A Lesson From Leicester?

An attendee at Arsenal’s last match noted plenty of contrasts with a game at the Emirates

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Leicester - Somewhat different ownership style to Arsenal's

When you approach the King Power stadium at Leicester you know it is not Ashburton Grove. There is just one souvenir stall, just two hot dog stalls. When the game starts it’s different too: any shot, any attack by the home team is greeted with a roar of appreciation. Each spectator is provided with a paper mallet which they’re expected to thump on the back of the seat ahead of them (not on the back of the spectator in front) to add to the volume of support. The antagonism directed towards the opposition, especially if they are perceived to be ‘posh’ like Arsenal, is tangible.

Two years ago when I was leaving Ashburton with my grandsons after our victory over Leicester we were berated by a Leicester fan for our failure to get behind our team from the first whistle, and whatever the state of the game. We took it on the chin, of course, being decent Arsenal chaps, but that is what the entire Leicester support does. Leicester is a provincial city and Leicester City a club with essentially low expectations. Hence the limited facilities on the concourse, hence the demise of The Fox, the fanzine that once rivalled The Gooner for content and presentation.

What they do have is an owner who is 100% committed to raising those low expectations, who is following his father’s footsteps. He attends matches even though he is based in Thailand, he is funding the building of a new training centre, he will almost certainly keep on funding charities in the city of Leicester, such as his father’s £1 million donation to the Royal Infirmary.

Those perennially low expectations, of course, were changed by winning the Premiership in 2016. They were challenged differently by the death of the chairman in that helicopter crash a year ago. That anniversary was marked by a procession from the city centre to the ground before the game against Burnley; people on it said, “He made our dreams come true.” At present Leicester stand second in the table, with a manager who is getting the best out of his players and expectations among players and supporters rising.

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30
comments

  1. John F

    Nov 20, 2019, 17:00 #115525

    Hi Jesus my memory of it was the huge away support we had that day and a small group of our fans being in the wrong stand and having to get out because they were being pelted from outside just before the end of the game.

  2. Bard

    Nov 20, 2019, 16:30 #115524

    I wonder whether all this drama at the Lane will put pressure on the Arsenal board, especially if their results improve and ours dont. Whatever the long term issues with Maureen he gets results in the short term.

  3. JesusSaidpaddy

    Nov 20, 2019, 15:53 #115523

    John F (115502) - wow mate, that takes me back - I'm guessing around 1984 ish - and I thought it was our lot outside pelting them ?

  4. John F

    Nov 20, 2019, 14:32 #115522

    Meanwhile in the Arsenal boardroom a rousing rendition of "three wheels on my wagon" can be heard.

  5. John F

    Nov 20, 2019, 14:23 #115521

    It is going to be interesting what Utd do as they were after potlesschino last season and I can see them making a move soon.

  6. itsRonagain2

    Nov 20, 2019, 12:08 #115520

    RK - Its the guy Lewis isnt it who still owns the spuds? Lives in Hawaii or somewhere as a tax exile. Levy is involved with Lewis's Business as i recall. Hes a self made billionaire. Bet yr life it has slush funded the spuds for years.

  7. Radfordkennedy

    Nov 20, 2019, 11:53 #115519

    Seem to remember poch stating he would ' rather take up farming than manage Arsenal '.

  8. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    Nov 20, 2019, 11:06 #115518

    Tottenham's appointment of JM really highlights their need for the CL cash to fund their new life style. However It does puzzle me where all this "new money" into the Spuds is coming from, I do hope they are not breaking FFP rules!

  9. ArsenalMagna

    Nov 20, 2019, 11:01 #115517

    I think Poch will go to United or Real Madrid. If it's the former then that's not great as I personally think he is a very good coach. I only wanted Mourinho at Arsenal for a couple of years, but Spurs have him on a four-year deal, and I bet he hasn't agreed to early break clauses, and that he'll get £10m per year. Ergo, once his third season rot sets in, they'll have a big call to make on whether to write off £20m and all his backroom staff's payments too. It could go south even sooner, as so many players just hate playing his dreary brand of football, even if it is effective.

  10. CORNISH GOONER

    Nov 20, 2019, 10:39 #115516

    A LESSON FROM TOTTENHAM? How much longer will the dithering & lack of positive management continue at AFC? I am a bit surprised that our lovely billionaire owner hasn't seen the need to grow his London business asset. After all he was very decisive in 2016 when acquiring the historic Waggoner Ranch in Texas - first action being to boot off those leaseholders who had, for 50 years, foolishly been putting their money into properties that they had assumed were their forever homes. Perhaps he is now a big old softie when it comes to his staff? Or maybe he just doesn't give a shit about his UK investment - not quite the same kudos as owning one of the most prestigious chunks of land in the States maybe?

  11. itsRonagain2

    Nov 20, 2019, 10:25 #115515

    John - Funny but very true mate. Some of the worst types of dense, cavemen supporters certainly follow them and always have as far as i can remember. Bloody horrible mob.

  12. itsRonagain2

    Nov 20, 2019, 10:20 #115514

    I think Pochetino will go abroad to Spain to be honest. Can Mourinho alter Spurs culture? Not sure about that. Its a club that's long seen itself as the purveyors of fine attractive football (real or imagined). I think a dose of hi at Arsenal was needed but at the Spuds? Could now be his first club where s hes won ziltch so to carry on that fine tradition there!.

  13. Big Andy

    Nov 20, 2019, 09:53 #115513

    Great news that Maureen has gone to Spuds: I was terrified that the Arsenal board might do something stupid and take him on. He’s poison and will last no more than 2 years at WHL. We should show some guts and ambition and snap up Potch

  14. Bard

    Nov 20, 2019, 09:51 #115512

    Good old Spuds. Hiring Maureen is a recipe for short term gain and long term disaster. He is so divisive. However hats off to their board for being decisive. I wonder if the situation at Arsenal played some part in the speed of their decision.

  15. Exiled in Pt

    Nov 20, 2019, 09:25 #115511

    Maybe now the Arsenal support might actually realise what is written in the press is a load of old bollocks . Last week people were talking up Maureen as coming to Arsenal as he had dinner with Raul , then it was Enrique both of them are now taken and we still have our Dick .. As we keep saying the problem with our club is the owner and nothing is going to change any time soon !!

  16. John F

    Nov 20, 2019, 09:01 #115510

    I agree Mark it is just all downhill and despite my reservations about Maureen you have to say that at least the Spuds board have been proactive and are showing ambition.

  17. markymark

    Nov 20, 2019, 08:26 #115509

    John F - you might be right but once again we sit back at Arsenal and watch as Guardiola, Klopp and now Mourinho take up positions at rival clubs whilst we sit on our hands. I can now see Potch coming this way though as pressure is going to mount I reckon as clubs start pulling the trigger to rescue a season. Thing is though Potch might even sit it out for a chance at Real. Therefore do we try and grab a Nagelsmann or Arteta at season end. With Emery we don’t even have a feeling that the players will turn it around to save his arse ( Wenger had this present delivered every season ) so I suspect we are heading towards 14th unless something is done. Short term fix against potential of getting the Right man at seasons end? It’s a very big gamble

  18. markymark

    Nov 20, 2019, 08:22 #115508

    John F - you might be right but once again we sit back at Arsenal and watch as Guardiola, Klopp and now Mourinho take up positions at rival clubs whilst we sit on our hands. I can now see Potch coming this way though as pressure is going to mount I reckon as clubs start pulling the trigger to rescue a season. Thing is though Potch might even sit it out for a chance at Real. Therefore do we try and grab a Nagelsmann or Arteta at season end. With Emery we don’t even have a feeling that the players will turn it around to save his arse ( Wenger had this present delivered every season ) so I suspect we are heading towards 14th unless something is done. Short term fix against potential of getting the Right man at seasons end? It’s a very big gamble

  19. TonyEvans

    Nov 20, 2019, 08:22 #115507

    I have fond memories of away days in the midlands, as Ron says not far to go, and more often than not a decent result to savour on the way back. Changing the subject - Mourinho at the Spuds now! Even by their standards it is amazing how quickly the wheels have come off. Of course they always flatter to deceive but I really thought they were on the cusp of actually winning a trophy and establishing themselves big-time - I should have known better! If only we could get our own house in order. Poch is a decent manager and maybe worth a shout for Arsenal, though I still would prefer a punt on Howe or Wilder. Let's give a British manager a chance for a change. Wishful thinking anyway as we will be saddled with Emery for a while yet I am sure.

  20. John F

    Nov 20, 2019, 07:19 #115506

    A snarling disgusting sulking man ends up at a club with disgusting snarling sulking supporters.Looks like a match on tinder.

  21. itsRonagain2

    Nov 19, 2019, 23:04 #115505

    Decent ground Highfield Road was. They were always a tough team to beat there as well weren’t they. Hutchinson and Wallace and them. Remember a 3-1 loss there late 70s and another 3-2 loss. Late 90s. We struggled there at times. A good away day. Only an hour or so on the trains. I wonder how the spuds wd take to Mourinho? He s had 1 terrible fit at a club - Utd. If he’s honest he knows he d make another booby by going to that hole. Who knows though. It might even place Arses Board in a tight spot re Dick now that the serial trophy hoarder Poch has bitten the dust?

  22. John F

    Nov 19, 2019, 21:21 #115504

    It sounds like Maureen is favourite to get it .Other teams act as we dither on .

  23. Exiled in Pt

    Nov 19, 2019, 20:53 #115503

    As much as I hate that lot from up the road, at least there board has been decisive in getting rid of the coach after a bad run of results. What's the betting they get Allegri or Mourinho in by next week. Why we struggle on with our Dick.. Highfield Road another great ground gone for a concrete bowl on a business park. Not that Coventry even get to play there now...

  24. John F

    Nov 19, 2019, 19:57 #115502

    Millwall brick,I remember some of the Arsenal firm having to get on the pitch to escape at Filbert street because they were being pelted by Fans from outside the ground.I loved Highfield road wasn't it the first all-seater until Leeds fans demolished it. They even laid on buses to pick you up from the station

  25. Exiled in Pt

    Nov 19, 2019, 18:49 #115501

    Let's be honest Ron you wouldn't use the sun newspaper for anything else, certainly not reading material. Yes all the Midlands teams seemed to have a reasonable firm of nuts back then. Always amusing to see the bouncing boys of today behind the police lines... Not sure they would of been as brave in those days..

  26. itsRonagain2

    Nov 19, 2019, 16:34 #115500

    Exiled - made me laugh that, the old Millwall brick. Yes, they had a 'firm' didnt they at Filbert Street. As with all of it though back then, you had to look for it to find it. From what im aware though it was hell on earth when they used to play Coventry who themselves had a band of real nut jobs for a firm back in the day. I saw it go off at their old Highfield Road ground a few times v the Gunners.

  27. Exiled in Pt

    Nov 19, 2019, 15:47 #115499

    Come to think of it i seem to remember a few of the Filbert street following were quite keen on the old Millwall brick now they get a paper mallet given to them in the ground , how times have changed .......

  28. Exiled in Pt

    Nov 19, 2019, 15:42 #115498

    Bang on as always Ron , big Andy you are correct it seems a long time ago now standing at either end of the ground . I am not sure the customer base now is even bothered about being entertained most of them seem to have their face looking at mobiles as opposed to the game !! It is another of London's tourist sites more than a football ground. Funny Enrique has taken the Spain job can we take it what we are offering is not all that some seem to think it is ??

  29. Big Andy

    Nov 19, 2019, 14:55 #115497

    Great comment, Ron. Those of us who can remember standing on the North Bank or the Clock End despair at what the club has become. We’re now a rich American’s financial asset that is primarily interested in making money. Passionate local supporters have been replaced with middle-class customers who are only interested in being entertained. It’s sad.

  30. itsRonagain2

    Nov 19, 2019, 09:49 #115496

    LC are a one club City and you ll find that the supporters are far more passionate in such Cities for their teams. Leeds, Newcastle are other examples. Arsenal 'posh'? The old Etonion years went a very long time ago matey. Arsenal are the epitome of the modern corporate club now. Ran by and for corporate types, both in the boardroom and in the seats. They revel in it. AFC has ironically in many ways embraced the modern games trends far more than have the oil monied MC or the dirty money fueled Chelsea. They bought that stadium and encouraged a whole new raft of supporter types to the exclusion of the old, who all bought into it zealously and now the club is reaping the end result of its own folly. Football is in essence no more than a by product of what Arsenal PLC are. Its not fundamental. Any success the club has will be 'nice' and good for its brand/its products and the accounts department. Winning trophies though isnt too important. PS The old Filbert Street ground in Leics was far more atmospheric than the KP, though it is a noisy stadium. Its construction assists in that though i suspect.