Leicester To Get Milan Treatment?

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 02 November 2006
As you all probably know by now, ex-Pompey Chairman Milan Mandaric has tabled an official bid for Championship club Leicester City reported to be in the region of £25 million.

The revelation has split Pompey fans almost straight down the middle, with half saying that Milan should be free to buy whoever he likes after all he has done for the club yet the other half are saying that he shouldn't betray us by making a disliked club among Pompey fans better than they currently are.

The man himself has claimed that he isn't betraying Pompey because of the powerful position he has left us in under Alexandre Gaydamak and that he'd be taking over a club that "is not unfriendly to us".

I'd have to disagree with the "not unfriendly" part of that statement. In a poll ran by Fratton Faithful earlier in the year asking which team Pompey fans hated the most (excluding Southampton), Leicester City came out on top (ahead of Birmingham, who we were battling relegation with at the time and Millwall too.)

For those of you who don't know, our strong dislike of Leicester City stems from the play-off semi in 1993 where we were beaten dubiously over two-legs. Leicester fans start dancing around Fratton claiming they are going up whilst rubbing in our defeat, the 657 crew get involved and basically things weren't pretty. Justice was done from a Pompey perspective as they lost 3-2 to Swindon Town in the final anyway.

Recent rivalry goes back to our championship winning season when they were chasing us all the way in a campaign that contained that infamous water polo match at Fratton Park. We both went up and they did the double over us in our first season in the Premiership but as we know, we had the last laugh as we survived as they were relegated and the two sides haven't met since. It's safe to say that Leicester are Pompey's ultimate bogey team!

I'll admit I have a bit of a dislike for Leicester City but I would have no problem with Milan buying them. After all, there's no guarantee that he can make them a Premiership club. He may have done it for us but it took him 5 years to do it and it could be argued that he got lucky by appointing Harry Redknapp to do that. His other managerial choices haven't exactly bore fruit have they?

It could also be argued that if it wasn't for Mandaric getting lucky in having Alexandre Gaydamak buy his stake in the club, his investment wouldn't have kept us up and we would have gone down, Harry would have left and we would have ultimately been back at square one. So even if Milan did take over the Foxes, it wouldn't neccessarily be a great thing for them on the pitch.

What he should do is make Leicester financially stable, like he did for us and all Pompey fans will be forever grateful to Milan for saving this club. Even if he does make Leicester a Premiership club then why should that bother us? Despite the events of 1993 look at what has happened to both clubs since. Who has had the better time in the long run? We are sitting pretty in the top 4 of the Premiership whilst Leicester are currently at Southampton's level.

I'm personally glad that Milan has chosen to stay in English football and has not disappeared into the wilderness of another country. It'll be easier to see how the Serb is getting along post-Pompey and although he could have chosen a club that Pompey don't dislike, I'm sure there would be no shortage of well-wishers in Portsmouth hoping he does well for himself whether it benefits a "rival club" or not.

He always had time for Pompey fans and even if he does get tied to Leicester, the man himself has said that Pompey will forever be his #1 club. Who knows? Having Milan at the helm might ease any animosity between Pompey and Leicester fans and that can only be a good thing. I can just imagine how Milan would feel if he took over at the Walkers and oversaw them defeat Southampton in seasons to come.

Of course, the takeover has to happen first!

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