Steve Walsh Blog – 30th March 2013

I’ve made the mistake of writing my blog this week immediately after the game against Millwall and to say I am disappointed is a massive understatement. If I had a cat at home I would have chased it all round the garden trying to give my left foot some frustrated exercise!

Even though we played well, and at times Millwall looked ready for the taking, it was a massive setback to lose Wes Morgan so soon in the game. The only two positives after that were playing with plenty of effort with 10 men for 87 minutes and still making chances to score. However, in the cold light of day when I look at the league table it is still a big disappointment. We are looking like a team determined to avoid the pressures of play-off games and Nigel Pearson will be having nightmares about where the next win is coming from.

Readers of my blog over the last few weeks will know that it is still all in our hands. The fixture list throws up a run in that means we have to turn round our season very, very quickly and there will be no excuses to offer if it doesn’t happen. After such a positive first half and beyond of this season, being in a position of not making the play-offs at least is simply unthinkable. The players have the biggest part to play, and whichever 11 step out onto the pitch they have to earn the right (and their wages!) to be hero worshipped by the best set of fans in this league. I can tell them from long experience that you don’t get many chances to play at Wembley in your career and letting that opportunity slip is simply not an option. Every bit of blood, sweat and tears are a must in these last few games and if they do that, they will have earned the right to wear the shirt with pride. No player should be left thinking “if only” I had done a bit more, tackled a bit harder or left a bit of effort in the dressing room and not on the pitch in the next game up at Barnsley. This will not be an easy game, but it’s not meant to be in this league and there is no doubt that our 11 players will be better man for man than our opponents so we need to make sure we really want a result!

Now I’ve got that off my chest a quick thanks to all involved with our Future Foxes academy week and after clearing all the snow, a great week followed. The feedback was fantastic and if anyone wants to come to our Easter camp at Lutterworth, please get in touch.

Finally, the Calzaghe night is also nearly here, so don’t miss an opportunity to come and listen to Britain’s only undefeated world champion! A few tickets are left, so don’t regret missing another fantastic KKong Events night.

Steve Walsh Blog – 23rd March 2013

Leicester City Football Club, best goal difference in the league. And at this rate we are going to need it to get ourselves into the play-offs. Our last match against Derby didn’t go quite to plan, despite Schlupp’s brilliant goal. I have said all along that I believe we can get promoted this season, and I stand by what I said even though when I look at the fixture list we have got ourselves into a fairly serious situation. We have to focus on the positives, one of those being we must have the best set of fans in the league!

I am confident that after our two week break we can come back in fighting form and make the most of the last few games of the season. In fact the next two against Millwall and Barnsley really are “must win” games because after that 5 of the 6 games are against teams’ right in the mix with us in the play-off positions. Can you believe that Watford, Palace, Forest, Brighton and Bolton all come at the tough business end of the season. It does mean that our future is entirely in our own hands and I won’t even think about not getting a play-off place. In fact, I am so sure I have now booked a 52 seater bus with Steve Akiens Travel in readiness for the play-offs. Get ready for booking with me!

Nigel Pearson must be pretty frustrated at the moment and the pressure he’s under must be getting really heavy. All the bad press won’t help the situation either. But, I’m a believer that he is a good manager I’m sure that he will be doing everything in his power to regain the good form shown by LCFC earlier on in the season. I’m certain that Nigel is the man for job.

There have been a lot of people asking me the same question recently, “What’s going wrong?” And I think the answer is simple. We have a squad full of technically great players but a lot of them need to learn how to dig deep and throw themselves into the game, there’s no nastiness and we should show more drive. I would say that Lloyd Dyer is an exception to this generalisation and his presence on the pitch against Derby was phenomenal.

The two weeks off for the squad since the Derby game gives them a good chance to re-group before the tough run ahead of us. And I’ve got to mention again LCFC’s last fixture of the season, Forest away. It’s going to be one of those “edge of your seat” types of games and there is no doubt that we will need to get a result there before getting across the line.

I wish the best of luck to everyone at LCFC, we are going to need it. And more importantly we are going to need some serious support from all the fans!

Finally, please keep watching my tweets about the KKong Events coming up, it won’t be long until our Calzaghe night and the memorabilia on offer is simply amazing!

Steve Walsh Blog – 16th March 2013

Today is one of those days that you wake up with a bit more of a buzz than usual and then it slowly dawns on you why – a game against Derby County!

All the traumas of the week are beginning to wear off. The disappointment of a defeat last Saturday and the heartache of a late, late equaliser conceded in mid-week against Cardiff and now behind us and we have got to now just look ahead and find plenty of positives about the nine league games we have left this season.

I said in my last blog that Dave Jones has turned his Sheffield Wednesday team into a unit very difficult to beat and so it proved. The Foxes still have a good chance of an automatic place, but it won’t get given to us on a plate and we need to start and roll our sleeves up for a scrap. We are by far the best technical team in the league but sometimes it’s not enough. Nigel Pearson and his team put the result and last weekend’s press talk rubbish behind them and were within seconds of a fantastic win at Cardiff in mid-week. This shows that we have got what it takes and the players have got to show that self-belief in every game from now until a fantastic last game against Forest on the 4th May!

Today’s game against Derby will be a great way to start a run of wins and as you know I love the playoffs for so many reasons, but it really is back to the old cliché’ of taking each game as it comes, and what better than a live game on Sky to get this kicked off. Anthony Knockaert is missing the game for personal reasons but Konchesky and De Laetare back available and we are taking a strong unit up to Pride Park. We need to keep Derby’s Jamie Ward quiet and not give him space in the boxwhere he seems to arrive just at the right time with that small frame of his!

I’m also a bit surprised to see that we don’t have any home 3pm Saturday fixtures left as the final one against Watford has been brought forward to Friday night. I’ve had a good look at the fixtures left and I see good results all over the place for us leading up to that last game against Forest. I predict that we will still be in with a shout of automatic promotion right up to then, and starting today with three points will set it up nicely.

If it has to be a trip to Wembley, I’m sure a WalshyBus will be there if we do it. We need to get behind our players and our club for the final games and I wish them all the best of luck.

Steve Walsh Blog – 9th March 2013

This week has been one of ups and downs all the way on both my business fronts and of course on the City football front.

One of the most difficult things that a pro footballer can do is adjust to a life outside it and even though it is well over 10 years since the boots were well and truly hung up, there are weeks when it all becomes a bit of a blur and you wish you still had the youth to put back on that famous and beloved no 5 blue shirt! This week has been just one of those weeks…

I am working on three very different non-football career paths, and each is bringing with it the headaches, stresses and the rewards of success. There is no doubt however that life after football is just the same as that in it. Success comes only as a result of very hard work and if you do that, the chances of success increase. I am working with Muzzy Izzett in Future Foxes to develop the stars of the future through our very successful soccer academy and our Easter courses are now very nearly on us. Add to that my involvement with KKong Events where we have now started organisation of the Joe Calzaghe and Alexander O’Neal nights, and a new Chinese Restaurant venture in Countesthorpe and you can see why the sleepless nights are with me! Details for all these events are kept fully up to date on my Twitter account, so have a look and support me with them if you can.

Back to the football, and being a Leicester City fan has always been one hell of roller coaster ride, especially this season. So far we have seen some real ups and downs and Saturday’s match saw us lose more ground in the league table. Hull City seems to be smashing their way up the league and our rivals at Nottingham Forest seem to have crept up behind us. Forest certainly can’t be ruled out for promotion now they have got “their Billy back” and they might just make it into the play-offs with his record. Earlier on in the season I wouldn’t have seen them as a threat but they have proved me wrong! If LCFC can make up some ground, a play-off match against Forest would certainly be one to watch.

Matches are coming and going very quickly as the business of the end of the season takes its shape. The defeat at Ipswich followed by two dropped points against Leeds at home on Tuesday saw us lose a bit of ground again, but the play off’s are a gamble and automatic has still got be our main ambition. I was there on the night with my old mate Matt Elliott and we both felt massive relief when the late equaliser went in to silence the amazingly noisy Leeds fans.

If it is a play off spot,  I hope the lads are getting in some penalty practise at training as I couldn’t stand to see another Kermorgant antic! And whilst we did recently see Wood miss a penalty at Blackpool, Kasper Schmeichel, our penalty king could prove to be a saviour.

As I write this blog, I see that the press are saying that a defeat against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday will be Nigel Pearson’s last as he will get the dreaded sack. To me, this talk is complete rubbish, and I have always believed that the one thing a club must do is be supporting the manager over a long period to bring success from this sort of consistency. If you look at our visitors on Saturday, the Wednesday fans were calling for Dave Jones’s head for weeks following a bad run of 7 or 8 defeats, but Milan stuck with him and he has turned them round into an outfit that are very difficult to beat and now clawing their way out of the bottom 3.

I know there’s some serious money in promotion this year and with the Thai owners buying the stadium last week we are in a very healthy state of affairs, but I’m sure that the owners will not want to disrupt the season as it approaches the business end and make an unnecessary change. Nigel Pearson is the man for the job, end of!!

Steve Walsh Blog – 2nd March 2013

Its been a very mixed week for me on football and personal fronts. It started poorly last Saturday when we could only manage a draw at Blackpool. It was an opportunity to get some well needed points and make up ground in the league, but it wasn’t to be and we settled for a draw.

Blackpool was where I signed my first non-contract as a 15 year old when 1966 world cup winner Alan Ball was in charge. Being in Blackpool bought back loads of memories for me and I couldn’t help but remember a cracking goal I scored as a 12 year old at Bloomfield Road. Happy days!

The game reminded me how well we must have progressed this season. Blackpool are a top side and I really did think we were going to return from Bloomfield Road with all three points. Chris Wood’s missed penalty proved to be a costly mistake but I think our new signing, Harry Kane, will give us a boost in the goal department. Harry is a player who is very well thought about in the game and several teams would have killed for his signature! We did have a pretty decent start at Blackpool as Pearson went with a 4:3:3 attacking line-up. We had dominance, we were aggressive and we attacked but it just wasn’t enough. We do have to thank Schmeichel for some important saves! A good run of results is now what we need and I still believe that we are more than capable. We just need to get those results so we can stop looking over our shoulders at all those teams fighting and scrambling to get into the play-off positions.

Despite all this I still enjoyed my trip up north at the weekend. It was great to go and see my family and I owe a big thank you to City as they provided two directors’ box tickets for me and my dad. He loved it, and wore his suit with the LCFC tie I gave him after winning the Coca-Cola Cup. We also got to meet Jimmy Armfield and had the opportunity to speak to one of the all time greats about players of his day like Tom Finney and Stanley Matthews.

Tuesdays match saw us get back in the mix, and in style! It was a statement to all the doubters as Blackburn Rovers got brushed aside in a very convincing fashion. Leicester totally dominated the game from start to finish.

For me, it was one of the best first half performances of the season as City showed a hunger to make amends for the last few games. There were flashes of brilliance from Marshall, Wood and Kane and we saw a world class save from Schmeichel. Blackburn’s only effort for a goal was denied, a save that Gordon Banks would have been proud of! After that, it was always going to be Leicester’s night and they deserved it! We saw a superb cross from Marshall and a header from Wood, the King Power stadium then came to life. From then on, we hit cruise control and it was just a matter of time before we scored again just before half-time. We got ourselves three much needed points and a great confidence boost!

Last Friday, I visited Loros on the Groby Road in Leicester to see Dave Hurst, a big Leicester City fan who was very ill. I went in to try and cheer him up a bit but I heard some terrible news after the match on Tuesday that he only had a few hours left to live. Situation’s like that really put life into perspective! All my thoughts are with his family and friends, and I hope that we can dedicate Leicester’s win on Tuesday to him!

Loros is a fantasic  local charity who do an amazing job in the hospice movement locally and they really deserve to get masses of help and support from the community. The people working there are simply wonderful and make all the difference for the one’s who need their help and every one of them deserves a medal for what they do. Just a quick tour of their website should prompt everyone to think if they can help in any way – http://www.loros.com/

Back to the football and what a week we have coming up. We should get a result at Ipswich away and then it is quickly followed by the visits of Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday to our newly purchased home at the King Power Stadium – can’t wait!!