Claudio Ranieri to become a blessing in disguise for Norwegian football evolution

Claudio Ranieri is doing a grand job at Sampdoria and yesterday Norway played Montenegro in a World Cup qualifier with a certain Morten Thorsby getting a rare chance to shine in the team.

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The 24 year old, is a key man in his club team, but hasn’t yet been seen as that in the national team, strangely and odd, but a change to management could see the Sampdoria midfielder getting more chances after a very impressive game seeing Norway winning 1-0, with RB Leipzig forward Sorloth scoring the one and only goal, assisted by Celtic flank man Moi.

Another young Norwegian talent, Kristoffer Akselsen is also under the wings of Claudio Ranieri as the progression is seen at this traditional football cub, 10th in the table and looks settled and established in the Serie A.

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The next step for Claudio Ranieri is to push this club even further and with Thorsby getting more chances on the international scene, this could be a win, win for both club and country as the former Hereenveen man looked ever so solid in the central midfield position.

Thorsby is a player coming through the ranks at Stabæk, a club in the suburbs of Oslo, that continues to produce exciting young talent, once coached by former Leicester City midfielder Billy McKinlay, today Swede Janne Jonsson is back at the club, who also were in charge when they won the Norwegian league back in 2008, and was as high as 3rd in 2015, then coached by Bob Bradley that had a short spell in charge of Swansea City and was at a time linked with the manager job at Leicester, when vacant as a Championship club.

Akselsen and Thorsby are just two great young prospects to be developed at Stabæk, this season the son of former Nottingham Forest, Blackburn Rovers and Derby County midfielder Lars Bohinen was sold to CSKA Moscow, Emil Bohinen will surely be a player to follow closely going forward.

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Thorsby is currenlty holding Adrien Silva out of the starting line-up at Sampdoria and with Dane Damsgaard and Swede Ekdal also in that midfield area, the aging Silva might have a struggle on his hand as he battles for his minutes on the field after moving from Leicester City last summer.

Interesting to be following Claudio’s progress, the future of Morten Thorsby as he hopefully cement a place in the Norwegian team also after the Montenegro game, he was impressive in his play and looked cool and controlled playing his fifth full international.

Nice to see that previous Leicester City “people” are doing a grand job in getting Norwegian talent to the next level and hopefully the nation again can qualify to a World Cup, hasn’t happened since 1998, with an exciting team coached by Egil “Drillo” Olsen.

Will Leicester go to Belgium and France to bring in these two exciting prospects?

Reports from The Mercury and The Athletics makes it obvious that Leicester City this summer must be clever and cunning in their approaches for new players and maybe also consider a number of their own “special men” to return to the club.

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One of the most exciting scenarios might be to bring back Kamal Sowah from Leuven and work har do get free agent Florian Thauvin from Marseille.

Sowah, still only 21, is a player that has shown that he can cope with the highest level in Belgium. He might be ready for his chance to shine in a Leicester City shirt. Joined Leuven in 2018 and has since been a key player with a great promotion and this season establishing the team in the top flight, at this moment 6th in the Jupiler.

Sowah has scored eight goals in thirty games this season and looks a very interesting and exciting and of course a chance to shine at Leicester City would be fantastic.

The name Flaurian Thouvin has been heavily linked with Leicester City in a number of seasons, and the former Newcastle United misfit, might be ready for a return to the English top flight, and hopefully be that edition of a player that we surely miss and getting him for a minor fee or if waiting for free, would be a steal.

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Thauvin’s record stands for it self and after returing to France his stats are very impressive, and as a winger exceptional, scoring 75 goals in 212 league appearances. We all know that his time at Newcastle wasn’t the best one, and as we have seen with a great number of players, taking the step up can for some players be difficult, but it also depends on team mates and management.

A number of new players are today added to our new list of hot, cool and cold, as rumours again starts flying around, but surely getting Sowah back and Thauvin would probably not be a bad idea.

18 year old Tom Kilkelly in the starting line-up, his unique and memorable story about Leicester City and their forgotten FA Cup 3rd place play-off’s!

Leicester City recently reached this seasons FA Cup semi-final, playing Southampton at Wembley on the 18th of April. Going down Memory Lane, you have to go back a great number of years to find the last two events of such earlier happenings, 1982 and 1974. We all know the details and talk about those defeats, but it was more ..

On the 9th of May 1974, Leicester City and Burnley played each other at Filbert Street, in what was a short lived event called the FA Cup 3rd place play-off’s. This game was the fifth of it’s kind, and the last time arranged, it all started in 1970. 4 432 had met up at Filbert Street, Burnley victory 1-0,  Leicester ended fourth. Looked at player names in the Leicester City line-up, all familier ,besides one, Tom Kilkelly. Never heard of him, not listed anywhere as a first team player, so wondered a bit, and thought, who is he?, made a “Google” search for his name, in relation with football, and found an interesting path to Perth, Australia. Then a new search on Facebook, found a Tom Kilkelly from Perth and sends the following message,

Question

Hi, if you are the guy that played in the game v Burnley on the 9th of May 1974, would be great to have a chat with a few questions, what happened after and all that? I live in Norway, a massive LCFC fan, and run a website called filbertway, i will do a story on that forgotten game a third place fa cup match, that was just played five times, have a nice day

Tom’s answer

Hi, Yes I’m the Guy that played in that game . Yes no problem having a catch up , look forward to it . Take care, Tom

Question

Fantastic, take care as well, I will soon be back with a few questions, thanks!, regarding that special game, just doing a q&a in this conversation, if that is ok, first, how did you end up in that line up for that game, and what happened next, never seen you in the first team after that? did you play in the reserves or the youth team?

Tom’s answer

Alan Birchenall was injured , Joe Waters was away with the Rep of Ireland , I had played in Graham Cross’s testimonial against Derby County also playing Reserves & Captain of the Republic of Ireland youth team. I was born in Galway , family moved to England in 1961, brought up in Derby came through the system of school teams with Derby boys, Leicester picked me up from England school boy training , Playing youth team when I was 15 resses when I was 16 , went on from there.

A rare and special trophy, picture from Tom’s personal album

Question

Do you have any memory of the Burnley game, did you have any chances to score, how do you rate your performance, despite the loss 1-0, and who was your best mate at Leicester, and what was your age in 1974 on that day?

Tom’s answer

I marked Brian Flynn did a good job on him , the goal was scored by Ray Hankin may have been a corner or free kick from out wide he scored with his head . Had quite a few good mates at the City, still in contact with them today. Joe Waters , Alan Birchenall, Phil Weller, Brendan Phillips, Capewell twins & so many more I’m still talking to!! I was 18 at the time of that game .

Question

What specific position did you play in that game, midfield?, and what was your best position, what happened for you in the 74/75 season, and did you get anymore chances to train and play in the first team? When did you leave Leicester, and what happened next, what did you do after football? Do you follow Leicester today? do you have any other favorite football teams, and are you still involved in football?

Team Group, Leicester City, 1974/75, Tom in the back row, number three from left

Tom’s answer

I played centre midfield, position I feel I was best at dual centre half or sweeper. I was capped 14 times with the Irish youth team & captain. Yes played in Graham Cross’s testimonial v Derby County , went out on loan to Northampton Town , came back released in 1975 , played at Burton Albion for a while , then signed with Shamrock Rovers ( Ireland) until the end of that season. 1976 off to South Africa played with Maritzburg in Durban for a season then in East London for a season! Returned to UK signed for AP Leamington for 4 years then to Trowbridge with Alan Birchenall from there to Bedworth for 1/2 a season. Then May 82 moved to Sydney, Australia, with my wife Julie & 2 year old daughter Tracey,  signed for Apia in the national league . Then in 1984 moved to Perth , Kingsway Olympic, been here ever since.

Finished playing in 1993 , straight into coaching took over from former Liverpool / Swansea player Colin Irwin. Coached at various clubs in Perth up untill 2017, retired as coach from Kingsway Olympic!! Working, playing golf & retiring in August.

Question

Fantastic journey, great read, so you must have added up a great number of games for all these teams, any manager/coach you would say had a special impact on your journey?

Question

Finally, how was your loan spell at Northampton, any great memories of players you have played against, who was the best?, any teammate that made a great impression on you?, ever thought of why you didnt made it at leicester, or in the english league, is it bad luck, injuries or just that you would rather explore the world? and finally, have you been back to watch Leicester? thanks a lot for giving me the insite, looking forward writing this article, will send you the link when its ready

Tom’s answer

Spent four weeks at Northampton, enjoyed it . Players I played with & against the likes of Kevin Beattie, Trevor Francis, Brian Little, Kenny Burns, Peter Withe, Steve Powell so many I could go on for a while.

Team mates there again there was so many all good pros / semi pros I still keep in touch with quite a few there are two of them from my Irish youths day that live here in Australia, we are always in contact, My old Leicester / Irish youth team mate Joe Waters , also Phil Weller again so many we could go on for a long time!

Making it at Leicester, could have been the change of manager Frank O’Farrell went off to United could have been a turning point , who knows. It is what it is , looking back I’ve had a great life & wouldn’t change it .the family the people I’ve met , the friends I’ve made I have enjoyed & still enjoy .

I have been back to Leicester on many occasions,  (I married a Leicester girl) My son Shaun is a mad Leicester fan, Alan Birchenall has looked after us & the family when we go back to Leicester. Myself I’m a Derby County fan have been for a long time , even before I signed for Leicester. Leicester are my second team.

Tom’s son, Shaun, together with a familiar face at Leicester City!

This was far more than expected. a pleasure to talk to Tom Kilkelly and getting to know his journey before and after that FA Cup 3rd place play-off’s, his relationship with Alan Birchenall and how he still in many ways have stayed in contact with his roots at the football club and the city.

Perth, Australia / Sandefjord, Norway, Topic: Leicester City / Date: 28.03.2021

In Both Camps, Huddersfield Town

Picture: Frank Worthington

Huddersfield Town is a club with a rollercoaster ride up and down the divisions, currently “camping” in the 2nd tier, after a swift return to the top flight a few seasons ago, over the years a number of players have been in both camps, of course remembering Frank Worthington, but today you have Richard Stearman in their squad and last season other players such as Andy King and Danny Simpson were up at John Smith’s playing.

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Ben Chilwell spend a few months on loan with The Terriers, going back to that 2015/16 season,  later Ben Hamer also joined. Ian Banks is a midfielder that played for both clubs in the 80’s, a midfielder signed up by Huddersfield Town from Leicester City.

Forwards Danny Cadamarteri and Iwan Roberts are two forwards that have a past in both camps, Cadamarteri had two spells with Huddersfield, added up a total of 70 league games and scoring 8 goals.

Neil Danns is a more recent appearance as he went on loan from Leicester City to Huddersfield Town, playing at John Smith’s in 2012/13, 17 league games and 2 goals.  Damien Delaney another also spending time on loan from Leicester City.

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Danny Drinkwater spent a period on loan at Huddersfield Town while at Manchester United, later making a great breakthrough at Leicester City and from there becoming an expensive £30million signing moving to Chelsea, so clearly being a Terrier, could end on the upper shelf in football.

Frank Sinclair is also a former Terrier as he played for Huddersfield Town from 2006 to 08, adding up a total of 42 league appearances before moving to Lincoln City. 

One of Leicester City’s heroes from the late 1920’s, Ernie Hine, also moved to Huddersfield Town from his time at Filbert Street, playing a season, before moving further on to Manchester United.

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This pretty much adds up the players we found in our search, so the Huddersfield Town connection is a good one, but not that many players and of course seeing names such as Frank Worthington, Ben Chilwell and Danny Drinkwater among those are fascinating.

  • Goalkeepers
    • Ben Hamer
  •  Defenders
    • Richard Stearman
    • Danny Simpson
    • Damien Delaney
    • Ben Chilwell
    • Frank Sinclair
    • Julian Watts
  • Midfield
    • Ian Banks
    • Andy King
    • Danny Drinkwater
    • Neil Danns
  • Forwards
    • Iwan Roberts
    • Danny Cadamarteri
    • Frank Worthington
    • Ernie Hine

Defender chase, Leicester in race with Newcastle and Aston Villa

Brendan Rodgers will be out looking for a number of players over the summer, and a central defender might be on his list of targets, maybe two. We have seen late reports about Rangers defender Filip Helander and Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer.

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Helander is a proven Swedish international with a previous life in Italian football before joining Rangers in 2019 and of course enjoying life in Scotland, winning the SPL. Kristoffer Ajer who has been an established first choice in defence at Celtic, was last summer linked with Leicester, but now it seems that Newcastle are front runners and that a move could happen.

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With a three men defense under establishment at Leicester and of course a lack of contenders to the current starters, Soyuncu, Evans and Fofana, and with Fuchs and Morgan set to be released in te summer, uncertainty about Filip Benkovic struggling a bit to get to his best.

Benkovic has this season been on loan at Cardiff City and at the moment with “sister club” Leuven in Belgium, but so far not been much involved, left mostly as a sub, all waiting for him to get his real breakthrough after injuries and loss of form.

TCF would not be surprised to see an addition of a central defender in the summer, but again we have been surprised before, but of course Filip Helander is a name to add, with Ajer a possible candidate as well.

If you would like to keep up to date with all the latest transfer rumours regarding Leicester, you are just a click away. Fresh and updated list out now.

RIP Frank Worthington, “Love Me Tender”, “It’s Now or Never”

Sad to hear that Frank Worthington had passed away earlier this week, and to see one of Leicester City’s most legendary players ever leaving us all at the age 72. Born in Halifax in 1948, spending his younger years in a footballing family, with his father a footballer, so was his older brothers Bob and Dave.

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His real breakthrough in football came at Huddersfield Town in the late 60’s, and after a while in the 2nd tier, being part of a promotion, spending two years in the top flight before signing for Leicester City in August 1972.

He became an instant hit at Filbert Street, and first noticing his talent in a Saturday televised game v. West Ham on the 30th of December in that first first season. The talk before the game, in Norwegian newspapers, where all about Clyde Best, Bobby Moore and all those West Ham players being the favourites and famous names over here in Scandinavia.

A packed home stadium did see Frank Worthington score, so did John Farrington, Trevor Brooking scored for the opponent. Leicester City were “all white” that season, and it was fantastic to watch as the game became entertaining and leaving behind an impression about a team that had something with them, a bit of flair, not yet to flourish the way it would.

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Leicester had a difficult start but climbed and with Frank Wortington up front it became more and more steady as “the talent” ended the season with 10 league goals in 39 games. The next became the breakthrough season, hitting 20 goals in 42 games, being an ever present in the league line-up.

Frank that season contributed in the race for the FA Cup semi’s, losing to the winners to be, Liverpool, in a two game affair, with the first ending in a 0-0 draw and in the replay Liverpool scored three against a Leicester single goal.

Frank Worthington was a few weeks later handed his full England debut in a game v. N Ireland, winning 1-0, actually playing alongside two other Leicester City team mates, Peter Shilton and Keith Weller, with the latter scoring the only goal of the game.

Frank was also the preferred choice for Don Revie, naming the Leicester City attacker in his ever first eleven for the Euro qualifier v. Czechoslovakia. A great 3-0 win for England but all goals scored after Frank had left the field. He later played against Portugal that same year, coming on in a 0-0 draw and never again played for England, stopped at 8 caps and 2 goals.

Leicester City made progress during the years of Jimmy Bloomfield with great league finishes in 1975/76 (7th) and 1976/77 (11th), Frank continuing scoring and helping the club to become well working in the top flight of English football.

During Leicester City travels to Norway in the mid 70’s, playing friendlies for packed stadiums, and remember them playing Odd and Brann, and being present at Falkum, Skien to watch, I actually cought Frank Worthington, jumping a fence at the stadium, and getting his autograph, and then jumping back to see the game, he laughed and signed my book, great memory.

The next season (1977/78) was to be his last at Leicester City, and also sad to see his idol, Elvis, leaving us all in August 77, strangely Frank left a few weeks after to join Bolton Wanderers in the 2nd tier, and everyone “over here” was shocked with the fact that our biggest star had left the club for a life outside the top flight. Leicester City never managed to replace their front man and the season ended in a terrible relegation after another Frank (McLintock) had taken over, also very surprisingly, from our favourite Jimmy Bloomfield, a through legend for Scandinavian fans, most of us becoming fans during his years in management at the club.

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After Frank Worthington left Leicester City he did live a life as a “nomad” moving almost every second season to new clubs, playing for Bolton, Birmingham, Sunderland, Leeds and Southampton all in the top flight, winning a League runners-up medal while at The Dell and with The Saints.

After 1984 he continued playing in lower league teams such as Brighton, Tranmere, Preston and Stockport, also being the man in charge while at Prenton Park. In the summers he also moved around in different countries having short spells in the NASL, Sweden and South Africa.

His time in Sweden is greatly remembered, turning out for Mjallby in Allsvenskan, the year was 1980 and his contribution was to be remembered scoring four goals in twelve games for the Swedes, but also his “escapades” outside football is well described. A record audience of 7200 turned up for his debut.

The fact that Frank Worthington was turned down by Liverpool, might have bothered him a bit, but later in life he turned out in a Liverpool shirt, playing in a Chris Lawler special selection at Ceamas Bay, also seen in Manchester United colours being a guest player during an Australia tour in 1984.

“Worthy” later in life became a popular “After Dinner Speaker” and his latter days in life was spent back in Huddersfield, often seen on Terriers home games together with palls from his playing days at the club.

Nothing better to end this little tribute to Frank Worthington with two Elvis Presley songs “Love Me Tender” and “It’s Now or Never”, listening you will think of those wonderful goals scored, his runs and dribbles against great opponents, just simple and easy, a great footballer, a legend, RIP Frank Worthington!

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