No sooner had Nigel Pearson placed his feet under the manager’s desk at Leicester City than the club shipped out two of its most talented players. Having already lost Gareth McAuley to Ipswich, the Foxes have now lost the services of Ian Hume and Richard Stearman. This takes exits from the squad this summer to a total of thirteen, one fewer than the total number of signings made by Martin Allen last summer.
The exits of Stearman, Hume and McAuley have been well covered. Somewhat less attention has been given to a number of other players who have also departed. What follows is a review of the talent we won’t be seeing down Filbert Way next season.
Alan Maybury: 97 Starts (5 Sub) – 3 Goals
Brought to the club from Hearts by then Leicester boss Craig Levin, Maybury had long fallen out of favour with a succession of managers. Maybury played in just one Championship game in the 07/08 season – a 1-1 draw at Burnley in December. That said, he did play in City’s excellent win at Aston Villa in the Carling Cup, and the following 4-3 rollercoaster at Stanford Bridge. Few will miss him.
Rab Douglas: 35 Starts – 6 Clean Sheets
Douglas was another Levin signing who has now reached the end of a 3-year contract. The Scot was sent out on loan on four occasions; to Millwall, Wycombe (twice) and Plymouth. To be fair he did put in a good performance in Plymouth’s win at Bristol City this season. At 36, he seems destined to a role as a journeyman keeper (if such a role exists). No tears here.
Elvis Hammond: 37 Starts (33 Sub) – 10 Goals
Yet another Levin signing, Hammond missed the entirety of last season through injury. With no-one at Leicester recalling any moments of inspiration that might have led to another contract, Elvis left the building. Hammond’s one highlight at the club was poking City back into the game against Spurs in the 2006 FA Cup 3rd Round. He clearly lacked the physical requirements City will need in spades in League One.
Jamie Clapham: 11 Starts – 0 Goals
A free transfer from Wolves, Clapham left many Leicester fans unenthused by his mediocre performances. Clapham was not the fighter City needed. Indeed, City won just three of the games in which he played, losing six. With Joe Mattock likely to take Clapham’s place next season, there really was no place for him.
End of Loan Deals:
Ben Alnwick: 8 Starts – 4 Clean Sheets
The excellent Martin Fullop wooed City fans during his loan spell with City, so much so that Sunderland demanded a price City could not afford for his services. Alnwick, his loan replacement, lacked the presence of the Hungarian but did a reasonable job. Alnwick is still clearly learning his trade and City will be just fine with Ian Henderson next season.
David Bell: 6 Starts – 0 Goals
Bell was one of the few loan signings of the Holloway era who really impressed. Bell was confident enough to run at defenders, intelligent enough to work the ball in useful directions and energetic too. Had City survived he might well have stayed, as it is rumours point to a £400,000 move to Reading. The only certainty is a move away from Luton, already rooted to the bottom of League Two on -10 points. A move back to City is unlikely, but would prove a welcome surprise.
Lee Hendrie: 9 Starts – 1 Goals
The former Aston Villa midfielder seemed exactly the sort of player City should have signed when Rob Kelly was in charge. Then, as now, the team lacked real leadership and Hendrie could often be seen rallying his teammates in his short spell at the Walkers. An excellent finish against Colchester proved his eye for goal whilst only a wonder save stopped him winning all three points in the home game with Bristol City. League One is probably a step down too far for him.
Kelvin Etuhu: 2 Starts (2 Sub) – 0 Goals
Missed an absolute sitter against Bristol City on his debut and never seemed to recover. Disappointing.
Gabor Bori: 4 Starts (2 Sub) – 0 Goals
Zsolt Laczko: 5 Starts (4 Sub) – 0 goals
The second and third Hungarians to play for City last season, Bori and Laczko were signed together from MTK Budapest with the possibility of a permanent deal dangled in front of them. A decent start against Coventry was never bettered and as the season wore on, it became abundantly apparent the pair had no future at the club.
Perhaps what this list demonstrates is how unpredictable the performances of players from the loan market can be. We can only hope City need not delve into it too much next season.
These players all departed before the arrival of Nigel Pearson – expect many more to join the list. Sergio Hellings is probably the most likely candidate to be shown the door first.