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.

Leicester City FC: Five years on from winning the league, are the Foxes improving?

By Thomas Carter

This season marks five years since Leicester City’s historic Premier League title win, but with the team observing an inconsistent start to the 2021/22 campaign, their progress is being questioned.

Currently, the Foxes sit at 11th place in the league table, achieving 14 points from their opening ten games.

With that said, the most effective way to evaluate the team’s performances is to look at four key aspects of their game: shooting accuracy, pass accuracy, clean sheets, and a comparison of goals scored and conceded.

Goals (scored v conceded)

In the title-winning season (2015/16), Leicester scored 68 goals, conceding 36, and after a few years of more turbulent scoring records, the team seem to have returned to their high-scoring ways.

Last season, the team scored the same amount as they did in the year they won the league, showing an improvement in attack. However, the more alarming statistic is that they conceded 50 goals, ultimately finishing the campaign in fifth place.

(Credit: Thomas Carter, Canva)

Shooting accuracy (%)

When it comes to shooting, Leicester’s accuracy is one of the more positive statistics of their game, having shown relative consistency in the last six seasons. Last season, the Foxes had an accuracy of 38 per cent, which is an improvement on their title-winning year (34 per cent).

(Credit: Thomas Carter, Canva)

Passing accuracy (%)

Similarly to shooting accuracy, the team has seen steady progress in the last six seasons. Though a slight decrease on the 2019/20 campaign, the Foxes’ most recent season produced a passing accuracy of 82 per cent – a major improvement on five years ago.

(Credit: Thomas Carter, Canva)

Clean sheets

Just as the number of goals conceded has risen, Leicester have struggled to keep clean sheets in recent seasons. The two seasons following their title success were especially difficult, going from keeping 15 clean sheets in 2015/16 to nine. Last year saw some improvement, as the team look to regain some consistency in defensive performances.

(Credit: Thomas Carter, Canva)

Luke Pawley, freelance sports writer and lifelong Foxes fan, said: “It’s been a poor start to the season for Leicester given the standards we’ve come to expect over recent years.

“The squad has definitely moved forward since the title win, despite our struggles so far this season.

“We’ve made it difficult for ourselves, but I believe this squad is more than capable of reaching the top five again and getting out of our Europa League group.”

For more stats on Leicester’s season, visit https://www.premierleague.com/clubs/26/Leicester-City/stats?se=274

VIDEO: DMU student reflects on Wembley trip for FA Cup final

By Oliver Taylor

De Montfort University student Luke Pawley was one of the 6,250 Leicester City fans at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, May 15.

Luke was selected as one of two lucky journalism students to attend the FA Cup final.

With tears in his eyes, Luke watched as the club he has supported for his entire life lifted the trophy for the first time in its history.

Luke said: “I got a message about it first and I thought someone was winding me up! I then got a call and had it confirmed.

“I was there working for DMU as well so I knew I had a job to do there, but the overriding feeling was just pure, personal excitement.”

Football pair’s Road2Pro social media brand takes off

By Joshua Solomon

Two grassroots footballers are taking their future careers into their own hands by starting their own social media pages.

Antonio Dembele and Aaron Ceasar have created a social media brand called Road2Pro – a day by day capture of their lives which shows their intense 1-2-1 training sessions, match highlights and fitness programmes.    

Antonio and Aaron have both played for an array of teams such as Sutton United, Leatherhead and Melwood FC and have now decided to add the media aspect as a way of getting attention. 

Already they have gained traction on Instagram with more than 600 followers and millions of viewers.

Antonio said: “The chances of being seen by a scout by playing just Sunday league football is very low, so we thought what would be a way of getting a light shone in our direction.

“That’s how this started really. I have a level 3 media qualification so I know I could make good video content.”

The pair started their Instagram page at the turn of the year during lockdown. 

The Instagram page has gauged a lot of attention due to the quality and transparent nature of the videos. Major sport platforms such as 433, who have more than 30 million followers, grassroots goals, tekkers and ESPN have all reposted videos. 

Following the success of the videos and updates, the pair have worked with one of the best trainers in the game, Sammy Moore, who is a youth academy owner, to fine tune their skills. 

Also, they have received plaudits from professional women’s player Ella Bryan who plays for West Bromwich Albion and various coaches from around the world such as German coach Tobias Esche. 

To find out more, visit their pages at:

Instagram: road2pro._

Twitter: road2_pro

TikTok: road2pro

Opinion: Does European Super League spell the end of football as we know it?

By Thomas Carter

It was the announcement that took the footballing world by storm. The proposed formation of a European Super League, in which 12 of the continent’s powerhouse clubs (including six English teams) compete in a division of their own. Somewhat inevitably, the reaction to the news has been one of uproar and resistance.

Members of football communities took straight to social media to voice their discontent, with the new league coming under fire from pundits, managers and players alike.

Among the larger concerns is the idea that the formation of a Super League would create further separation in a climate already riddled with financial division, in what would be the most seismic shift football has observed since the creation of the Premier League in 1992.

As of today, the 12 clubs that would make up this new division include: Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.

They are known as the ‘Founding Clubs’, with a further three teams expected to join the list in the coming days.

While the resistance from the fans has been evident, there is no denying the Super League’s financial backing, with American giants JP Morgan investing $6bn into the project.

As more details are revealed and the fury within the football sphere intensifies, a glaringly-obvious issue is getting lost in the adversity – this was inevitable.

Football is no longer the game of the people, and hasn’t been for years. Instead, it is controlled by a select few at the top of the financial chain. With that in mind, it has surely just been a matter of time before something of this nature took shape.

In England, the Premier League has long been known as the ‘top six teams and the rest’, as though either ends of the table are different divisions. This has been observed across Europe for decades, with powerhouse clubs dominating their respective leagues. Taking this into account, the formation of European Super League, in which these clubs only play those of the same quality, is hardly an unrealistic step within a game driven by revenue.

Another issue, however, comes with the new league’s proposed format, which would see no promotion or relegation – this is not football.

The very core of the sport is reliant on opportunity and progression, with teams battling it out to climb higher than they are, regardless of their stature. If a select few clubs play in their own exclusive league, one they are only in on a matter of wealth, then the soul of the game has been sold.

Ultimately, the formation of a European Super League, while a natural progression in a climate that facilitates greed and profit, would be a sad moment in the history of football.

Through further economic division and the very desire to progress being removed for almost all teams, this new division would certainly see the beautiful game enter its darkest hour.