Peter Anderson ✒ Every now and again a team comes along from mid table obscurity to stick it to the big boys. 

This phenomenon usually involves the serendipitous coming together of multiple strands of skill and luck; a popular chairman, an up-and-coming coach, a blend of skillful players at opposite ends of their careers. 

These teams are always a joy to watch unless they are playing your team! If they are on live TV you'll always make an effort to tune in. My first such team was Bobby Robson's Ipswich. 

The legendary manager drove his young largely homegrown team to two second places in the league as well as FA and UEFA cup glory, supported faithfully by the Cobbold brothers as club chairmen. His team boasted the likes of Paul Mariner, Terry Butcher, Alan Brazil, John Wark, Kevin Beattie and Arnold Muhren. All unforgettable names. It was always a treat when they were on Match of the Day or Sportsnight.

Another such team was Kevin Keegan's Newcastle. After Newcastle had fallen into the second division and were in danger of going even lower, John Hall won control of the club and appointed the inexperienced Keegan. They recruited well and filled the ranks with the likes of Shearer, Andy Cole, Rob Lee, Ginola, Asprilla, Albert and Les Ferdinand. Although they won nothing, they shook up the big boys and had Fergie's dominant Red Devils on the run. Who could forget the 4-3 defeat to Liverpool or Keegan's infamous "I will love it if we beat them" line after being wound up by Fergie. Ultimately Man Utd saw them off and Newcastle won no trophies, but provided plenty of entertainment!

Which brings me to the current Leicester City team who are quickly developing into my new favourite "second team". When Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha took over the club after the death of his popular father in 2018 one of his first major decisions was to bring in the Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. I must admit a soft spot for our Brendan. His Swansea team knew how to play football and when he went to Liverpool, he came within a whisker of winning a well-deserved title. His Reds played superb footy with the SAS (Suarez and Sturridge) up front. I was delighted when he left Celtic to return to England and thought the well run league winners of 2016 were a great fit. Leicester had a proven track record of canny signings. The likes of Kante and Mahrez were bought for buttons and sold for millions. 

Rodger's current side boasts a midfield of Ndidi, Tielemans, Maddison and Harvey Barnes with the evergreen striker Vardy still terrorising defences into his 30s. All of this is shored up by Johnny Evans and Kasper Schmeichel at the back. None of these players broke the bank but have played with great enterprise. The perfect blend of a dynamic coach looking to re-establish himself, a canny popular chairman and a blend of young and old, hungry players has taken the Foxes to second in the Premier League and the quarters of the FA cup. 

Brendan knows how to set up a team. His team know how to thrill and win. The question is: can they stay together long enough to emulate the Ipswichs and Newcastles of yore and really worry the big boys? Time will tell, but for now, I will be sitting back and enjoying the ride.

Peter Anderson is a Unionist with a keen interest in sports.

The Foxes

Peter Anderson ✒ Every now and again a team comes along from mid table obscurity to stick it to the big boys. 

This phenomenon usually involves the serendipitous coming together of multiple strands of skill and luck; a popular chairman, an up-and-coming coach, a blend of skillful players at opposite ends of their careers. 

These teams are always a joy to watch unless they are playing your team! If they are on live TV you'll always make an effort to tune in. My first such team was Bobby Robson's Ipswich. 

The legendary manager drove his young largely homegrown team to two second places in the league as well as FA and UEFA cup glory, supported faithfully by the Cobbold brothers as club chairmen. His team boasted the likes of Paul Mariner, Terry Butcher, Alan Brazil, John Wark, Kevin Beattie and Arnold Muhren. All unforgettable names. It was always a treat when they were on Match of the Day or Sportsnight.

Another such team was Kevin Keegan's Newcastle. After Newcastle had fallen into the second division and were in danger of going even lower, John Hall won control of the club and appointed the inexperienced Keegan. They recruited well and filled the ranks with the likes of Shearer, Andy Cole, Rob Lee, Ginola, Asprilla, Albert and Les Ferdinand. Although they won nothing, they shook up the big boys and had Fergie's dominant Red Devils on the run. Who could forget the 4-3 defeat to Liverpool or Keegan's infamous "I will love it if we beat them" line after being wound up by Fergie. Ultimately Man Utd saw them off and Newcastle won no trophies, but provided plenty of entertainment!

Which brings me to the current Leicester City team who are quickly developing into my new favourite "second team". When Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha took over the club after the death of his popular father in 2018 one of his first major decisions was to bring in the Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. I must admit a soft spot for our Brendan. His Swansea team knew how to play football and when he went to Liverpool, he came within a whisker of winning a well-deserved title. His Reds played superb footy with the SAS (Suarez and Sturridge) up front. I was delighted when he left Celtic to return to England and thought the well run league winners of 2016 were a great fit. Leicester had a proven track record of canny signings. The likes of Kante and Mahrez were bought for buttons and sold for millions. 

Rodger's current side boasts a midfield of Ndidi, Tielemans, Maddison and Harvey Barnes with the evergreen striker Vardy still terrorising defences into his 30s. All of this is shored up by Johnny Evans and Kasper Schmeichel at the back. None of these players broke the bank but have played with great enterprise. The perfect blend of a dynamic coach looking to re-establish himself, a canny popular chairman and a blend of young and old, hungry players has taken the Foxes to second in the Premier League and the quarters of the FA cup. 

Brendan knows how to set up a team. His team know how to thrill and win. The question is: can they stay together long enough to emulate the Ipswichs and Newcastles of yore and really worry the big boys? Time will tell, but for now, I will be sitting back and enjoying the ride.

Peter Anderson is a Unionist with a keen interest in sports.

4 comments:

  1. Loved reading this.

    Keep them coming Peter as they make a great addition to the blog

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  2. It's sad that the talent of Vardy was not spotted earlier by the Premiership sides as he has brought a real zest to the league

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  3. I've a soft spot for Newcastle, perennial underachievers but with a massive fan base and financial clout. Imagine if they had Brendan managing them? Still gutted Sir Frank couldn't cut the mustard at The Bridge but the Tectonic Tuchel appears to know what he's doing at least at the back. Yet again we spend millions on seemingly quality forwards and still nobody comes near to Drogba or Costa for us.

    Heard Klopp will be off to manage Germany in the summer, we'd all lose a great character if so. He's well liked by all.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Stevie G seen house hunting on the Wirral recently. πŸ˜— Klopp deserves the same adulation as Paisley or Shanks. The Barcodes 🏁 lost 4-3 to the Reds, twice. Munich knock City out of the πŸ†‘ ; lose to Lfc in the final.

    ReplyDelete