Fri, Aug 15, 2003 - Page 22 News List

Micky Adams says that Leicester City are misfits


Leicester City manager Micky Adams calls his side "a team of misfits."

The same might be said of the other two newly promoted Premier League teams -- Wolverhampton and Portsmouth -- who will begin to find out if they belong when the season opens Saturday.

Chances are, it will be a brief stay.

Since the 20-team Premier League began in the 1992-93 season, just under half the clubs that have been promoted have been relegated the next season.

Leicester is everyone's favorite to go straight back to the first division -- a 2,000-1 shot to win the league by bookmakers Ladbrokes.

The Foxes were a financial disaster just 10 months ago, when the team was placed under financial administration with debts of PD30 million (US$48.3 million).

"We are a team of misfits if you like," Adams said. "Nobody likes us, nobody rates us and we have been written off already."

Still, the Foxes have a much more recent history in the top flight than either Portsmouth or Wolves.

This will be the Foxes' eighth year in the Premier League in the last 10. They were relegated after the 1994-1995 and 2001-2002 seasons. They also won the League Cup in 1997 and 2000 under highly successful coach Martin O'Neill.

"People write us off, and I understand that," said Adams, who signed 11 new players, including striker Les Ferdinand, and midfielders Keith Gillespie and Craig Hignett.

"But it's an easy motivational thing for me to use," added Adams, whose side opens at home against Southampton.

Unlike Leicester, Portsmouth and Wolves have millionaire backers. But they are both 1,000-1 to win the league followed by other relegation candidates like Fulham, Charlton, Bolton and Birmingham City.

Portsmouth, under former West Ham manager Harry Redknapp, last played in the top flight in 1987-1988. Prior to that, Portsmouth was in the top flight for three decades -- 1927-1959 -- and was English champion in 1949 and 1950.

Redknapp has brought in former England striker Teddy Sheringham, but lost midfield playmaker Paul Merson. Merson helped Pompey win the first division last season and then chose to move closer to his home in Birmingham and joined first-division Walsall.

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