Latest Updates

  1. 'Big track to follow and massive player for the fans to celebrate'published at 11:17 19 July

    The Mercians with new Leicester signing Abdul FatawuImage source, LCFC / Plumb Images

    Lead singer of Leicester-based band The Mercians Matt Cominotto says collaborating with the club for the video to announce Abdul Fatawu's permanent signing, external was the "most surreal day" of his life.

    An Indie cover of ABBA's Voulez-Vous using the lyrics of Fatawu's chant - 'Fatawu (aha) running down the wing... - was used to promote the Ghanaian winger making his loan move permanent across the Foxes' social channels.

    "When it all kind of came out it still didn't feel real," Cominotto told the When You're Smiling podcast. "I've been a Leicester fan for as long as I can remember.

    "It's probably the most surreal day of my entire life. I still can't quite believe it's happened.

    "I'm very certain in the fact you can't fall in love with a loan player so this was a double exciting one for me because they chose my band to announce it and we got Fatawu permanently. Two of the best bits of news, so surreal.

    "It was an extremely stressful 16-20 hours, lots of calls to producers. We just so happened to manage to find a guy near us who could accommodate us in the next hour or so. He just so happened to be in an ABBA tribute band so was the perfect man for the job. We pulled the track out of the bag and I think we did it justice. Big track to follow and massive player for the fans to celebrate.

    "We went to Leicester the next day so it was a very stressful but very exciting day.

    "When we got to the studio we thought 'we cannot rip off the original track' because it was an opportunity to get our sound out there."

    Keeping Fatawu at the club is a major coup for Leicester as they prepare for a Premier League return. The 20-year-old played a key role in winning the Championship title last season, making 40 appearances, scoring six goals and registering 13 assists.

    "I was terrified when he [Fatawu] turned up because if he didn't like it he wouldn't have to tell us he did like it," Cominotto added. "He's a footballer at the end of the day and they can do what they like.

    "But, he absolutely loved it. As soon as I realised he loved it I was in a good mood. What a footballer, he can just offer something different. I'm very surprised he didn't get snapped up by one of the big clubs but thank goodness he stuck with us."

    Listen to the full episode on BBC Sounds

  2. Do clubs actually play more games?published at 11:11 19 July

    Injured Premier League footballerImage source, Getty Images

    It seems inevitable a host of Premier League managers will point to fixture congestion in the months to come.

    When injuries mount, or when time on the training ground is squeezed, coaches often reference the intense nature of the calendar.

    But research conducted by the respected CIES Football Observatory has delivered data which shows clubs are - on average - not playing more competitive games than they have in the last couple of decades.

    The CIES looked at 677 clubs across 40 leagues. In looking at a period from 2012 to 2024, its findings show in 2023-24, the average club played 42.4 competitive matches. In 2014-15 that figure was 42.6 and in 2020-21 it hit 43.9.

    And if focus is placed on sides competing in the Champions League, data gathered between 2000 and 2024 also shows sides are not setting fixture records in the current game, as some managers may like to loosely imply.

    In looking at the five major European Leagues, the CIES claim Champions League competitors played an average of 50.8 matches last season.

    In 2020-21 they averaged 57.9 and in 2002-03 they contested 55.2.

    Manchester United played in 52 competitive games last season, down from highs of 71 in 2020-21 and 66 in 2008-09.

    Across all of the clubs analysed, only 4% played more than 60 games last season. In 2012-13, the figure stood at 5.1%.

    While clubs may play added friendlies and - it would be fair to say - individual matches tend to be longer given increased injury time in the current game, the data shows that competitive fixture numbers are flat or have in most cases fallen, even if disgruntled managers say otherwise.

    The full study is here, external