Review: Volume 55 - Football

Title: f00TBALL-wAS-lIVERP00L-n0STALGIC/DP/1844258254/REF=SR_1_1?S=B00KS&IE=utf8&QID=132o865564&SR=1-1">Liverpool

Author: Peter Hooton


Publisher: Haynes Publishing

Price: £10.99

Bookshop: Amazon

Website: Liverpool


This is a unique and magnificent collection of photographs of Liverpool Football Club from the very early days until 1992, freshly selected from thousands of images in the "Daily Mirror's" extensive archive. These superb photos, many of them previously unpublished, document the rise of the most successful football club in the English game. The early days and the championship-winning sides of the early 1900s, the 'untouchables' of the '20s, the coming of the 'messiah' Bill Shankly after the lean years of the 1930s, '40s and '50s, the triumphs of the '60s '70s and '80s, the tragedies of Heysel and Hillsborough - it's all here. This book will bring to life the periods, the personalities and the human stories.

This is a unique and magnificent collection of photographs of Manchester City FC from the early 1900s up until just before the Millennium, selected from the Daily Mirror's extensive archive. Capturing the very essence of this famous old club and its supporters, When Football Was Football harks back to a bygone era when life - and the game - seemed much simpler. From the club's glory years and numerous cup triumphs, to kids on the street having a knockabout outside Maine Road - this is a pictorial book like no other, sprinkled with rarely-told stories and tales of how a small amateur football club became one of the game's major powers. But this isn't page after page of images you've seen a dozen times before. This book is a rich tapestry of people, players and experiences, good, bad or otherwise. In stark contrast to today's carefully controlled environment top footballer's operate within, there are pictures of the Blues' first team training on a wet car park before the Manchester derby, Bert Trautmann signing an autograph on a deserted London street and shots of the people who really made this club - its magnificent supporters. Black and white images from decades ago, glorious colour photos from the sixties and seventies and beyond, this is a book every City fan simply must own.

Anyone interested in football has memories of significant games, when their team played brilliantly (or even lost spectacularly). Some might be the greatest games they've ever watched - games not necessarily involving the team they support - others might be 'a first', while some may be football matches that have been spoken about by an older generation, held up as examples of the way football used to be. Those Were the Games is all about fascinating football matches from the last 100 years. Who was Max Seeburg? He became the first ever foreign profession 1923 footballer to play for an English club when he turned out for Spurs against hull City in 1908. The 'White Horse' Cup Final of 1923, but who played who? Five years later Newcastle United beat Aston Villa 7-5 in a remarkable fixture at St James' Park. Were you among the 146,422 people who paid to watch Celtic beat Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup Final in 1937? Everyone now takes floodlights for granted, but what was the first game to be played entirely under lights and what was the score? It was Portsmouth against Newcastle United way back in 1956 but you'll have to buy the book to find out more.

This title features the pre 1960s and the first £100 a week footballer (Johnny Haynes - now there's a coincidence!). Football was the preserve of the working man who attended matches in vast numbers. It was a working class pursuit and one that attracted people through a fierce tribalism and loyalty to 'your team'. With the advent of footballers being paid well above the national wage it has gone from being a sport to a business. "When Football Was Football" is a fully illustrated book that takes us through the Century of English football from the photographic and written archives of the "Daily Mirror".'You'd be forgiven for thinking football was invented in 1992' - Oliver Holt. 'It's not a matter of life and death it's more important than that' - Bill Shankly. Key and previously unseen photographs will include: 1905 - Chelsea formed at The Rising Sun pub (now The Butcher's Hook), and Fulham Road; 1926 - Huddersfield becomes the first team to win the league three times in succession; 1928 - Chelsea and Arsenal become first teams to play with shirt numbers (25 August); and 1939 - League is abandoned three games into the season with the outbreak WW2.

Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED TV Review

The Samsung Q90T is an excellent 4k QLED TV. It's feature-rich, and it delivers stunning picture quality in nearly every type of content. Its simple and elegant design should fit easily into any room, and it performs well in both dark or bright environments. Motion handling is superb thanks to its incredibly fast response time and Black Frame Insertion feature, and gamers should be pleased with its exceptionally low input lag and FreeSync support. HDR content is delivered with vibrant colors and bright highlights, as it has an impressive color gamut and high peak brightness. Its Tizen OS interface is easy to navigate, and there are tons of apps available. There are some minor uniformity issues that may disappoint sports fans, but as a whole, it's a TV that should satisfy most people.

Police fired 55 times at Willie McCoy. An investigation called it 'reasonable'

The California police officers who killed Willie McCoy, a 20-year-old who had been sleeping in his car, fired 55 bullets at him in 3.5 seconds – which was “reasonable”, according to the city of Vallejo’s hired consultant.

Officials disclosed the extraordinary number of rounds in a report released this week, months after six policemen shot the aspiring rapper who had fallen asleep inside his car at a Taco Bell. The 9 February killing, which McCoy’s family has called an “execution by a firing squad”, sparked national outrage and has led to intense scrutiny of the Vallejo police department’s frequent use of deadly force and history of misconduct and abuse cases.

The 51-page report by David Blake, a paid “expert” and retired officer, concluded that the killing was “in line with contemporary training and police practices associated with use of deadly force”. He said “the 55 rounds fired by 6 officers in

3.5 seconds is reasonable based upon my training and experience as a range instructor as well as through applied human factors psychology”.

Relatives of McCoy, a beloved Bay Area rapper whose career was on the rise at the time of his death, said they learned of the bullet count in news reports.

“What it says is there was never any real intention of trying to work out this situation to where my brother’s life would still be intact,” Marc McCoy, Willie’s older brother, told the Guardian on Wednesday, adding that many in the US had become numb to this level of police brutality: “Our community is so used to this type of violence.”

The six officers surrounded McCoy’s car with guns drawn after a Taco Bell employee called police to report a man unresponsive in his car in the drive-thru. The police department in the city, 30 miles north-east of San Francisco, has insisted that the officers fired out of “fear for their own safety”, alleging that McCoy had reached for a gun on his lap.

Police officers who killed Willie McCoy, a 20-year-old who had been sleeping in his car, fired 55 bullets at him in 3.5 seconds. Photograph: YouTube | City of Vallejo

But body-camera footage, released after significant public pressure, cast doubts on parts of the police narrative. The videos only showed McCoy moving his hand to scratch his shoulder before officers opened fire. The police did not try to wake him up or announce that they were officers, and his family and their lawyers have said it seemed clear McCoy was not alert or awake when the police all opened fire.

Without an official report on the number of rounds, McCoy’s loved ones had previously been forced to rely on their own estimations after viewing his body, which was riddled with bullets in his face, chest, throat, arms and elsewhere, making him unrecognizable.

“This is an unconstitutional level of force,” said Melissa Nold, an attorney for the family, adding that the 55 bullets were another reminder of police strategy that night: “You want to ensure that this human being does not survive.”

The city agreed to pay up to $8,000 for the “expert report” on “human factors and use of force” analysis by Blake, according to contract documents obtained by the Vallejo Times-Herald. Blake has a history of authoring similar reports concluding law enforcement killings were reasonable.

He was hired as the “outside expert” to investigate the 2018 killing of Stephon Clark, an unarmed 22-year-old Sacramento man killed in his family’s backyard. Those officers claimed they mistook Clark’s cellphone for a gun, and Blake determined the fatal shots were “reasonable”.

Blake defended the high volume of bullets fired at McCoy by making inferences about the mental state of the officers. He said officers were “generally trained to fire until the threat has been neutralized” and that they probably continued to fire due in part to “acute stress” and “chaos caused by the sounds of gunfire, debris, and weapons mounted lights reflecting off the shattered windshield”.

The Monster Mash

Depending on the stadium in which you play, the field is littered with buzz saws, landmines, poisonous moats, and spike traps that can kill your players. Your team, of course, has backups for every position player, but if all of its quarterbacks are slaughtered over the course of a contest by these or other hazards, you automatically forfeit the game. Less savvy gamers can turn off permadeath, so that players return to the battlefield after getting absolutely wrecked. You may also lose your orcs, robots, aliens, skeletons, and mutated humans as their health bars dwindle due to hard tackles, late hits, and dirty tricks.

Each team has two offensive and defensive dirty tricks that are designed to shift the game flow in your favor. Like the on-field hazards, dirty tricks vary by team. My New Yuck Tyrants, for example, have the Warp Speed dirty trick that lets an offensive player move with superspeed for a few seconds. If you're deep in your own territory, Warp Speed can get you close to midfield with ease. If you're within your opponent's 50-yard line, Warp Speed pretty much guarantees a touchdown. And the Shotgun dirty trick sees a team's quarterback pull out a firearm and lay waste to the defense with several well-timed blasts as he runs toward a first down.

Unfortunately, Mutant Football League doesn't always instruct you if it's possible to counteract these potentially overpowered super feats. The game mentions that if a player boosted by Warp Speed comes into contact with anything, the bonus is immediately lost, but doesn't give a counter for the Thunderclap ability, which summons a lightning bolt to cause a fumble (or even death). On the upside, each dirty trick can be used just once per half. Like permadeath, dirty tricks can be deactivated in the game settings menu.

That's fortunate, because some dirty tricks brutally take the winds out of your sails. Few things are as frustrating as dropping a long bomb, only to have the down reversed because the defensive team bribed the ref. You can opt to kill the ref, which is a universal dirty trick, but it's a gamble as you don't know when a rival may counter-bribe the ref.

Mutant Football League also has a Halftime Show that consists of a Smash TV-style shooting game in which you must try to survive waves of attacking zombie refs for one minute. If you do, you can resurrect one of your dead players. It's a simple, but welcome, mechanic that can potentially change the course of the game, especially if you revive a franchise-level player.

Washington Football Team 2021 NFL Draft Review

The Best Player: LB Jamin Davis

Going in the 2021 NFL Draft, head coach Ron Rivera seemed set on taking care of their need at linebacker. So why not do so in the first round? Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis is exactly what Rivera wanted – an athletic leader who can play sideline to sideline. Davis has excellent length and initial burst and saw his stock skyrocket late in the pre-draft process. Davis is rather rough around some of the edges, but if Rivera develops him right, he can become a very good player quickly.

The Head-Scratcher: Camaron Cheeseman

Here is the issue – the Washington Football Team had a perfect draft through and through. They added talent all over the field and got the guys they wanted to fill out the roster with. This including Camaron Cheeseman, who simply deserves recognition for having one of the best names in the draft. The long snapper was taken with the 225 th overall pick, which one could argue could have gone to another premium position. Either way, Cheeseman is in the NFL, and fans could not be happier!

The Surprise: Dyami Brown

In a way, the surprise is not that Washington landed Dyami Brown, rather when. While “The Steal” award goes to another pick, Brown also has a very strong case to be one of the top steals in the entire draft. Taken with the 82 nd overall pick, Brown is a player who should have gone early on day two. He is a downfield threat who ran a 4.44 40-yard dash time and has very reliable hands. Given Brown’s ball-tracking skills, one could expect him to have an early impact in Washington attempting to stretch the field this season.

The Steal: Samuel Cosmi

Another one of Washington’s biggest needs was at left tackle. Since the entire Trent Williams left, the team has been searching for his replacement. Well, they found him. Texas offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi is a raw left tackle prospect who has a very high ceiling. Standing at 6’6” and 614-pounds, Cosmi is a physical and athletic blocker who needs to refine his technique. Nevertheless, his talent could have seen him go in round one, making his selection at 51 st a massive steal for Washington.

Most Likely to Turn Heads During Training Camp: Shaka Toney

The Washington Football Team has a very deep front seven. It is the strength of the team, with Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, and many more leading the charge in the trenches. Yet fans should look out for seventh-round pick Shaka Toney to carve out a role for himself before the season starts. He is a dynamic rusher with great bend around the edge. He may need to bulk up more to handle 4-3 defensive end duties, but with his natural rush skills, Toney could practice his way into a situational pass-rushing role.

The Rest

In the third round of the draft, Washington landed Senior Bowl standout cornerback Benjamin St-Juste and tight end John Bates. St-Juste is a tall, lanky cornerback who is raw with size and tackling skills worth developing. Meanwhile, in drafting Boise State tight end John Bates in round four, Washington gets another big tight end who excels as a blocker and has reliable hands.

In round five Washington took Cincinnati safety Darrick Forrest. The safety is best in the box, playing against the run and covering tight ends. In a division with Evan Engram, Zach Ertz, and other tight ends, Forrest’s coverage ability will come in handy. Similarly, Washington added more depth along their defensive line in William Bradley-King. The 240 th overall pick has the size and necessary edge-rushing traits to be a quality rotational piece.

Lastly, Washington closed out their draft by taking wide receiver Dax Milne. The BYU receiver stands at 6’1” and 193-pounds, bringing a smooth runner to the unit. He is a great all-around athlete with great ball tracking skills.

In the 2021 NFL Draft the Washington Football Team simply needed to add talent to fill out their roster. In having a well-rounded draft that took care of the team’s biggest needs, it is safe to say that Ron Rivera and company killed it on draft weekend.

  • The review found Collingwood's response to racist incidents was "at best ineffective"
  • Collingwood has had the report since December, but has not released any details from it
  • It makes 18 recommendations, including a process of "truth-telling" and support for talent from diverse communities

While reference was made to claims of racism across the AFL more generally, Collingwood's history with racism was described as "distinct and egregious", with the club's leadership, "particularly its board", needing to drive structural change.

It described a culture of "individuals, if not quite being bigger than the Club, then at least having an unhealthy degree of influence over Club culture".

The ABC has obtained a copy of the report, which the Collingwood board received more than a month ago.

Only days later, Collingwood president Eddie McGuire announced he would be stepping down from the role at the end of 2021 and will "spend the rest of my time as president setting up a new era of Collingwood".

"I have much to do before I hand on the baton, together with my board and executive we are set to announce significant landmark initiatives in the area of equality, the fight against racism to ensure Collingwood is a safe and welcoming environment for all people, and more on that in due course," McGuire said at the time.

Can Héritier Lumumba's story change the AFL?

Héritier Lumumba's stand for equality forced a review of racism at Collingwood. Now the former AFL star embraces the strength of his African identity and culture.

The "Do Better" review was conducted by Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt, a director of the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research at UTS and colleague Professor Lindon Coombes.

Citing widespread evidence on the public record, and conversations with staff, players, ex-players and supporters, the review found Collingwood's response to racist incidents was "at best ineffective, or at worst exacerbated the impact of the racist incidents".

From those interviewed for the review, there emerged a sense that "dealing with racism was something that could be done when other things had been taken care of".

The review recommended an audit of the Board to ensure the "personal views" of its members were "consistent with the values of the Club".

  • There is a gap between what Collingwood Football Club says it stands for and what it does
  • The club is more likely to react to media coverage about a racist incident than complaints made within the club
  • Collingwood's response has often been perceived as one where claims of racism are dealt with in terms of damage control and protecting the brand
  • Those who have raised issues felt they paid a high price for speaking out
  • It diminishes the ability of the Club to resolve the dispute internally, and
  • It heightens the risk of public grievance and negative publicity that impacts the Club, its staff, its players and its supporters

The impetus for Collingwood's independent review was the well-documented story of former club player Heritier Lumumba but it was not an investigation into his, or others', allegations.

The review's authors stress at the outset, ''nothing in this review can be taken as exonerating the club from any alleged wrongdoing" in the Lumumba case.

The review holds the "clear position" that a "serious investigation" into his claims is deserved, and one in which he needs to take part.

Lacking clear and distinct policies addressing racism meant the club was not able to deal with allegations in the same way it would deal with other issues.

Sexual misconduct, drug-taking or poor behaviour in public are all penalised by the club but racism is not held to the same standards.

A process of "truth-telling" is recommended involving First Nations people, Africans and other people of colour, with consideration given to a justice model that could include reparations, compensation and a public apology.

There was a "genuine acknowledgment of past failures and a strong desire to do better" with some positive steps already taken including:

  • The appointment of a First Nations person to the board
  • The appointment of a new CEO committed to making change
  • The introduction of new policies that more directly target racism

However, the review warns bringing about a cultural shift is a challenge that must be accepted club-wide rather than falling on the shoulders of a small number of staff or Indigenous and diversity committees.

AFL took a knee for Black Lives Matter

If the return of the AFL season was supposed to be symbolic, it might be remembered instead for its symbolism, writes Richard Hinds.

When the Collingwood players took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement at the resumption of the AFL competition following a COVID-19 break in June 2020, it was a "simple, significant and sincere gesture".

However, according to the review, for "many in the community, including former players and fans, it was perceived as a hypocritical move when seen in the context of a history of racist incidents involving the Collingwood Football Club".

Without confronting its history in a genuine attempt to understand and make amends, the report says, such gestures remain only symbolic.

Some of the 18 recommendations are that the Collingwood Football Club:

  • Undertake a board audit to ensure its membership, through behaviour and beliefs, reflects its goals of diversity and individually embrace the values of the club, including the principles of anti-racism and inclusion
  • Implement a framework to ensure that there is accountability and consequences for acts of racism committed by members of the club community
  • Ensure the development and implementation of an employment strategy that values diversity and reports against KPIs. This includes the player group and the coaching staff
  • Develop a clear pipeline for the development of talent from diverse communities into the club, and which proactively supports First Nations and people of colour into post-playing positions — particularly coaching — within the club and the AFL
  • Develop a process of "truth-telling" as a constructive step to more deeply understand the experiences of First Nations people and people of colour, their history and culture and the impacts of racism
  • Develop a strategy to address and reconcile past acts of racism in a way that is proactive and seeks to reward, not punish, people who speak out against racism

Many of the points made will resonate beyond the Collingwood Football Club.

They are pertinent to challenges faced in sport and the community more generally but point to the role sport can play in setting standards and changing perceptions.

&lsquo12 Mighty Orphans&rsquo Review: Luke Wilson & Martin Sheen Score In Inspiring Depression-Era Texas Football Drama – Tribeca Fest

12 Mighty Orphans, a Spotlight Narrative entry at Tribeca Fest, is a film that looks and feels like it might have been made in the 1930s Depression era in which it is set. You half expect Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney to show up any minute, like in Boys Town. In the cynical exploitative social media-driven world we live in, this true story of a good and decent man and his ragtag football team of orphans is positively quaint and out of place, but somehow comforting in all it represents of an America long ago.

Although you might be tempted to label 12 Mighty Orphans an inspirational sports drama, the core of the film is really its characters, not the game at its center. Set in Fort Worth in 1938, it’s the true story of Rusty Russell (Luke Wilson in a role Gary Cooper could have played in his prime) a World War I vet who arrives at the Masonic Home to coach a group of orphaned boys and create a winning football team against all odds. Kindly and wise Doc Hall (Martin Sheen) is not only the area’s medical savior but also the assistant coach, and the pair make quite the team themselves as they whip this group of disparate players, each with a distinct personality, into something resembling a competitive team. There are only 12 players on the squad, so the dirty dozen must play both defense and offense.

This is really Rusty’s story. Director Ty Roberts, working from a screenplay by Lane Garrison and Kevin Meyers, does justice to Jim Dent’s book about a man battling his own unspoken past who finds his calling taking an unlikely group all the way to the State Championship. And it takes place in the heart of the Great Depression. The story is tailor made to tug your heart and get you to stand up and cheer, but Roberts doesn’t go the obvious route. He finds purpose in their story that resonates on a more subtle level. It’s not the obsessive Texas Friday Nights Light-driven football tale we have seen from this region, but a much simpler one told on a human level.

Watch on Deadline

Wilson, a Texan himself and often underrated as an actor, fits this role to perfection. He is matched by Sheen, who gets to show a feistier side than usual. Vinessa Shaw is warm as Juanita, Russell’s wife who also teaches at the school. The boys themselves are largely new to acting and give the proceedings a freshness.

Among the rest of the cast Treat Williams is a standout as Amon Carter, editor of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. Robert Duvall shows up very briefly in a welcome cameo providing a bonus for Apocalypse Now fans who recall that 1979 classic also starred Sheen. Only Wayne Knight, playing an over-the-top villain (Frank Wynn) who comes off like evil Miss Hannigan straight out of Annie is too much for the tone set by Roberts. But it’s not a fatal flaw.

Maybe if we all hadn’t just come through the kind of year we have survived this film would not have the inspirational healing power it does, but it comes at the perfect time, intended or not. Audiences who want to submit to it will be rewarded.

12 Mighty Orphans opens today in Texas – where it was shot – before going nationwide next Friday.

Producers are Brinton Bryan, Angelique De Luca, Michael De Luca, Houston Hill and Roberts. Sony Pictures Classics is the distributor. Check out my video review with scenes from the movie at the link above.

Do you plan to see 12 Mighty Orphans? Let us know what you think.

Review: LED Football 2 for iPhone

TouchGrove&rsquos original LED Football ( ) was a loving homage to Mattel Football&mdashthe classic handheld LED-equipped computer game that gamers of a certain age (those of us in our 30s) remember from our childhood in the 1970s. Priced at only $1 (and free this weekend in honor of the Super Bowl), it&rsquos silly not to get this, if you have any nostalgic bone in your body.

This isn&rsquot Madden or any other hifalutin 3-D American football game. Instead, touchGrove sought to recreate one of the earliest handheld computer games I can remember&mdashback when CHIPs and Charlie&rsquos Angels ruled the airwaves, when Garanimals and Toughskins were all the designer clothes that grade-school kids needed. Back then, long before the era of the Game Boy, handheld games used red, LED-based displays not unlike old calculators. They lacked pixilated graphics or any sort of 3-D capability, were hard-wired to play only one game and could only make rudimentary sounds. But for many of us, this was a formative experience.

If you played the original LED Football, you probably noticed a few glaring omissions from basic gameplay: There was no way to run backwards, behind the line of scrimmage, for example, and there was no passing game. It was all about running with the ball, punting or kicking it for a field goal. That stayed true to the handheld football game upon which the original LED Football was based. Similarly, LED Football 2 draws its inspiration from Mattel Football 2, Mattel Football&rsquos successor, which also sported a passing game and better quarterback movement.

Otherwise, the game&rsquos interface actually stays more consistent with touchGrove&rsquos original LED Football. (Those with sharp memories may remember that Mattel&rsquos Football 2 came in a different-colored case with differently-shaped buttons.)

touchGrove&rsquos attention to detail and desire to recreate that old-school handheld game experience is, without question, the big draw of this game&mdashplaying it, you can&rsquot help but feel like you&rsquore holding a plastic game in your hand, something powered by a 9-volt battery. If you click on the info link in the game, you&rsquoll get some basic instructions on a label that even looks like the worn underside of an old handheld game system. LED Football 2 is a love-letter to those games many of us older farts remember for our youth. The game even features what touchGrove calls &ldquoWear-Down&rdquo technology&mdashthe more you play, the more worn down the buttons will appear to get.

My only complaint is that LED Football 2 doesn&rsquot save games in between interruptions, so if you&rsquore unable to complete a game before you hit your home button, you&rsquoll have to start over from the beginning again.

Options consist of two toggle switches on the game&rsquos interface, an Easy and Hard setting and one or two player modes. (Players pass the iPhone back and forth in that mode.) If your volume is on, you&rsquoll hear some blips and beeps too.

That&rsquos it, but that&rsquos all we had back in my day, and dadgum it, we liked it that way!

LED Football 2 is compatible with any iPhone or iPod touch running the iPhone 2.x software update.

[Macworld Senior Editor Peter Cohen suspects that the original handheld football games had better battery life than his iPhone 3G.]

Leicester City Season Review 2020/21

Hitting the Ground Running

Leicester were in great form right from the off when the season began back in September. Starting with two wins in a row and seven goals scored meant they were the early forerunners in the Premier League.

An immediate exit from the League Cup at the hands of Arsenal did not put a dampener on Rodgers’ team’s form. They bounced back with one of their best results and performances in recent years – beating title-favourites Manchester City 5-2 in their own backyard.

Things were looking good for Leicester with Jamie Vardy once again defying his advancing years. The Foxes’ number nine had netted five goals in just three league games. Incredibly, four of those were penalties.

Foxes on the Continent

Leicester then fell to two consecutive home defeats before turning their attentions to the beginning of their Europa League adventure. They won their first three games in Group G, scoring nine and conceding just one.

By mid-November, Rodgers had also led his men to the top of the Premier League with six wins from eight.

They were flying now. Pundits and fans alike were raving about Wesley Fofana and his impact since arriving, which was hard to believe given the fact the central defender was still only due to turn 20 in December.

Fofana arrived from Saint-Étienne for around £31.5 million in the summer and was in Rodgers’ starting line-ups from October onwards.

Belgium international Timothy Castagne also arrived at the King Power Stadium. Signed from Atalanta, he would start 27 league games in his debut season, mainly as a right-wing-back. He also deputised on the left when needed, however, as Ben Chilwell had departed for Chelsea before the season began.

Youri Tielemans was a vital cog in the Leicester midfield machine and, along with talented playmakers like James Maddison and Harvey Barnes, really pushed the Foxes on, providing plenty of support for lone-wolf Vardy in attack.

Top of their Europa League group and flying high domestically, Leicester arrived at Anfield to face defending champions Liverpool on November 22nd. A heavy 3-0 defeat took the wind out of their sails. They went without a victory for four games in all competitions, losing three of those.

Bouncing Back Over the Hectic Winter Schedule

From early December until the end of January, Leicester lost just one fixture out of thirteen. They won nine matches during that spell and had cemented their place in the top four of the Premier League by that stage.

After 20 games, Leicester sat in third, five points behind leaders Manchester City and four ahead of West Ham United who were fifth. Having not been outside the top four all season, Rodgers and his team could be forgiven for dreaming of Champions League qualification at that stage. Those dreams would continue well into May.

Leicester had also begun their remarkable FA Cup journey, winning 4-0 at Stoke in the third round. Further victories over Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion in the following weeks would set up a quarter-final clash with Manchester United at the King Power Stadium in March.

Strength in the Leicester City Spine

Leicester had one of the strongest ‘spines’ throughout their first team in the past season. Experienced players such as goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, defenders Jonny Evans and Çağlar Söyüncü, midfielders Tielemans, Maddison, Nampalys Mendy, and Wilfred Ndidi, as well as veteran striker Vardy, were the foundations that allowed Rodgers to add young talent to the mix.

Exciting youngsters like Luke Thomas were introduced to a solid setup and 23-year-old Harvey Barnes continued to develop his game surrounded by Rodgers’ technically astute squad.

One of the only dark points to the Leicester season was the cruciate ligament injury suffered by right-back Ricardo Pereira in March 2020. It kept the Portugal international out until December, limiting him to just ten Premier League starts this season.

European Exit but Wembley Beckons

Leicester were stronger on the road for most of the season and their struggles at home caused their Europa League exit. They lost 2-0 to Slavia Praha at the King Power Stadium after earning a 0-0 draw in the Czech Republic in the first leg.

The Foxes were still third in the league at the start of March. A top-four finish was now a distinct possibility.

Back in February, striker Kelechi Iheanacho had also decided he wanted a share of the spotlight. The 24-year-old Nigerian would score 12 league goals in the final four months of the 2020/21 campaign.

Iheanacho also bagged a brace as Leicester dumped Manchester United out of the FA Cup in the quarter-finals, winning 3-1 on the day. Now, Rodgers’ side had a semi-final against Southampton to focus on.

Another Iheanacho goal would see The Saints off with a 1-0 scoreline as Leicester booked their place in the final. Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea would be their opponents.

Bittersweet Finish to the Season

In early May, with four league fixtures left to fulfil, Leicester were third in the table, two points above Chelsea and nine clear of seventh-placed Liverpool. The Merseyside club did have a game in hand, however.

On May 15th, Leicester took to the Wembley turf where they faced Chelsea in their quest to be the first players to lift the FA Cup in the club’s history. They did it. Thanks to a wonder-strike from Youri Tielemans in the second half, Rodgers’ men had won the cup.

There were emotional scenes as Leicester shared the success with the thousands of Foxes fans who were present on the day.

Club owner Aiyawatt ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha was also on the pitch, sharing heartfelt moments with Rodgers and his players in the aftermath of the success – no doubt dedicating it to the memory of his father, Vichai.

Unfortunately for Leicester, they would surrender their top-four status in the Premier League right at the end. Three defeats in their final four league games meant an in-form Liverpool side leapfrogged them to finish third with Chelsea grabbing fourth.

Speaking to BBC Sport following their last-day loss to Spurs, Rodgers said: “It’s hugely disappointing for us.

“We fought so hard all season. I always said you’re judged after 38 games, and unfortunately we couldn’t quite make it.

“I have nothing but pride and admiration for the players. They’ve constantly had things go against them with injuries. If you look at the importance of the players out today, we were able to take it down to the last game and the last 15 minutes.

“The ownership have given me amazing support. The players have given me their heart and souls every day. I’m so disappointed for them we couldn’t get over the line.”

Plenty to Look Forward To

The league campaign may not have ended as Leicester fans wanted but a second fifth-placed finish in a row, as well as FA Cup success, means the 2020/21 season had plenty for Foxes fans to cheer.

With one of the more settled squads in the English top-flight, Leicester can be optimistic about what the next season or two has in store for them. Rodgers and his players will have another year of invaluable experience behind them and may well be better prepared for a push at Champions League qualification in 2022.

There’s also the small matter of defending their FA Cup trophy and, once again, venturing across the continent in the Europa League.

Potentially more exciting times beckon for Leicester City in the very near future, that’s for sure.

Government announces expert panel for fan-led review of football

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has today announced the full membership of the panel which will join Chair Tracey Crouch MP as she commences the Government’s fan-led review of football.

In the aftermath of the failed European Super League bid, the Government announced its manifesto commitment to conduct the review and published its Terms of Reference last month.

The panel features fan representation at its heart and also includes former players and managers, current administrators, representatives of non-league and the women’s game as well as independent members. The Chair and panel will now begin a series of roundtable meetings that will reach out to fans and football organisations throughout the football pyramid, to hear their views on the future of the national game.

Representation will be from the whole football pyramid with Premier League, Championship, Women’s, League One and Two and Non-league, Community and Diversity based fan networks asked to participate.

The full panel is as follows:

  • Kevin Miles (Chief Executive, The Football Supporters’ Association)
  • Roy Hodgson (former Crystal Palace and England manager)
  • Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale (Chief Executive, Everton FC)
  • Clarke Carlisle (former Burnley player and former Chair of Professional Footballers Association)
  • Dan Jones (Partner, Football Finance)
  • Dawn Airey (Chair, FA Women’s Super League)
  • David Mahoney (Chief Operating Officer, England and Wales Cricket Board)
  • James Tedford (Former Secretary, Southport FC)
  • Godric Smith (Director, Cambridge United)
  • Danny Finkelstein, independent member

The Chair and panel will canvass fans’ views on ownership, governance and financial flows within the game. It will add to the recommendations of the English Football League’s Governance Review and the Government’s 2016 Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement.

In addition, they will assess if there is a need for an independent football regulator, charged with implementing regulation and compliance, and how that could work within the existing framework provided by the Football Association, Premier League and English Football League.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

This expert panel brings together a wealth of knowledge and experience from across the football family to shape the future of our national game.

Their job will be to listen to fans and ensure their views are at the heart of reforms on governance, finance and improving day to day experience of supporters. Football is nothing without fans, and today we deliver on our promise to put them in the driving seat.

Following Roy Hodgson’s appointment, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden added:

I am delighted that Roy Hodgson has joined our expert panel to help shape the future of football. Roy has a wealth of experience and knowledge of the game, and has managed teams at the highest level across Europe. I know fans will be eager to share their views with him as a highly respected figure in the game.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said:

This is a groundbreaking moment in football. We have been clear that this is a wide ranging review and we have given the Chair and panel a broad scope to consider ownership models, financial flows and independent regulation.

The review could herald a step change in our approach to football governance and I look forward to seeing the recommendations.”

Fan-led Review Chair, Tracey Crouch said:

I am thrilled to have such a strong team with a wealth of experience across the whole ecosystem of football to help support the fan-led review. The fans will be at the heart of the review panel’s work and I look forward to kicking off the formal meetings with fan groups and others next week.

The focal point of the review panel will be to engage with fan groups, to hear views on what they believe needs changing in football governance. The Chair will meet regularly with the panel and fan groups in order to move forward with its engagement and reform agenda and will feed into the final report expected in the Autumn.

Further plans around the initial fan engagement sessions will be set out in due course.

Panel biographies

Kevin Miles

Kevin Miles is the Chief Executive of the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA), having worked for the FSA and its predecessor organisations for over twenty years.

A match-going Newcastle United fan for more than half a century and a member of the Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust, Kevin has also led the Fans’ Embassy service at England away games since 1998.

A founder member and former chair of anti-racism education charity Show Racism the Red Card, Kevin is now an independent trustee of Kick It Out and the proud owner of two £1 shares in Blyth Spartans AFC.

Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson was most recently manager of Crystal Palace FC having retired from football, after an illustrious career, at the end of the 20/21 season. He has previously managed teams from across the world, including Inter Milan, Malmö and Liverpool, as well as leading the England men’s national team to three international tournaments.

Clarke Carlisle

Clarke Carlisle is an English former professional footballer who has played with many clubs including Queen’s Park Rangers and Leeds United. He is an ambassador for Kick It Out - football’s equality and inclusion organisation, and was chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association. He has provided football commentary and analysis for the BBC, ITV and Sky Sports amongst other broadcasters.

Dan Jones

Dan Jones leads Deloitte’s work in sport around the world. He manages activities of the group across all services. Dan advises high profile clients including clubs, leagues, governing bodies, governments, agencies, investors and commercial partners on issues including strategic, commercial, financial, regulatory, organisational and structural matters. He is a regular speaker and expert commentator on sports business and edits Deloitte’s Annual Review of Football Finance and the Football Money League.

Denise Barrett-Baxendale

Prof Denise Barrett-Baxendale, MBE, is a Director at Everton Football Club, Chief Executive Officer of Everton Football Club and Executive Chair of the Club’s official charity, Everton in the Community. Denise has served as a Board member to Sport England the only representative from the world of football appointed to the Board of the national body for grassroots sports.

Danny Finkelstein

Daniel Finkelstein writes a weekly political column for The Times. Before joining the paper in 2001, he was adviser to both the Prime Minister John Major and the Conservative leader William Hague. Daniel was appointed to the House of Lords in 2013. He has been a match attending football fan for 50 years and for almost two decades wrote a column on football for The Times.

David Mahoney

David is currently Chief Operating Officer at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Prior to this, he oversaw the strategy, insights, HR, integrity and public policy teams as ECB’s Chief Strategy Officer.

Before joining ECB, David held a number of senior roles at Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, including director of policy and chief advisor to its CEO.

Godric Smith

Godric Smith is a board member at Cambridge United FC and a founding member of Cambridge Fans United, started his career in mental health campaigning in1980s before spending 15 years in government communications, including 10 years in Downing Street.

James Tedford

James Tedford was the former Secretary at Southport FC. He has an extensive knowledge of the football landscape and held a senior management position at Scottish Women’s Champions, Glasgow City FC where he led on match organisation for the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

Dawn Airey

Dawn Airey is currently Chair of the FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s championship and is a non-executive member of the boards of Getty Images, Grosvenor Estates and Blackbird, having formerly led Channel 5. She is also chair of the National Youth Theatre and the Digital Theatre.

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