Foxes A to Z, Muzzy Izzet, World Cup bronze medalist and Leicester legend

Embed from Getty Images

Unblooded by Chelsea, and utterly unknown elsewhere at the time Martin O’Neill made him a deadline day loanee, midfielder Muzzy Izzet took next to no time to make his mark as City’s promotion drive took off sleeply following the nadir of his debut day defeat (the infamous occasion when MON was almost prematurely booed out of his job!). Slutting in alongside Neil Lennon and demonstrating som neat close control and nifty right foot trickery. He earned an extension to his temporary deal, scored the headed goal at Wembley for the equalising penalty against Crystal Palace, and was then signed permanently for a fee of £800 000 (plus a sell-out clause), from then on he became genuine jewel in City’s proud critic confounding Premiership odyssey, matching a bubbly buzzing enthusiasm to maturing talent as a quick witted attack minded linkman, exhibiting occasional right-wing by line magic, and increasing the frequently of his spectacular scoring strikes.

Muzzy impressed in all three of the League Cup finals of the O’Neill era, uncomplainingly assumed front running duties in emergencies, took over penalty responsibilities in 1999, became the first City man to win the Carling Player of the Month award (Sep 99) and around that time scoring in five consecutive Premier League home games. In 1998 MON was vocal in his surprise that no England call-up had come Muzzy’s way, and the Londoner eventually tired of waiting for such a merited honor.

He had previously been courted by Turkey (on account of his Turkish Cypriot paternity), and had shown interest until learning he’d have to undergo military service to qualify, but whne that condition was removed, Muzzy took out Turkish citizenship in early 2000 and duly made his international debut against Sweden in the European Championship Finals.

The departure of Neil Lennon thrust extra responsibility on Muzzy during 2000/1, but he remained the source (and likely cutting edge) of much of City’s forward momentum until an injury suffered in the Wycombe FA Cup humiliation curtained his season. He was rarely quite the same inspiration for a while thereafter, and seemed frustrated by the violent dip in City’s fortunes during 2001/2; giving vent as the 100th City player dismissed in senior football when receiving marching orders at Bolton shortly after coming on from the bench.

A transfer request was no surprise, but Aston Villa boss John Gregory was denied the funds to buy him, and then Muzzy himself turned down Middlesbrough overtures after a £6m fee had been agreed. It was pretty much accepted, though, that he had already bidden his informal farewells to Leicester by the time he made a 20-minute sub’s appearance for Turkey in their 2002 World Cup semi-final defeat by Brazil. He also received the World Cup 2002 bronze medal, but was an unused sub in the game v. South Korea. It was something pleasant surprise finding him lining up for the opening Division 1 fixtures in the Walkers Stadium, even if City were desperate to raise cash on their playing asset. His class shone through much of the ensuring promotion term, which he capped with the indisputable goal of the season, a dazzling overhead kick at Grimsby, and ended with selection in the PFA’s divisional team of the season.

Embed from Getty Images

He was less consistent in the Premiership relegation campaign which ensued, but there were always suitors for his services in the wings, and he eventually linked up once again with Robbie Savage and Emile Heskey at St. Andrews and Birmingham City, when his contract expired. Sadly, though, his time with Birmingham was a matter of injury after injury, and Muzzy was forced to announce his retirement with a serious knee problem in June 2006, after a mere aggregate of 28 games and one Premiership goal in two years for the West Midland Blues. Some years later after a few appearances in small sided veterans football in a City shirt, he did contribute in Leicestershire Senior League fare to Thurmaston’s efforts.

Muzzy’s younger brother Kemal for some time fringed Charlton Athletic’s first team, then made his sustained League mark in Colchester United’s midfield, playing 422 league games in his years between 2001 and 2013.

FACTFILE: 

  • Full Name: Mustafa Kemal Izzet
  • Position: Midfield
  • Date of Birth: 31.10.1974
  • Birthplace: Mile End, Lon
  • Nation: Turkey
  • Caps / Goals: 9/0
  • Major League Career:
    • 1996-04, Leicester City (269/38)
    • 2004-06, Birmingham City (26/1)

Links: Pinterest, Wikipedia

Len Glover

Embed from Getty Images

A series of injuries marred both the beginning and the end of Lenny’s City career, but in the interim seasons his left-wing skills and pace bemused many an opposing full-back, and it was a genuine tribute to both his ability and personality that he became such a firm favorite of the usually highly critical popular terrace support.

Glover had first faced Leicester City as a Charlton Athletic teenager in the 1962-63 season when his replay winner ejected City from the League Cup. The £80 000 fee Matt Gillies paid for him five years later represented at the time an English record fee for a winger.

Lennie’s goals saw City through the first two rounds of their 1969 FA Cup run to Wembley. Despite reaching the FA Cup final that season, Glover was also part of a relegation to the 2nd tier.

Lennie Glover helped Leicester City back to the top, under new manager Frank O’Farrell, regularly scoring and finding the forwards with great touches. During the next years a new relationship with Frank Worthington were established and the two were integral when reaching the 1974 FA Cup semi-final, only to be defeated by later winners of the tournament Liverpool.

Glover left Leicester City after the 1975/76 season and joined NASL and Tampa Bay Rowdies, playing a season for the Florida based club alongside other greats such as Man City and Fulham forward Rodney Marsh and former West Ham icon Clyde Best. Lenny played for Rowdies in 1976 and 1977, appearing as captain in his last season and even being the manager after coach Eddie Firmani resigned.

Glover returned to England and was approached by a number of league clubs such as Blackpool, Colchester and Notts County, but a registration problem made it impossible to join and instead turned out in the non-league for Kettering Town.

Glover were absent from the game for a while, but surprisingly became boss of Harlow Town and at the age of 50 also registered as a player and became the oldest ever to appear in the Diadora League.

In 2004 sadly Glover was prisoned with a three and half years sentence, acting as a money courier to a Leicester drugs gang. Then on re-emerging he set up his own website and published an idiosyncratic autobiography – From Left Wing to D-Wing – as an e-book or CD rom.

FACTFILE: 

  • Full Name: Leonard Glover
  • Position: Winger
  • Date of Birth: 31.01.1944
  • Birthplace: Kennington, London
  • Nation: England
  • Major League Career:
    • 1962-68, Charlton Athletic (177/20)
    • 1968-76, Leicester City (252/38)
  • NASL
    • 1976-77, Tampa Bay Rowdies (32/1)

Links:

Pinterest

Wikipedia

Foxes A to Z, Peter Shilton, Goalkeeping for life, league goal and safest hands in club history

Embed from Getty Images

It’s almost the case that however far back into Peter’s superb goalkeeping career one delves for perspective, one could have safely predicted the height it would reach. A schoolboy prodigy, his dedication to working on practice and psychology of his destined profession (and even on building the correct physique for it) was evident while he was helping Leicester Boys to their 1965 trophy win, and picking up his first international recognition with England Schools.

At Filbert Street there was precocious talent, and he became City’s youngest ever First Division debutant at 16 against cup winners to be Everton. Barely another year had elapsed before a queue of top clubs was forming, ready to snatch Peter (now an automatic choice for England Youth) from the Filbert Street shadow of Gordon Banks, and an unenviable choice soon faced Matt Gillies over which of his top-rank keepers to part with. He elected to invest in the younger man’s ability and ambition, and it was not too long before his judgement was substantiated by Peter’s assumption of Bank’s place in the international arena.

In the interim, City experience a Cup Final, a relegation and a promotion (with Peter’s shot stopping solidity, aerial agility, uncanny sense of positioning and absolute command of his area in large part responsible for the club creating it’s best ever defensive record during 1970/71, when he kept a record 23 clean sheets.

Rarely out of the public-eye – his adoption of an all-white playing kit and his long distance scoring success at Southampton at various times assuring that Peter was inevitably now adding full international momentos to his thirteen England U.23 caps, but also becoming less than enchanted at City’s trophy winning prospects, Jimmy Bloomfield accepted a £325,000 cheque from Stoke for the unsettled star, and the move ironically threatened to rebound Peter as the Potters themselves struggled, and he found himself only sharing the yellow jersey of England with Ray Clemence.

But when Stoke dropped into Division Two, Peter was the subject of a typically shrews bit of Brian Clough business, and in five years of almost uninterrupted success in domestic and European competitions with Forest, he once more re-established himself as the country’s undisrupted No.1. Maintaining his impeccable highly self-critical standards at The Dell (after another £325,000 move), Peter became the most capped England keeper of all time, skippering the national side on occasion and earning the civil honor of the MBE in 1986.

Then, following a final big money move to Baseball Ground, he set about craeting a further series of career landmarks, passing Terry Paine’s all time record for the highest number of League appearances with his 825th such game in April 1988, and overtaking Bobby Moore’s record haul of England caps with his 109th selection against Denmark in June 1989.

In July 1990, Peter finally retired form the international scene with a world record 125 caps to his name, bowing out at the very top of his profession. He was up-graded to an OBE in 1991, and later took the plunge into management. Initially successful as Plymouth Argyle’s player/manager (though content to sideline himself from action on a career total of 995 League appearances), Peter soon provided unable to juggle the pressures of a relegation scarp with those of his well-published personal financial difficulties, and resigned from Home Park in January 1995, after being suspended by the chairman, but not before giving his 16 year-old son Sam a League break.

Embed from Getty Images

He then signed on a non-contract basis as goalkeeping cover at Crystal Palace, and at Bolton Wanderers, and almost 29 years after his Leicester City debut, appeared one more at league level while at Burnden Park. A fine play-off final performance at Molineux then assisted The Trotters to Wembley and promotion.

After his time with Bolton he moved on to other clubs, combining the role of goalkeeping and coaching, being registered at Coventry City and later West Ham United. He then made a move to Leyton Orient, it happened in November 1996 when he had reached the age of 47. With a tally of 996 league appearances he was eager to reach the 1000 landmark. He got a chance to play and managed 9 while at Brisbane Road, taking his total amount to 1005 games. His 1000th game was live on Sky, and Peter kept a clean sheet.

He had an impressing league career and the first eight years were with Leicester City, he even scored a goal, rarely seen by a goalkeeper. It all happened away to Southampton, Leicester was already 4-1 up, and a long ball, which Shilton himself admitted losing sight of on this foggy afternoon, was ment for Mike Stringfellow, but no one touched the ball as it bounced over the Southampton goalkeeper.

Where Gordon Banks is remembered for “The best save ever”, Peter Shilton will be reminded of  “The hand of God”, remarkably thinking that with a VAR system this would never have happened.

FACTFILE 

  • Full Name: Peter Leslie Shilton
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Date of Birth: 18.09.1949
  • Birthplace: Leicester
  • Nation: England
    • Full Caps: 125, Debut: 1970 v. East Germany 
    • U.23 Caps: 13, Debut: 1969 v. Wales
  • Major League Career:
    • 1966-74, Leicester City (286/1)
    • 1974-77, Stoke City (110/0)
    • 1977-82, Nottingham Forest (202/0)
    • 1982-87, Southampton, (188/0)
    • 1987-92, Derby County (175/0)
    • 1995, Bolton Wanderers (1/0)
    • 1995-96, Leyton Orient (9/0)

Links:

Pinterest,

Wikipedia

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑