Historical hatred added extra Polish fervour to Foxes’ win over Legia in Leicester

Many Poles living in Leicester and Leicestershire turned out at the King Power Stadium to support Leicester City in Thursday’s game against Legia Warszawa, just because they have a fierce dislike of Legia. Maciej Wojcik finds out why.

It is not surprising that Leicester City has Polish people among its fans. For real fans of the game, it is just impossible to live without attending matches, so at some point after moving to a new country, some will change the club they support as well.

But last Thursday, in the King Power Stadium stands, Polish could be heard much more often than usual, even without counting the away support sector. There are historic reasons that some people came to watch the game perhaps a bit more as ‘anti-Legia’ rather than as fans of the home side, cheering on the Foxes.

Eryk, 23, a food production operative, said: ”My favourite team is Pogon Szczecin. I will attend LCFC against Legia hoping as much as possible to see Legia lose the game. To say I don’t like them is to make an understatement.”

Warehouse operative Mateusz, 33, shed a bit more light on the reasoning: „Lech Poznan are always in my heart! You want to know why we hate Legia? First, see YT clip titled ‘Legia Kurczak’, where a toddler is holding Lech’s scarf and chanting: ‘This is how we were brought up to hate this team, and without cause, and for no reason we sing to the whole world today: Legia the chicken, Legia chicken, Legia Warsaw is an old chicken!’ Originally there should be another word instead of ‘chicken’, but, you know, it’s the kids’ version. This is a very, very old tradition to hate Legia, every Lech fan follows that. Why? Perhaps because they are from the capital city. Maybe because of their fans, who are known for very ugly behaviour. Of course I will be there!”

Lorry driver Pawel, 45, said: “Me and my two friends support Wisla Plock. Everybody knows that Legia was stealing young talented players from other clubs. People remember that and that is the main reason to hate that team. We will support LCFC!”

Marek, 48, a delivery driver) added: “My club is GKS Katowice. I am mad enough to order my club flag with the statement ‘LEICESTERSHIRE’ on it for one purpose: to display it in front of Legia fans. I hope that will make them upset, because we hate each other. One of the most famous GKS players was Jerzy Wijas, who played for the Polish national team as well. He was brave enough to refuse to play for Legia. They used their connections in PZPN [Polish Football Union] to make it unable for him to play at central level. For a couple of years he had to play for very local teams because his licence applications were rejected one after another. There are more stories like that one. Nothing is strange that we hate Legia!”

However, not only ‘anti-Legia’ Polish spectators were present inbetween the Leicester City fans. Lukasz, a 40-year-old self-employed welder, said: „For me it is just a family day out. I am not about being a fan who attends every match of the team he has chosen. We are just hoping that we are gonna see good football in a good atmosphere created by fans. And yes, we will support LCFC, because we are living here.”

The claim Legia Warszawa’s fans are also known for ugly behavior was shown during their stay in Leicester. Graffiti with „CWKS” (an abbreviation from „Centralny Wojskowy Klub Sportowy” [Central Military Sports Club]) or a capitalised “L” letter within a crowned circle, the Legia fans’ logo, remains on their route to the stadium and back.

Graffiti on the wall next to the Royal Infirmary Hospital in Leicester. RKS is probably from RKS Radomiak Radom – a club whose fans are friendly with Legia fans

Leicester City fans were disgusted with some Legia fans’ behaviour, such as setting off flares and clashes with police, with 12 officers injured and seven Legia fans arrested, as reported by the Leicester Mercury.

Legia fans set off flares in the King Power Stadium – YouTube

But what of the claims about „stealing young talented players”? Back in the 1970s and 80s, when Poland was under communist rule, Legia Warszawa belonged to the People’s Army of Poland, and it was mandatory for every man to serve at least two years in the army. It was possible, however, to have playing for Legia Warszawa counted as service for the army. This created an unfair advantage for Legia Warszawa, because other clubs had to train players or pay for them, but Legia did not. This is very common knowledge among Polish football fans, and is confirmed not only in leading press titles about sport, but is mentioned on the official Legia website as well. Whoever refused, got into trouble, as Jerzy Wijas found out. The story about him also has media coverage.

Will ‘anti-Legia’ fans who watched Thursday’s match be converted into proper Leicester City supporters? After they saw the Foxes’ 3-1 victory over Legia, there is a chance of that. Time will tell.

Brendan Rodgers at Leicester City: should he stay or should he go?

Brendan Rodgers. Creative Commons image from http://www.soccer.ru

The sack race is in full swing in English football, and with only four wins in 12 Premier League games, Brendan Rodgers’ tenure at the King Power Stadium is starting to look a little shaky – just as he is being touted as a potential new manager at Manchester United. Despite guiding Leicester City to the first FA Cup triumph in the club’s history, a succession of listless, almost lifeless performances by a team with one of the leakiest defences in the league have left the fans divided. Season ticket holder Alice Wright weighs up the pros and cons of a managerial shake-up on Filbert Way.

It’s not the best time to be a Leicester City fan.

The last time Brendan Rodgers’ men won in the league game was a narrow victory over Brentford towards the end of October. But it’s the manner of the performances that has really vexed the fans. The team has been sucking the life out of us. A game starts and we’re all excited, hoping this time it will be different … and then we leave feeling drained after another passionless shift.

With their Europa League form not being much better, it’s fair to say many fans aren’t holding up much hope for the home game against Legia Warsaw tomorrow evening. So it is it time for a change?

Yes: Brendan out

Rodgers has often mentioned his preferred system of a defensive back four but for some reason decided to play three against Chelsea, which quite obviously did not pay off. That devastating 3-0 defeat could easily have been much worse. His tactics for the game were all wrong, not just for this game but for many of the previous ones too. I sit next to my dad at every home game and I told him he’d be better off pitchside at the minute.

Just to put it into perspective of how badly the game went, Chelsea had more goals disallowed than Leicester had shots on target. Embarrassing.

Leicester’s set-piece problems grew worse on Saturday after Antonio Rüdiger headed one in from a corner, taking their tally up to eight conceded from dead balls, the worst in the league. It makes you wonder what they focus on in training, as there has been no improvement.

Rodgers didn’t do himself any favours with his post-match comments after the Chelsea game when he said City were a team that had “totally overachieved” in the last couple of years.

This remark has caused a lot of controversy among the City fans, and I can see why. I’m sure it wasn’t long ago that Rodgers came out and said Leicester were challenging for the top four, so to hear that now we’re overachieving, well, it simply seems he is just creating excuses.

No: Brendan in

Well, I think the most obvious reason to keep him must be he won us the FA Cup and Community Shield. Not to mention the two consecutive top-five finishes. I might not have been at the FA Cup game but watching it with my dad on TV as Youri Tieleman’s absolute screamer went in at the 63rd minute and we jumped around the living room hugging is a moment I’ll never forget. It was certainly added to some of my favourite memories, and for that I can’t thank Brendan enough.

I think sometimes managers are scapegoats and it’s not always their fault, it’s easy to just blame the manager because they will just come and go and there will be a time where Rodgers moves on, but it doesn’t mean it has to be now.

I think the mentality of missing out on Champions League football for two years in a row has affected the players and that could be why they aren’t playing so well – or maybe they are doing it on purpose to get the manager out.

It also can’t have been easy for the players’ mentality with the speculation of Rodgers to United leaving a question mark above his head. Hopefully, now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been sacked and Mauricio Pochettino is favourite for the job the players will no longer have this uncertainty in their heads, and I guess time will tell if this is the reason for their poor performances.

All in all, time will tell, and maybe soon: tomorrow’s home game against Legia Warsaw – who are currently in their worst slump in living memory – is followed by the potentially the make-or-break game on Sunday against Claudio Ranieri’s Watford.

So: should he stay, or should he go? We’ll see.

DMU Lions win season opener

By Rian Fearnehough

Thanks to a particularly strong performance the De Montfort University Lions American football team started the campaign with a win as they took down the opposition of Staffordshire Stallions 50-6.

The display was impressive after all the problems created by COVID, injuries before the game and the numerous new faces in the team. Despite this the team put out a strong performance proving they are going to challenge any team this season.

Coach Stuart Franklin said:”there were positive steps taken by the whole team today”

Despite the strong team performance the defence stood out as they completely dominated the Stallions not allowing their offence to put their stamp on the game.

MVP for the game Jordan Raheem had a particularly dominant performance as he stopped the offensive line of the Stallions having an impact on the game helping the Lions control the game.

Josh Seybert showing his passion for the game in celebration

International scholarship student Josh Seybert was a constant leader for the Lions during the game. Josh played a huge role in the success the Lions had in all three stages of play, offence defence and special teams, this helped the team perform at the level it did and helped make the game that much easier. 

Coach Franklin said: “it’s a great result but the team still has areas to improve and can become even stronger as the season progresses.”

This gives the Lions a good foundation and helps the coaches understand what can be improved before the next game against the Huddersfield Hawks have had a troubled start to the season with a loss and were unable to field a team for the second game. You can join the pride once again at Beaumont park on Sunday 5th of December.

The DMU Lions would like to thank everyone who came out to be part of the pride as this really helped spur the team on to victory, If this was your first taste of the sport we hope you enjoyed it and we hope to see you more throughout the rest of the season.

Art borne out of lockdown goes on display

By Alfie Linville-Sibley

An exhibition showcasing multiple artists’ works over the national lockdown has opened its doors to the Leicester public today.

The Creative Lockdown exhibition at The Chapel Gallery in Town Hall Square is showing curated works of local artists that were created over the national lockdowns.

Luke Sibley, maker of OFF THE PRECIPICE AND RUN AWAY, a vast sculptural project consisting of one figure per 1,000 UK deaths due to COVID-19, said: “My intention was to mark the passing of our fellow British people, with faceless figures to hit at the randomness of the disease.”

Luke with OFF THE PRECIPICE AND RUN AWAY

Using galvanized steel wire and upcycled bike components to create the figures, which are unknown and blank, he said the onlooker can project what they want onto them.

With each figure taking three to five hours to complete, Mr Sibley worked in the evenings, projecting his current state of mind onto each figure, as he navigated the lockdown, some depicting major personal or world events.

Figure with his dog

Consisting of a large centrepiece and many individual figures, some seem to be vignettes, people distributing the vaccine, fighting the behemoth representing the virus, a man with his dog looking on in shock.

Sibley Art
OFF THE PRECIPICE AND RUN AWAY

He added: “It grew due to the number of men, organically becoming what we see today, 128 figures.”

Elaborating on this natural growth, Luke said his art was “spinning out of control as our normal life was put on hold … it incorporates my feelings and significant events along that journey.”

Held inside a 19th century Methodist church, the works of art surround the pews and are displayed disparately, with artists’ pieces displayed separately from each other, held together by their creation during the lockdowns.

Creative Lockdown, hosted at the Chapel Street Gallery, is open to the public from today until November 22, from 10am – 4pm weekdays.

The Virus

‘It was busier under Covid lockdown’ says Leicester Market trader

By Holly Dobson

A Leicester Market stall-holder has said that trade was a lot busier when stricter Covid-19 restrictions were in place.

Stephen Powley, a 57-year-old fruit and vegetable market trader, said: “Since it all went back to normal, we’re not so busy no more.”

Stephen Powley, 57, at his stall in the Leicester Market (Pic: Holly Dobson)

“When the covid was on, we were a lot busier. There were less stalls and rent was cheaper. Now it’s just gone dead,” he said

However, Mr Powley added that as Leicester city centre prepares itself for the winter months as the holiday period approaches: “I think it will perk up a little more.”

Another Leicester market trader has also spoken of how the pandemic affected his business.

Jason Lepreux, a fruit and vegetable stall-holder, said that the pandemic: “Massively affected business, at best 50 per cent or around 50 per cent of what we were. It’s a combination of everything.”

He added: “Everyone shops online these days.”

Jason Lepreux, 48, at his stall in the Leicester Market. (Pic: Holly Dobson)

In a report by Waitrose, 77 per cent of people now do some of their grocery shopping online, compared to 61 per cent before the pandemic hit. Two thirds of the respondents said they have used online shopping services because they preferred to not go to a supermarket.