Story by Robin Popley
Well, firstly, I best get the ball rolling by saying hello and welcome to our football magazine; 11. In the 3 weeks we have been fully operational, we have continually broken all sorts of records and that is much in part to you. After all, that is why I created this magazine, for you my fellow fans. So, with much sincerity, I thank you all for your kind support to date. It is very humbling and the team and I are truly appreciative.
However, this monthly article is geared up as an exclusive expression of my views – based on current circumstances in football – whilst trying to highlight your feelings to the best of my ability. After all, we must pull our hair out, on a regular basis. Trust me: I’m a Leicester City fan. I am ALL too aware about heartache…but I digress!
In this edition, I focus mainly on big buyouts of clubs and transfers, which – sadly – fail on occasion. The prime examples of this are Portsmouth (now of League 1), Rangers, Plymouth Argyle and even my very own Leicester City.
Going to the former, and it was Autumn/Winter of 2002, when I began to fear the worst for my local club. After a string of Adi-Akin-bad-buy-i’s (sorry for the pun) under previous manager, Peter Taylor, following relegation to the second tier for the first time in seven seasons we (fans) felt the bite on the preverbal backside. The man bought into replace Taylor (Dave ‘Harry’ Bassett) stepped down and handed the reigns over his number two: Micky Adams (now of Port Vale). Amidst turmoil and the threat of administration, Adams reshaped the club from topped to bottom (with his playing staff and their ethos), and returned the club back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. In light of this, Gary Lineker (what a man) and several other people with Leicester connections, dug deep to save the club and for that we are indebted to all those mentioned and linked to the above.
However, due to us, the Champions of our league that year are now in the plight they find themselves. If you can’t remember who they are, I’ll trigger your memory: Pompey!
Portsmouth, who oversaw the terrible financial wrongdoings at Leicester (who, obviously due to no rule existing at the time, escaped any docking of points), now find themselves languishing in League 1 following a successful spell in the top flight not so long ago. However, from experience, relegation to League One isn’t the end of the world and can often be the making of many a team. Us, Norwich, Southampton (to name but three!) Yet, as the title of this month’s edition suggests, the way their success came to them was through ‘promised’ wealth and for that I do feel sorry for their fans. Especially when you consider the vast array of talent they used to watch at Fratton Park. How football is a fickle (and very unfair) game sometimes!
It should also be highlighted, that, everyone can see what has happened at Manchester City because of their richies. Yet, it wasn’t too long ago, that Joe Royle was a forlorn figure on the touchline following their relegation from the Premier League. It should also be added at this point, that, much like Rangers, mismanagement of clubs is so often at the expense of fans and I thought it was us who made the club: not the other way round?
One thing is for sure, though, Watford fans, Forest fans, Leeds and Reading fans. Take it from someone who has seen investment do some good but not yet achieve its success and with Uefa clamping down through their new regulations, the beautiful game may soon become no more than another cash flow for another rich foriegn investor.
A crying shame: but at least we are here to share your feelings.
I hope that you continue to enjoy reading 11,