After a disappointing and somewhat farcical end to the transfer window, Leicester City put in one of their best performances of the season with a 5-0 victory against Stoke City. After the discontent over the Swansea performance and the failed Stefano Sensi transfer, the Foxes sent out a statement both to their challengers as well as disgruntled fans. As such, this is the perfect time to remind LCFC fans about the realities of the situation.
Get it forward
Away from home, it is evident how much more fluid and entertaining the Foxes are, partly due to the greater amount of space afforded to them. Without the debilitating groans of 'get it forward', this shouldn't come as a surprise. Equally, the atmosphere away from home has been much more supportive of the team, and much louder on that part. Most Leicester away ends have been excellent as the twelfth man, spurring the team forward and outsinging the home fans. Against Stoke, the away section was excellent, making sure Enzo knew how much most fans appreciated him and the team.
With the freedom away from home, it seems easier for the tenets Maresca-ball to be demonstrated. Playing out the back to create space through press-baiting. This stands in stark contrast to home games where patterns of play are often disrupted due to the agitation from the crowd. It is unrealistic to expect teams to perform at full-throttle for 90 minutes, which makes maintaining control all-important. Controlling possession is both the means to defence as well as creating space by dragging teams out of shape. Moaning at the team to get the ball forward is not only irritating for fans, but also filters through to the players, who are more likely to make a poor decision and lose possession, leading to more discontent.
Is this a library
This segues onto another issue, of atmosphere. The atmosphere at the King Power is usually flat apart from the singing section and L1, negatively impacting the matchday experience. Most fans will remember the Champions League nights and the cauldron-like atmosphere Foxes fans generated. Those days seem like a lifetime ago, and one wonders why this can't be recreated. One explanation is a sense of entitlement. Given Leicester City's success, there is an expectation to win every game in the Championship. As such, it is hard to 'get excited' for fixtures against the likes of Swansea and Millwall. With the success of the club, the number of fair-weather fans has also increased exponentially.
Many of these fans often leave matches early. This begs the question, why should fans be allowed to be ultra-critical of players' efforts when they remain silent for 80 minutes, and then leave early to beat the traffic? This stinks of hypocrisy.
There are some cases where leaving early is necessary, some people have to travel from far away. Nevertheless, the majority of early leavers are leaving for the sake of convenience every single game. In games where the scoreline is on a knife-edge, this is particularly frustrating. In theory, fans have a right to do what they like, they pay their money. However, people who consistently leave early should rethink what it means to support a football club. Contributing to making noise in some form is one way to show support, the other main way is to be present.
What sort of a message does a half-empty stadium send to the players? It is no wonder that Enzo Maresca has voiced his frustrations on multiple occasions. Those who tell others to be quiet or criticise changes such as the singing section are equally guilty of perpetuating this situation. Leicester City may be doing well on the pitch, but in the stands major attitude reforms are clearly required.