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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