Sven leads Leicester Foxes into promotion hunt

When your team is sitting bottom of the table, with only one win from nine games, the words “Thai consortium” invariably do little to lift the mood. Especially when the man linked with the manager’s job, Sven-Goran Eriksson, had been part of a takeover that came close to destroying an English club. For Leicester City fans, however, with the new owners has come renewed optimism.

One reason for the positive reception to the news that the club was poised for takeover was the transparency of the buyer, something that was mysteriously veiled during Sven’s time at Notts County. The consortium made themselves, and their vision, clear from the off, reassuring the former England manager that his latest task was a credible one.

Outgoing chairman Milan Mandaric claimed: ”The deal represents three things. First, ambition – this will help us push forward to compete harder for a place at the top table of English football. Second, strength – it will strengthen the squad and youth academy by bringing additional financial support and introducing a new global network of contacts and access to player talent. It also represents a third key factor – partnership.”

A term you often hear with Sven is “project”. He has an eye, and contacts within world football, for building something substantial. The Swede laid the foundations at Manchester City before a surprising dismissal, and then saw his work at Notts County dismantled by the financial irregularities of the consortium that had tempted him to back to English football. Leicester already had a sound side by Championship standards prior to Sven’s appointment, but the acquisitions of Darius Vassell, Yakubu, Sol Bamba and Ricardo have enhanced the club’s quality and the expectations of fans.

The club has focused in on promotion, with Ricardo the latest to acclaim his manager: “I have known him since I was a young kid in Portugal where he was coach of Benfica. I am proud to work with him. He’s a great man and manager. That is why I am here. That is the one reason to come Leicester, to pay him back. I want to get to the end of the season in a position to go to the Premier League.”

The Foxes had enjoyed an eight-match unbeaten run prior to their defeat to Cardiff City, and recent years have proven that momentum can be instrumental when it comes to determining who will be promoted come May. Leicester’s Eriksson-powered charge might be reminiscent of Crystal Palace under Iain Dowie but Roy Keane’s Sunderland fits the glove better. Both were high-profile appointments, and to some extent gambles, both made signings that would have been unobtainable without the manager, and both teams have been infected with the feverish will-to-win of its leader. That has culminated in Leicester repeating Sunderland’s emergence from battling relegation to becoming the form team in the end of season shake-up.

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