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Counter-attack: Do Leicester City need a rival?

The great debate begins...

Dennis Wise X

Leicester City have numerous local rivals scattered across the Midlands. Unfortunately, they are also scattered across the lower divisions. We won’t be seeing Leeds or Derby or Nottingham Forest unless we’re drawn together in a cup match. Even the Birmingham sides, Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion, who weren’t proper rivals to begin with, are now toiling the League Championship. Fosse Posse’s Jack Lee and Jake Lawson face off to answer the question:

Do Leicester City need a rival in the Premier League and, if so, who should it be?

Jake Lawson: The short answer to this question is “no.” I can offer no clearer proof than the fact that the Foxes won the league in 2015/16 without any clear rival in the top flight. That’s not the coincidence it seems. What do they always say about derbies? “Throw out the form book!” For a team looking to seriously challenge at the top of the table, every match against a rival is a potential banana peel. I believe that this worked to our advantage as no other club was particularly “up” for taking on Leicester City. Rivalries are distractions at best, and potential stumbling blocks to success.

Jack Lee: The correct answer to this question, however, is “yes”. As a Leicester fan sometimes it is hard not to live in 2015/16. It was a better time for the world. That world has changed though, and Leicester City will not be in the title hunt this season. Nor will they compete in Europe. Barring a cup run, the height of excitement this year will be the running to qualify for more excitement next year. Six points against Derby County would have gone a long way towards that 6th place finish, but it would also have been so much more fun than wins against Fulham or Cardiff. It just feels like something we’re missing out on.

Derby County v Leicester City - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Jake Lawson: As much as I love seeing us beat Derby County (and making inappropriate memes about it), we are faced with the sad fact that we won’t play Derby this year. Leicester have no local rivals in the top flight. There are only two Premier League stadiums within 90 miles of the King Power: Molineaux and Vicarage Road. Calling Wolverhampton or Watford “rivals” is a real stretch. I get pumped for matches against top sides, but they don’t feel the same about about playing us, and rivalries ought be fueled by mutual antipathy. I look at the clubs in the league next year and I don’t see any potential rivalry that wouldn’t feel arbitrary. Can you just decide to be rivals without any history of it?

Jack Lee: I’ll admit, there’s few things that inspire less passion than a forced rivalry. They have to develop naturally, usually thanks to time and geography. Close and regular competition can also help though, which is why I present to you: Burnley. Four years ago the sides finished 1st and 2nd in the Championship, before fighting relegation together the following year. We came out on top, in large part thanks to a missed penalty and narrow victory over the Clarets.

Burnley v Leicester City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

The following year both teams won their division, before again fighting the drop side by side. This year we came out on the wrong side of a scrap for Europe. With their own rivals sinking through the divisions as well, Sean Dyche and his gravel-on-a-chalkboard voice really fit the bill. Life is better with a true rival, so until Derby or Forrest come back up, I chose to become unnecessarily confrontational about all things Burnley.

So there are our arguments; now it’s time to have your say. Is it really important for the Foxes to have a Premier League rival, or are they just more trouble than they’re worth?


Do Leicester City need a rival in the Premier League?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    No. We’re a strong independent club who don’t need no rival!
    (28 votes)
  • 17%
    Yes and Sean Dyche is the absolute worst!
    (10 votes)
  • 33%
    Yes, but no one cares about Burnley (comment your rival of choice)
    (19 votes)
57 votes total Vote Now