Dean Rivers (dean_r) wrote,
Dean Rivers

CM4: Leicester's first season

Note: if you dislike CM4 this will be dull.

July & August - I knew Leicester were low on cash, and was told Leicester were suffering with wage problems, which resulted in me trying to be rid of as many star players as possible, so Matt Elliott, Gerry Taggart and Muzzy Izzet were all sold off before the end of August, giving me a lot of money to play with. I began to patch up the side with Philippe Mexès and Kapo brought in from Auxerre on loan. Nigel Quashie was bought from Portsmouth, seeing Leicester's biggest problem involved its injury-filled midfield (and stealing anyone from a side who were rated with a high chance to win the league is a bonus).

The first division started curiously, struggling to find any away form with a counter-attacking 4-4-2 formation, losing to Watford and Wimbledon, but my home form was exceptional, three wins against Grimsby, Millwall and Norwich. I was in a playoff position, with Portsmouth and Ipswich racing away at the top of the table.

September to December - a change to a more aggressive 4-1-3-2 tactic and the acquisitions of Bobby Zamora and Michael Stewart turned the season. The reserves lost to Norwich in the League Cup as planned, my season focused on promotion, which was indeed working exceptionally. I'd gone through these four months without losing a league game, which had left me clear at the top by a half dozen points from Portsmouth, the league now a two-horse race.

January to February - in came Lewis Buxton, out went Junior Lewis and Simon Royce. The league form was petering out a little, with only 5 points gained out of 12 for the beginning of 2003, resulting in Portsmouth catching up with me in the league momentarily. The FA Cup became a useful distraction, getting lots of fair sides in my campaign and defeating them all with the minimum of fuss, the strikeforce of Brian Deane and Bobby Zamora destroying defences, and Matthew Jones returning from injury to become a very good player in knocking in tap-ins. Before the end of February the side had started to get back on form, the half-dozen point gap in the League reappearing and growing fast, and I was preparing for Preston in the FA Cup quarter-finals, after Sheffield Wednesday, Millwall and Watford were all knocked out of the tournament as a result of the Foxes.

March to May - Preston were beaten comfortably and the league campaign was wrapped up in April, promotion guaranteed with a 4-0 win at Bradford and the league won with seven games left, against Reading. One game later I took Portsmouth to the cleaners in the FA Cup Semi Final to leave me in the FA Cup final, as well as promoted. I let the reserves play the last few games of the season to rest my team up for the biggest game of the season - the FA Cup final against Manchester United. Veron's sending off after 20 minutes helped me completely, and I kept playing my attacking aggressive football, the match being fairly even. An extra time goal from Paul Dickov won me the game and my second cup of my campaign. Fans were crying for a statue in my honour, a news report stated, amusingly.

In the pre-season...Paolo Vernazza joined, and I've £9m to spend after the shareholders snatched £5m from me. I'm after some of the traditionally overrated Scandinavian players Farnerud and Kallstrom, having already nabbed Magne Hoseth, who'll join in December when his contract with Molde finishes...

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