’s to 132 years of celebrating that!
Toby (And Eden Hazard…) Mitchell

 Ten minutes later…
And Jamie Vardy!!!
Toby Mitchell

Well done to the Foxes!

What an incredible season, and an even more wonderful story to behold.
When the league resumes normal service, and the same big clubs occupy the same coveted places in the league table at the end of each season, we will surely repeatedly look back to this season with an incredibly fond smile on our faces, remembering the year that Leicester were a breath of fresh air, the year that the impossible was made possible, and an almost grass-roots-level narrative could and did unfold. (this feels more Big Green kids movie than normal English league football, right?!)
Well done to the team, and a huge congratulations to their Fans, I cannot imagine how this must feel from the inside looking out.
You are naturally very proud today, and rightly so.
Manc in SA (Come on United! FA CUP time again chaps…it’s been to long so I’m buzzing for this tricky game against Palace.)

No, but Leicester
What on earth have we just witnessed? I’m struggling to make sense of what’s just happened. Are Leicester not the same team that were bottom of the league towards the end of 2014? Have they not played with the same players that nearly got them relegated last season? Is this not the same team that have had very little ball possession this entire season? Are they not led by the same man who was fired by Greece after loosing to the Faroe Islands not so long ago? A man who was considered second best, at best? A team comprising of two lumbering centre backs who would struggle to get into most premier league teams? A team that has Danny Simpson and that chap who wasn’t good enough for Aston Villa? Will the earth reverse its rotation around the sun? Will winter now be in summer and summer now in autumn? Stranger things, like Leicester winning the EPL have happened.

Seriously, Leicester
This must be the first time in a long time that the neutrals favourite has won the League. And well deserved it was too. A team the played with heart and disciple and seemed to get better as the pressure ramped up.

I know there was bit of a spat between some Arsenal and Leicester fans in the mailbox after our win at the Emirates, but I want to thank everyone involved with the club from the bottom of my heart for not letting Spurs win the league. You are all legends!
Adonis Stevenson, AFC

Leicester f***ing City
I think it is one of the greatest human achievements ever. I think the story of Leicester City should be read and heard by everyone because…

Its a story of “Never Give Up” attitude. Leicester City were bottom of the Premier League around this time, last year. Now they are top as the Champions. To the uninitiated, think of it this way – There was a guy who barely passes last year in school/college by one mark. And this year the guy tops all his classes, by a mile!!
The reason for this HUGE turnaround is the refusal to give up, refusal to accept defeat till the very last minute by each and everyone of the players of Leicester City.

It is a story of the poor beating the super rich. One of the reasons why Leicester City’s success is remarkable, is that everyone thought the Premier League can only be won by the Super rich clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester United or Arsenal (my own club) with huge revenues. Here is an example – Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have spent 475, 472, and 432 Million Pounds respectively, on players in the last 5 years. Leicester City’s spend in that time? 64 Million. Leicester City story’s moral is that Money does NOT equal success.
It is a story of The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts, as stated by Aristotle. Leicester City’s players are all bit part players or journey man players or players rejected by the “big” clubs. There is not one single superstar in the team. For this team to beat other teams full of superstars, who are on wages 5 to 10 times their own, the players had to play as a unit. This is a story of how a group of players, working as a team, can beat a group of superplayers, over and over again.
It is a story of the nice guy finishing first, not last. Leicester City’s manager Claudio Ranieri is affable and never bitches and moans about other teams or referees. Instead he concentrated on getting his team playing together, making his players better. This is in stark contrast to serial winners such as Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson, who spit venom at referees, players and even their own club staff such a doctors. This a story where you dont have to play mind games and be a mean, vindictive person to be a winner.
It is a story of human adaptability. Leicester City in the first half of the season were scoring goals for fun, led by an unlikely hero in Jamie Vardy. But they were also conceding goals a lot, just managing to outscore the opposition. They won 3-2 on three occasions before Christmas. But as the season progressed, they adapted, knowing they cant always outscore. They tightened up at the back and became hard to score against, and as a result won 1-0 four times on the bounce recently. This is a story of how humans adapt to counter changing opposition.
This is a story of the triumph of Human Spirit against all odds, a tale of success when everyone said at the beginning that you are guaranteed to loose. Most pundits, experts had Leicester City as finishing in the bottom 3 of all the teams in the Premier League. This is a story of a group of people who dreamt of defying the odds, and did it.
And the best part of all this? That this a TRUE STORY! Go read it.
Percy, Delhi

Last summer i was chatting with a friend and talking about how the most my beloved football team could achieve is 6th at a push and a cup run. i wasn’t talking about how we’d fare this season, i was talking about in my lifetime as a Leicester fan. To me that was a closed club where riches bought you the best stars and managers and ultimately the best prizes.

So here we are, not a year later, the impossible dream has been achieved. The concept of the Premier League has become something else entirely.
All throughout the world everyone wants to have their say on what Leicester’s ‘secret’ is. As a season ticket holder its quite amusing watching and listening to so called ‘experts’ desperately trying to sum up this success with such lazy phrases as “great spirit”, “long ball”, “old fashioned defending” and so on. Regardless of their comments what has been noticeable is how little people have actually observed Leicester properly. From fans, pundits, players and even managers.
How else can we explain teams constantly making the same mistakes against us, failing to factor in the fitness of these players, the tactical intelligence of the manager, the creative nous and ability and overall just how good this team actually is. 76 points in the last 36 games. 4 league defeats in the last 47. The best team at home and the best team away so far. Mahrez the PFA player of the year. currently 7 points clear of the nearest challengers.
Already i’ve had people say to me “well you could be relegated next season”, “you’ll lose big players” as they try desperately to tinge this indescribable achievement with negativity. Protests are being held routinely at premier league clubs, some of them even citing Leicester’s success as an indicator to their own under-achievements.
Apparently this will never happen again because this is a freak season and we will never have a season when so many of the “top 6” clubs are off their game. I would like to think that when Wes Morgan lifts that trophy on Saturday that Mark Noble, Jose Fonte, Tommy Elphick and all the captains of the “average 14” might dare to dream. This may just inspire a whole generation of footballers against the belief that to win things they need to go to a “bigger” club. They might turn up to training in pre season and work a bit harder and dare to dream a bit longer. The “top 6” clubs might just start to fear their position as the elite or lazily ignore the emergence of the underdog. The Leicester players themselves may well take a look at this achievement and ask themselves “how do we do this again?”. This has changed the Premier League and football forever. All 20 sets of supporters will now wonder “what if?”. A revolution is coming.
But rather than looking back and forward at the same time i’m simply going to enjoy the moment. Right now Leicester City are the Premier League Champions and will lift that beautiful trophy and etch a mark against its name as having 1 league title in its proud history. Whether they win it again or not doesn’t matter. Right now they are the champions.

Well done Leicester (bottom half next season)
Kudos to Leicester. This season has been one of the most thrilling and improbable in sporting history, and there’s something genuinely inspiring about this kind of underdog success story. All of which may make what I’m about to say next sound a little churlish, but I honestly have to wonder whether Leicester will even be in the top half of the table by this time next season.

Take nothing away from what they’ve done, but they have inarguably ridden their luck this season (as any title winner must) in terms of results, refereeing, and avoiding injuries to most of their starters. They’re unlikely to get the same rub of the green next time around, and with recent performances the aura of good will has started to erode around them. They’re no longer lovable underdogs — they’re champions, and with more than a bit of a nasty streak to boot.
And speaking of those starters, it seems a veritable certainty that they’ll lose Kante and Mahrez, even if Vardy stays. They’ll also have to buy depth rather than just a couple of star replacements, in order to deal with the demands of Champions League football. As champions they’re unlikely to get an easy ride at the negotiating table, even assuming they could unearth any players on par with the diamonds in the rough they’ve found recently, and if they overspend in an effort to preserve their newfound station it could backfire spectacularly.
None of which is to say that I want this to happen — I’m honestly thrilled for anyone to break up the Premier League hegemony — but somehow I think that Leicester’s road back to the top of the Premier League may be more fraught than the one they’ve just traveled.
Andrew English (LFC in Saigon)

Because Leicester
I have just come from a meeting with my commercial finance team. Our revenue is behind budget, forecast and flash. Our expenses are barely in control. Meanwhile everyone wants a pay rise. The new business pipeline has nothing in it that is realistic or sizeable enough to make any real positive impact. It’s pretty grim.

Yet I remain optimistic of getting there, which I have to tell the numbers people. These financial experts can’t understand me. They, the monetary mavens, are frustrated. What possible grounds can I have for my optimism? To them it’s baseless and unfounded which they show by pointing at spreadsheets littered with red numbers and arrows that point down. To be so optimistic is to be stupid they say or negligent I am sure they think. As they point out, our recent track record is not strong. Take last year for example, we barely avoided making a loss. And what has changed for the better this year? Nothing they say. If anything it’s worse, what with the wages going up and new staff costing a fortune despite being bang average.
Now when pushed to explain my optimism, I can simply say, ‘because Leicester’. Why will you make budget? ‘Because Leicester’. Why will new business suddenly appear? ‘Because Leicester’. How will you do it without over-spending on staff and wages? ‘Because Leicester’.
Dr Oyvind, Earth


Five thousand to one…
I only ever heard second hand about Derby County winning the Second Division and First Division in consecutive seasons and Nottingham Forest retaining the European Cup from a former colleague at work, who was a fantastic football historian and my father, who again was alive during these events, as I was not old enough to have experienced them first hand… Both are examples of a team truly punching above their weight and achieving what no one thought they could.
I fully expect that my children will be asking me about this season and I’ll be able to tell them this wonderful story of a team that barely survived relegation the previous year went on to become champions!
Hyperbole in the media has diluted words such as monumental, legend and ace (thank you Mediawatch) so that achievements do not seem as impressive by comparison – this is a truly legendary achievement that should be remembered as such.
And to me, it doesn’t matter if next year Leicester;
Retain the league
Win the champions league beating Madrid and Bayern along the way and schooling Barca 9-0 in the final
Or Get relegated

I guess all in all I am just thank full that such a wonderful moment occurred during my lifetime.
I apologise of this next paragraph sounds insincere in anyway as it isn’t…
Well done Leicester – to everyone associated with the club from Ranieri, to the players to the fans… Enjoy this success as you all throughly deserve it.
Jon Andrews (5,000-1 demonstrates how surreal this whole thing is!), LFC

You lucky, lucky b*stards
Hearing that Leicester have only gone and bleedin’ done it* I have the scene from everybody’s favourite film on loop in my mind!

Now assuming The Life Of Brian isn’t just my (and mine alone) all time favourite I am of course referring to Michael Palin’s character and his constant refrain of whatever horrible fate awaited Brian to say “you lucky, lucky bastard!”. Of course the riches and joys the await The Foxes are incomparable but as I sit here I can only say:
You lucky, lucky bastards.
Well done Leicester FC and all connected to Filbert Street (I am a Liverpool fan so I am stuck mostly in the past; natch)!
I am insanely jealous and can but dream of what you feel right now!
Well deserved, enjoy every millisecond.
* Funnily enough I am in Istanbul for a few days and might head out to the scene of perhaps our own greatest triumph…
Gregory Whitehead, LFC

The grass is always greener
So glad Villa cut that dead wood Albrighton from the squad.

Well done Leicester.
Rob, of Sweden

Poor Stevie
Somewhere in America, Steven Gerrard has heard the news that Leicester have won the premier league and has rolled his eyes to the heavens and thought “ah for f**k sake”
Sean Gorman (but seriously, well done Leicester and congratulations. One of the greatest achievements in the history of football.) MUFC. Ireland.

FAO Man United fans
I don’t want them to work too hard trying to find it.
Bruce in Los Angeles

Jumat, 22 April 2016

Klopp discusses Origi and Benteke returns

Jurgen Klopp has not completely ruled out the prospect of Divock Origi playing again for Liverpool this season and is expecting to soon welcome back Christian Benteke.
Origi suffered an ankle ligament injury in Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Everton and is expected to miss four to six weeks, but Klopp knows from personal experience that players can sometimes recover quicker than expected.
“I am long enough in this business to know we’re all different we are all individuals,” Klopp said at his press conference on Friday. “We just have to work with him and see what happens. It is the same with Emre Can and so on.
“As I said, we are all individuals. A long time ago, I had an ACL [injury] and played after four months, and nobody could believe it worked but I didn’t have a problem with it.
“Why should we say now his season is over when we still believe a little bit there can be a few games for him? We have to see.
“We will try everything, everything, [to make sure Origi’s] season is not over without taking any risks for the player. That’s how it is.”
While Origi faces an uphill battle to play again this season, Klopp confirmed that Benteke is set to return to training next week as he continues his rehabilitation from a knee ligament injury which has kept him out since March 20.
“The good news is Christian feels good,” Klopp said. “He hasn’t trained with the team until now, but he wants to. It’s always the same and I understand your point of view when you say he is back and let him play, but it doesn’t work like this even when the player wants it.
“If we have to then we have to, but hopefully we can give him a few more days. I haven’t made the line-up for tomorrow and I haven’t made the squad, but hopefully we can give him a few more sessions.
“After this game, there will still hopefully be seven to go and there’s enough time, and it would be great if he could be ready. Sometimes when one door closes, another opens.
“It’s how I said, he’s had no team training and that’s for sure what he needs before he should play and especially before he should start.”

Ranieri finally admits Leicester title ambitions

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has finally targeted the title and told his Foxes to go for glory.
The Italian has guided the club to the top of the Barclays Premier League and they are five points clear of Tottenham with just four games left.
They host Swansea on Sunday knowing a win will take them eight points clear as Spurs do not play West Brom until Monday.
The Foxes could win the title with victory at Manchester United next week if they beat Swansea and Spurs lose to the Baggies.
And – for the first time – Ranieri has broken his silence on their title talk and admitted it is Leicester’s goal after their spot the Champions League group stages was confirmed this week.
He said: “Now we go straight away to try to win the title. Yes man, only this remains. I wanted 79 points and we have to fight more now.
“I talk to my players, ‘come on, now is the right moment to push’. I always believe, I am a positive man. If Tottenham go above us, congratulations, but I prefer to be five points ahead.
“We are in the Champions League, dilly ding, dilly dong – come on. We are in the Champions League, it is fantastic, terrific. Well done to everybody.”
Ranieri will be without Jamie Vardy after the striker accepted a Football Association charge of improper conduct following his reaction to referee Jon Moss after he was sent off in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with West Ham.
But Ranieri wants to move on from the incident, even though 22-goal Vardy could be hit by a further ban when a hearing is held next week.
He added: “We know he has one match off and our preparation is without him. He trained very well and he was not happy but he enjoyed the training session.
“We knew he had a suspension and then we move on. ”
He also welcomed comments from England boss Roy Hodgson on Vardy’s situation after the Three Lions chief felt Vardy had a right to feel upset after he received a second yellow card for diving.
He said: “It’s not only sympathy, it’s the truth. He is going very fast and when you touch something you lose balance. Maybe it’s not a penalty but sure it’s not a yellow card.
“It’s important because Roy is an honest man and said what he watched.”