They say that money cannot buy you happiness; I’m not too sure about that. But what I am sure about is that money cannot buy you instant success, especially not in a competitive league such as the NPower Championship, as Leicester City are currently proving.
For the first time in a number of years, the optimism around Filbert Way during pre-season was at a high, there was a tangible atmosphere in the air and the whole city seemed to be buzzing in anticipation of the big kick off.
Following the hard-fought one nil victory against our M69 rivals Coventry at the Ricoh, followed by the emphatic four one victory against Rotherham United in the League Cup (thanks to a stunning hat-trick by debutant Jeff Schlupp), the optimism was going into overdrive ahead of the first home fixture of the season; Reading FC.
Disappointingly, what followed was 90 plus minutes of good (in parts) individual performances; the likes of Schmeichel between the sticks, Nugent up-front, Yuki Abe and Sol Bamba in midfield and defence respectively stand out; but a poor team performance which was epitomised by captain Matt Mills’ poor performance against his old club.
Boos were to be expected from the away fans every time Mills’ got the ball (as were the boos when Jamie ‘Afro’ Archer took to the pitch at half-time to sing), but hearing sections of the home support boo at full time was, in some respects, heart wrenching, especially after only our first home game.
I was in with the twenty-odd thousand at the King Power Stadium for the Reading game, and whilst the performance wasn’t what I was expecting from us; I could see the positives; players showed passion, they tried to change the game when they could, and Sven also made tactical changes in the hope of us getting something from the game; but it wasn’t to be, much to the pleasure of Leeds fans on Twitter (although I’m unsure why they’re so pleased considering until mid-week they hadn’t picked up a point in the league) and our dear friends Nottingham Forest (again, they’re not setting the league alight).
Another positive was that we only had to wait until Wednesday to make amends, as we welcomed Bristol City and the striker we’ve been pursuing all summer, Nicky Maynard.
This last positive is one which in hindsight isn’t that positive. After all, even if you weren’t that into football, you could have wrote the script. The striker we’ve been bidding for throughout pre-season would score against us; and as was the case, four minutes into the game, with a nicely taken free-kick (showing us what we’re missing I think!).
Following the early goal, there were glimmers of hope, Lloyd Dyer looked hungry for it in his first start of the season, Andy King put in a good performance after taking over the midfield role from Yuki Abe; whilst Bamba and Sean St Ledger looked steady at the back.
However, for the second game in a row boos echoed around the stadium, this time at half-time and more in the direction of the poor refereeing than the players; although I’m not naive enough to think that the players weren’t partly at fault.
In the second half things started to pick up and when David Nugent bagged his first for the season to equalise, you could forgive us Foxes for believing that we may just get something out of the game, but it wasn’t to be. Once again, that man Maynard broke clean through on goal after a terrible mistake by St Ledger, and slotted the ball into the net to send Leicester crashing to our second home defeat of the season.
It doesn’t matter how much money we’ve already thrown at the team, it’s clear we’re still missing two vital pieces of the jigsaw.
1) A second striker – is Martyn Waghorn the answer from the bench, I’m not sure; but with Steve Howard going out on loan shortly and Yann Kermorgant being told to find another club, it still leaves us short.
2) Sven’s best eleven – the man himself said in the local paper before Bristol that he wasn’t sure of his best eleven or whether he ever would be. Whilst I can respect him for being so honest, and I understand the large squad does provide a selection headache, I think it’s important that Sven quickly settles on a regular starting eleven after all, a frequently changed side isn’t going to help the “gelling” process.
Also, can anyone answer the last time we did start the same eleven in two consecutive games?
The season is too young for fans to be throwing their toys out of the pram and saying that we’ve already blown it. Opposition fans may gloat via social media, but come May we’ll see who is laughing then!