Sixer asks: must we go to Leicester?

Sixer, right in Irish green. with the more conventionally attired Sobs
Sixer, right in Irish green. with the more conventionally attired Sobs

Pete Sixsmith muses over the trip to Leicester which turns out, probably through no fault of its own but more to do with a long-held student grievance, to be less than his favourite city. Incidentally, his item on the death of former Sunderland goalkeeper Iain Hesford now appears here

After another hiatus
in the league programme so the Londoncentric press can praise the ordinary Jack Wilshere to the skies, we are back to the Premier League and a clear run through until the Jack fest starts again in February.

Am I the only person who doesn’t get Wilshere? The very mention of his name makes me laugh in incredulity at how such an ordinary player can be praised to the skies; Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and a man I wouldn’t trust with a sweet tin let alone the nations finances, has the same effect.

I digress; on Saturday, we visit the King Power Stadium, for a very important league game against newly promoted Leicester City. Can we win it?

The King Power Stadium is the archetypal new build: bland, featureless and a huge improvement on Filbert Street, a ground that had the worst view in Europe for visiting fans. Being bland and featureless, it is perfect for Leicester, a city that can be summed up in those two words. Whereas every city has something to commend it – Leeds has a splendid town hall, Norwich a plethora of pubs, Nottingham a castle and a river – Leicester has nothing. There is Richard III’s grave I suppose and I seem to remember that a pair of Daniel Lambert’s trousers (Britain’s fattest man at 53 stone – I am catching him up) were in the museum, but other than that, nothing, zero, zilch.

Now, my views on Leicester may be coloured – or discoloured – by the fact that I spent an extremely dull week there in my student days on a History Field Trip. The previous year the trip had gone to Mull where certain members of the group had disgraced themselves and there had been words between one of the lecturers and a prominent member of the International Socialists. So, we were dragged off to Leicester and a constant diet of deserted medieval villages, village churches and, for a special treat, a walk along the canal to Foxton Locks.

I have had better weeks and to add insult to injury, the only beer we could get in the village we were billeted in was Watney’s Red Barrel. So, you can see why I bristle at the name “Leicester”.

Clearly,this is a very important game for both clubs. We look to have got over the humiliation at Southampton and the last two results and performances (particularly the Everton one) have been welcomed by supporters.

For the Foxes, their results have plummeted since that invigorating destruction of Manchester United, a performance by the Reds which was every bit as bad as ours at St Mary’s, while City were as impressive as the Saints were.

Since then, they have taken 1 point from 18, have lost at home to West Brom, allowed Burnley to score twice and are responsible for allowing our Friends from the North to start a run that will end up with them beating Uranus in the Inter Galactic Cup Final if some of their more vociferous fans are to be believed.

So, who better for City to play than a club who often specialise in allowing opponents in a slump to win their next game?

I need only mention the name “Ade Akinbyi” to send Sunderland supporters into a quiver. He was City’s record signing, had gone six months without scoring and was the target of derision from the Filbert Street terraces.

Playing in the same team as midfield artists Dennis Wise and Robbie Savage, he looked completely out of his depth and fluffed a couple of chances before he mis-hit a shot and it bobbled past Thomas Sorenson to give City their first win at home that season. It was November.

However, the Walkers Stadium (as it then was) has been a happy hunting ground for us. A Steve Caldwell goal gave us a win in Mick McCarthy’s Championship winning side ten years ago, while two years later, on New Year’s Day,2007 Tobias Hysen and David Connolly set us off on that exhilarating run that ended up with promotion and the Championship under WB Yeats look-a-like Roy Keane.

We seem to have players coming back from injury. There may be a defender on the bench (Coates) and Alvarez is back in the reckoning. Bridcutt, despite his impressive performance against the Toffees, may well join them as I cannot see Cattermole not getting his place back. We shall see.

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9 thoughts on “Sixer asks: must we go to Leicester?”

  1. We have a bridge, Paul. It’s a good one as well, far better than that overrated contraption that links Gateshead with the Dark Side.
    Everards is a decent pint; I like Tiger, but always think it should be brewed in Hull..
    As for Wilshere, still don’t get him. Good against Slovenia and a Scotland team who played with their heart rather than their heads. Decent enough but as an Arsenal player he is praised to the skies.
    Am I becoming grumpier?

    • The bridge is the real prototype for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you are right about our bridge. Sunderland has also got beaches and a famous collection of glass artifacts.

  2. The away end at Filbert Street was truly awful. I only tried it once and, after that, I used to go behind the goal with the home fans – in the “Double-Decker” stand as it was known. Always found the locals very reasonable and the view from the top-deck of the DD was one of my favourite views in football. Right above the goal, it felt like a real football ground. I miss it anyway, particularly as I can’t get a ticket for tomorrow …. although Leicester did tell me they had a few left at £65. Er, no thanks.

  3. I can hear the citizens of Leicester exclaiming ” what is so bloody marvellous about Sunderland”. They have a point. Just to clarify my situation, I have supported Sunderland for more than 50 years and spent 7 of them at St Aidan’s which was run by Christian Brothers. I survived, just about!

  4. Worry not, Pete. The beer in Leicester is much better now than it was 40 years. Pub names can be a little unoriginal. Will be in the pub named ‘The Pub’ before the match. Perhaps I’ll see you there.

    Worst thing about Leicester: the new Richard III museum. £7.50 to visit and no exhibits.

    Good things:
    1. The Rutland dinosaur.
    2. The best collection of German expressionist art in the country.
    3. The quality of the Indian restaurants.

  5. Wilshire is an excellent player, ran the midfield against the Scots and improving year on year. Highly skilled with quick burst of pace.
    Another player who hasn’t been appreciated is Wellbeck, coming into his own now that he’s getting regular first team games.
    And Luke Shaw will be England left back for years and years.

  6. I totally agree about Jack Wilshere. A good engine but IMO offers little else, and if he was playing for us WBA,or Stoke would get nowhere near the England squad. Another highly overrated player IMO is Raheem Sterling……plenty of pace but not much else.

    When will we see an English player who can control a game and produce the telling pass like Pirlo or Glenn

  7. Leicester has some great Asian restaurants around the Melton Road area but apart from that it was only work that dragged me into the city during my 32 years living in the North West of the county and the occasional concert at De Montfort Hall or the Y Theatre. I much preferred Nottingham if I had to go into a city for anything.

    The sight lines at Filbert Street were no worse than those for away fans at Anfield or Loftus Road but if the sun shines on an afternoon, the view at the Crisp Bowl or whatever it’s called these days makes a cap and reactolite specs essential.

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