Opposition View – Leicester City

Gary Silke of the Fox Fanzine answers our questions for our regular Opposition View piece this week.

How long have you supported Leicester and what was the first game you ever attended?
22nd November 1975 – an ill-tempered 0-0 draw between Jimmy Bloomfield’s Leicester and Bobby Robson’s Ipswich at Filbert Street. I loved every second.

Best and worst games in your time as a fan?
Beating Derby in the 1994 Play Off Final for a place in the Premier League was one of the best. And going 1-0 up away at Atletico Madrid with an Ian Marshall goal seemed a bit surreal, but we lost that one.
There have been many, many bad ones. Perhaps a 5-2 defeat at Hull on a Friday night in the early 90s where we were so bad people were throwing their City scarves onto the back of the goal net.

Favourite ever player and manager in that time and why?
I loved goalkeeper Mark Wallington, who was a very decent keeper, managed 331 condecutive appearances, and always played with a smile on his face.
Martin O’Neill has to be my favourite manager just ahead of Jock Wallace, for his four and a half seasons of pure brilliance. Promotion, two League Cups and four top half Premier League finishes. Unprecedented.

During the summer you sacked Nigel Pearson and replaced him with Claudio Ranieri, what was your first reaction when this was announced?
Surprise tinged with relief. Nigel Pearson had done an excellent job at Leicester and set in place very strong foundations, but he seemed to be feeling the pressure on several occasions last season and it was time for him to move on.

It’s clearly an exciting time to be a Leicester fan right now with you sitting top of the Premier League, is the target now to stay there or would you settle for a European place?
Realistically a top six place would be fantastic, though a mad part of you thinks, “Title? Why not?”
We have a great side and everyone plays their part. If we can avoid injuries and suspensions then let’s see what happens.

Who have been your star performers and who needs to up their game?
Jamie Vardy is obviously attracting a lot of attention for his 11 goals in consecutive games, and Riyad Mahrez is hugely talented. But Leicester really do operate as a team and put in a shift every game.
It would be churlish in our current position to single anyone out, I am very pleased with all of them.

The transfer window opens shortly, is there any money available and where do you need to strengthen?
We don’t seem to be short of a bob or two with our Thai owners and a second year of Premier League tv money.
I think Claudio Ranieri would be able to buy whoever he wanted within reason, we could perhaps do with a little more strength in depth in defence.

On deadline day you signed Nathan Dyer on loan from Swansea. How has he been getting on and would you like him permanently if he was available?
He immediately impressed with a brave debut winner against Aston Villa, but was injured in the process and has limited opportunities since. On the occasions he has played – the second half at Southampton saw him turn the course of the game in our favour – we have wondered why Swansea let him go.

What do you make of Swansea so far this term and which players if any do you fear?
We’ll be hoping not to see the Bafétimbi Gomis panther celebration. I think the Swans have missed a match winner since Wilfried Bony left. He destroyed us at your place last season. I like Garry Monk and I hope he can pull it roundand save his job.

What’s your score prediction and where will each club finish in the league table?
I always (nearly) predict a 1-1 draw from home in the PL and would be happy with that and another Vardy goal.