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Konchesky learns from lessons at Liverpool

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Paul Fletcher | 11:49 UK time, Tuesday, 6 September 2011

This time last year Paul Konchesky was preparing to make his Liverpool debut after a deadline-day move from Premier League rivals Fulham.

Fast forward 12 months and the 30-year-old is gearing up for Leicester's trip to Barnsley as the Championship resumes after the international break.

He has exchanged one of the most famous clubs in England for one of the most ambitious.

The east Midlands club are bankrolled by their Thai owners - the wealthy Raksriaksorn family who own a firm that sells duty-free goods at Thailand's airports - and have strengthened way beyond the means of many top-flight clubs, let alone most of their Championship rivals, as Sven-Goran Eriksson's team attempt to fast-track promotion to the Premier League.

In the Football League, Leicester have been the story of the summer; compulsive viewing - the club with a wow factor as one new face after another arrived. The likes of Kasper Schmeichel, Neil Danns, John Paintsil, David Nugent, Michael Ball, Matthew Mills, Sean St. Ledger and Jermaine Beckford have all joined in addition to Konchesky, who signed in early July. The club have spent close to £10m, with many of their signings believed to be on high wages.

Paul Konchesky in action for Leicester.

Konchesky is confident Leicester will handle the pressure to succeed. Photo: Getty Images

Big signings equal huge expectations but a return of four points from their opening four league games, including back-to-back home defeats, created an early build-up of pressure that was partially relieved by a 3-2 home win over high-flying Southampton in the previous fixture.

"After [losing] the first two home games it was crucial that we defeated Saints," Konchesky told me. "The home games have been very tough because of the expectations of the fans.

"We have spent a lot of money and the supporters want us to win every game but the Championship is a tough league."

To be able to shut out the pressure Konchesky tries not to look too far ahead, just focusing on the next game, while he reckons that activities such as a recent trip to the races have helped to foster a good team spirit.

Konchesky is also confident that his time on Merseyside will help him withstand the pressure at Leicester.

Twelve months ago a slightly fortunate goalless draw at Birmingham marked a solid if unspectacular start to his Anfield career but the defender's time at Liverpool coincided with a troubled period for the club.

New manager Roy Hodgson struggled to establish himself following his move from Fulham and he left the club after a 3-1 defeat at Blackburn on 5 January. That fixture also proved to be the last of the 18 appearances Konchesky made in a Liverpool shirt.

Konchesky's time at Anfield was not helped by an unwise Facebook comment made by the player's mother, who branded some of the club's supporters "Scouse scum". On the field he did not lack effort and his attitude was excellent but he struggled to adjust to the standards required of a club aiming for a top-four finish. He was honest enough to hold his hands up after his mistake late in a fixture at Tottenham in late November cost his team a 2-1 defeat. Konchesky did not play after Kenny Dalglish returned to the club in early January and was loaned out to Nottingham Forest, before joining Leicester permanently.

"I enjoyed my time at Liverpool, the experience of being at a top club," added Konchesky. "I wish them nothing but good luck.

"The tough times were when I was not playing but I was at a club where there is constant pressure, every season, so hopefully from leaving there to come here I am now used to high expectations."

Konchesky, who has previously also played for Charlton, Tottenham and West Ham, won both of his England caps under his current boss Eriksson. The first came in a 3-1 friendly defeat against Australia in 2003 and the second saw him feature as a substitute in a 3-2 win over Argentina in 2005. He reckons the Swede was a big factor in his move to the King Power Stadium.

"Sven is a nice man and a great coach," added Konchesky. "He has been there with England and he can calm things down and give us confidence.

"Everyone is talking about Leicester and I wanted to be a part of it."

Konchesky, who had his best game in a Leicester shirt against Saints, sounded relaxed and confident as he discussed Leicester's prospects of promotion.

"With 46 league games in the Championship it is very long but with the cup competitions as well we want to be playing a lot more games than that," he added.

Konchesky, who became a father for the third time last week, has clearly put a difficult year behind him and is keen to use his experience positively. He is also hopeful that Liverpool fans have not seen the last of him.

Next season the left-back would like to be back at Anfield, as part of a Leicester team playing in the top flight for the first time since 2004.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 4.

    When in England, I watched Konchesky at Charlton, and he always seemed a very determined professional footballer, the type you would like to have in your side, but no other star qualities. It was Hodgson's mistake thinking he could turn a lot of stars into a workmanlike team, with Konchesky as a typical exponent. It wasn't going to happen and Paul was part of the fall out. He should never have gone in the first place.
    Man City found that buying stars does not immediately get you success, as Malaga are finding out and as Leicester will find out. As good a coach as Eriksson is, I don't feel he is hard enough for the Championship, and I don't think he will last the season.
    With luck, Charlton will play Leicester next year.

  • Comment number 5.

    Why was my post moderated I didn't say anything libelous or defame anyone. I just said he is a likable man who happens to be very limited. Hardworking yes but not a good footballer.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    As a Liverpool fan, I wish Konchesky all the best with at Leicester. He wasn't the right signing for us, and we weren't the right club for him. The biggest respect, however, goes to him for wanting to play football rather than sit on a wage. Wish more players were like him in that regard.

    Maybe we will see him back at Anfield next year. Hope he doesnt bring his mother tho...

  • Comment number 8.

    Good Player, Great Professional And I Hope Him And Leicester Do Well This Season! The Players, The Manager And The Club All Deserve It

  • Comment number 9.

    Now then,

    Many thanks for the comments so far. I would be very interested to hear whether people think Leicester will win promotion this season. They've had a patchy start but if they gel as a team then, as Konchesky suggests, they surely have enough quality to go on a long unbeaten run.

  • Comment number 10.

    Interesting to see how big spending to try to bring immediate success is no longer just a top flight phenomenon. This shows the rapidly expanding wealth of football, but it continues to disturb me that more and more very rich individuals are snapping up clubs. Big spending (in relative terms) in the lower leagues also carries the added risk that missing out on promotion could severely damage the bank accounts of the owners and therefore the clubs. Bloated transfer fees and wages will not be offset by higher gate receipts, merchandising and television rights of the PL. This represents a big gamble, especially considering that owners such as Leicester's will not be able to simply write-off debts in the same way as, say, Manchester City's mega-rich sheiks.

  • Comment number 11.

    I suspect that the majority of 'neutral' football fans will be hoping that Leicester flop dismally this year. The idea that throwing money at a club can buy success is very sad - and for those of us who previously rather liked Leicester it's a shame that this has happened to them.

  • Comment number 12.

    I used to be more conservative with my signings during an inebriated 2am promotion push on Championship Manager. I fully expect Sven to lure Taribo West and Christian Vieri out of retirement in the coming weeks.

  • Comment number 13.

    He was one of the most depressing features of Roy Hodgson's team at Anfield last year. He didn't look right in a Liverpool shirt, and offered no advantage to the team he was playing in. An appalling signing by Roy Hodgson. But nobody blames Konchesky for not being good enough. As he was the first name out this summer I think it's likely he just wanted to play, and not steal a living.

    The stuff with his mum was ridiculous though. The whole thing spilled over into other famous footballers and their families facebook's being revealed and some nasty stuff was being written. That incident, although nothing really to do with Paul, alienated a lot of the support especially after some horrendous results in the league.

  • Comment number 14.

    before this summer leciester city already had a decent side, just needed a few players in certain areas not a complete starting lineup.

  • Comment number 15.

    being a foxes fan myself, there is a part of me that's over the moon with the transformation at the club, its been a long 6 years since we were last in the prem and its had it downs with relegation to league 1. But i cant help feeling we were already on the right track with nigel pearson. promotion from league 1, a reativley strong team that were well gelled and played good football, and a near miss in the play-offs.
    i think the owners are good people but we've taken a massive risk with the money we've spent, and as much as i hold sven in high regard as a manager, he hasn't had success at a team or held down a job since his England departure. I hope he can pull this one through. its gunna be a tough season but i think promotion is on the cards if we can play consistantly and not faulter and drop points at the close of the season again! We have to gain promotion or we could get in serious trouble.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    I hope Leicester fail miserably. Only because yet again a club will be living beyond their means to challenge for honours. Its become a joke since chelski came to top prominance and made even sicker by the money that man city have spent. Dont need another team like that. I might not like man ure, but at least they live within their (huge) means like we do with our (not so large) means at Liverpool.

    On Konchesky I wish him well. It was a silly signing by the awful Roy Hodgson that anyone could see was doomed to failure. All power to Konchesky that he didnt sit there like some players do. he went out on loan and then moved in the summer.

  • Comment number 18.

    As a lifelong foxes fan I think the expectations and pressure being put on the club for promotion this is year is totally unrealistic. Granted the club has spent over £10 million (not the £15 million as widely reported), but as many posts make it clear, in such a competitive league, splashing the cash is no guarantee of success.

    What is clear is that Leicester has not gelled yet as a team. When they do, they are going to be very difficult to beat but it hasn't happened yet. How long this process takes will dictate whether the club gets promoted or not.

    The most interesting part of this is the strength in depth - what will happen as it does every season in the championship is that squads get disrupted by injury the longer the season goes on. With such strength in depth LCFC can only prosper as clubs with a threadbare squad will struggle to compete especially as the busy Xmas period looms.

    Whether we get up this year or not, its exciting times for the Foxes.

  • Comment number 19.

    Alseno, if you are to make comments like this then you really need to get your facts right.

    LCFC are not living beyond their means. The Thai owners are investing in all aspects of the club including the match day experience, academy, training facilities and even a fans village. They see it as a business opportunity which further enhances their brand in South East Asia.

    The first investment they made was coughing up £250k for a new pitch. These people are not only professional and sensible but building for the long term. It is not as many comment, another Chelski - there is no bottomless pit of cash, the owners will want a return and are putting measures in place to facilitate this.

    Once again comments like this are born out of envy rather than pure facts.

    Incidentally, Man Utd are $500 million in debt thanks to the borrowings of the Glazer family which is why they are trying to float the company in Singapore for $1 billion as reported on Reuters two hours ago.

  • Comment number 20.

    Fan of Liverpool so I sort of hope Leicester don't come back up as, especially under O'Neill, they were areal bogey team for us. Self interest rather any dislike of the club to be honest.
    Konchesky was one in a long line of failed left backs at Liverpool over last 20 years. He was not good for us but we were not good as a team under the Hodgson kick it long regime. He was bought by a team with little money and about to go under unless new ownership was brought in (thankfully it was). It was obvious that he was at times rather limited as so caused problems in the defence to magnify.
    Overall a por signing by a poor manager but at least had the guts to swallow his pride and move his career onwards. Traore, Dicks, Dossena, Bjornebye, Burrows - he is one of this long list. Seems Enrique may have broken that cycle though

  • Comment number 21.

    Konchesky was OK at Fulham and Charlton, poor at West Ham and a disaster at Liverpool. Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips are another pair who just did not suit certain clubs, to a lesser extent Michael Owen and Scott Parker suffered too. Too many players believe the drivel that is written about them in the media and it goes to their heads.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hi,

    I reckon you could potentially accuse Konchesky of many things but I'm not sure about the accusation made by tripefc (post 21). He did not strike me as a billy big boots at all. Obviously I could be wrong but he came across as fairly grounded.

  • Comment number 23.

    Like Vinnieboards said (post 19), i do find this phrase of "living beyond their means" as a bit of a misnomer.

    While not necessarily the best way to cultivate success (we would all like to have a wealth of quality youth products rather than having to buy) as a leicester season ticket holder i am excited by what is happening with the club after a rather baron 6 years.

    The owners are investing in all aspects of the club (stadium improvements, academy improvements, CSR) not just exclusively the club and wages. I would argue that the situation is more reminiscent of what Randy Lerner has done at Aston Villa.

    Indeed there is not a bottomless pit of money, I believe Southampton for example has richer owners, so it will not always be like this. But as long as the owners are using their own money (as is the case) rather than leveraging the club with debt, I will always thank them for buying Leicester and the good they are trying to do.....

  • Comment number 24.

    Paul,

    Kudos for "Billy Big Boots." You gave me a light chuckle there. I don't rate Konchesky to be honest. I think the Championship is probably about his level, at a push maybe the very bottom of the PL. His signing for the Foxes is probably a win-win for both parties, but unless they win promotion I think he should probably shelve any dreams of a Premier League return.

  • Comment number 25.

    as a leicester fan, the summer has been an exciting one with all the ins but i do have questions over whether we are good enough. will we gel this side of xmas? how many players inc loans has sven made since he joined a year ago and how many more will he target? are all these ex prem players hungry enough? i think the thing you need to do well is a settled squad but we are miles away from that.

  • Comment number 26.

    When you consider that Nolan's wages at West Ham equate to almost £3.5 million per year, I think this puts things into context.

    Yes King Power have money but they are spending it wisely. Many of our signings were free transfers. We are note the wealthiest club in the Championship and the spending policies in place are not solely on the playing staff but the infrastructure too.

    Being a successful Premier League team means having a Premier League setup. Once again I think the media have sensationalised the Foxes abit and blown the money thing out of all reasonable proportion. When you put things into context, the owners have behaved nothing more than responsibly.

  • Comment number 27.

    aarvark 73 = Traore, Dicks, Dossena, Bjornebye, Burrows - he is one of this long list. Seems Enrique may have broken that cycle though

    What about Riise? Seemed like a very good LB to me.....

    Regarding Sven - was quite good, successful I would say, at Man City - but was replaced by Hughes for some reason - not due to failure (did the double over Utd, one would think he was secure for a few years at least!).

  • Comment number 28.

    Hello,

    Being a Leicester fan and attending every home, cup and away game this season. I can tell you Paul has been one of our stand out performers out of all the new signings this season. He is defensively solid and can attack averagely, sometimes he lacks in attacking though. His positioning and organisation is very very good and can get back quickly from corners and set pieces. His movement when attacking is a strong point for me, he does this lovely, his movement to get into space when we're going on the break or countering is amazing. Much better than any left back we've had for a while.

    He makes one or two mistakes now and then but who doesn't, and one was against a very good player in S'otons Adam Llalana when he switched flanks. I can recall him making ONE mistake since he's joined, being a communicational error vs Real Madrid. So you can kind of let the guy off.

    In terms of promotion, I know a lot of people slate us for attempting to 'buy the league'. Well there's nothing we as fans can do about it. Leicester haven't been a club with wealth for a long long while so we're enjoying the ride at the moment. A lot of fans hope on our failure but in all fairness they'd be loving it just as much as we are if they had rich owners.

    Our squad NEEDED improving without a doubt. And unlike Gordan Strachans technique last season when they were favorites. We have bought proven championship quality players, not gambling on cheap Scottish imports.

    In my opinion, with it taking time to gel a squad of newly bought players, that'll catch up on us and we'll attain 5th spot (or just a play off spot) and hopefully go up through that.

    It's a rollercoaster being a Leicester fan!

  • Comment number 29.

    Fox fan here.

    I totally and utterly understand other fans hoping for us the fail miserably this season. A natural reaction born from a % of constructive thought and probably, in certain cases, much the greater % being jealousy.

    Our owners have been incredibly hands on. Top the young lad (Chief Exec) was comfortably mingling with fans during the opening day. They often speak with complete confidence about 5 year plans and beyond. They have just spent a reported £1million+ on the training ground. It's still closed until after September. 2 big Video scoreboards. Expanded the Mega Store. More deals for the fans (The other day they gave all the fans who went to a certain away fixture a free pint at the next home fixture) including a fans village. A new pitch (twice). Cleaned the outside of the stadium, new sponsors for the east stand. Additional new sponsors with image rights. Additional money for the academy and so on.

    These guys are the real deal. No show pony after a good ride without substance to back the deal. Yes, we all know it's very much a branding exercise for King Power and their market back home (Every Leicester home game is show live, apparently, on free to air channel 3 in Thailand). Most importantly though, is the constant rumour stating they're not borrowing money against the club to pay for it all. It's their own $ apparently. This is massively important and should go a little way to console the sceptics amongst the Foxes faithful.

    All in all, its a mutual venture. We get investment and thus follows the inevitable excitement and hopes for promotion. They get a ready made Prem Club with the Ground, Location, Already good training Ground, Excellent academy and 490,000 to pull crowds from and so on, for a fraction of the price to buy an existing Prem Club. Spend over £15+ Million, the club is completely re-branded and suddenly we're on TV back home at 9pm every Saturday.

    Win - Win

    (Hopefully)

    Up the foxes!!

  • Comment number 30.

    @29 DIRKSTER - from me at least, it's not jealousy. We at Wolves are already in the Premier League, and have a pretty good chance of remaining there for a while - and we've had our own takeover, though Steve Morgan does things very differently from the people who've taken over Leicester. He hasn't thrown money at the club, he hasn't bought a whole new squad, but built organically, a few players each season, with the emphasis on young players, mostly from the lower divisions, and on squad unity. It's a different approach - and I'm glad that we've done it.

    I like what you're saying about your owners putting money into the training ground and academy - I hope that also means that they won't be buying another batch of 10-12 players in January if the current lot don't cut the mustard, and another new lot in the summer if THAT lot don't get promotion. If they do, what's the point in an academy?

    We took three years to find our way to promotion - I hope your owners have the patience to keep going if you take that long.... but given their record so far, I'm not sure they will....

  • Comment number 31.

    @27
    Most liverpool fans I talk to, and yes I do come from and live in the city, believe Riise scored some great goals, everton away and United home especially come to mind, but was a poor left back and played left wing in Champs league 05 before that is mentioned. The last 18 months was appaling from when his wage slip was put on internet showing his actual pay leading to the own goal Vs chelsea in the 08 semi.

  • Comment number 32.

    A lot of what is written about 'big-spending Leicester' is so lacking in context that there's as much myth as reality in the image. What we are seeing at the moment represents, in effect, two seasons' worth of transfer activity at once.

    To begin with, those who have only recently taken an interest in our dealings are probably unaware that there was something close to a spending freeze in the summer of 2010 while Milan Mandaric sought new investors. Restricted to taking people on free transfers and at peanut prices, new manager Paulo Sousa could only tinker with the side and hope for money from the reconstituted business in time for the January window. Only about three days before the summer window closed did he receive any funds, and the only business done in that time is what now looks like the panic purchase of Martyn Waghorn (currently out on loan to Hull).

    As we now know, Sousa was fated not to be given use of that January window. He was replaced before that time by Sven Eriksson, who found himself with a £10m transfer budget *but did not use it*. Contrary to the ever-expanding legend of 'big-spending Sven', the club actually made a couple of million *profit* in that transfer window as the manager decided to make use of numerous loan offers from Premiership clubs and keep his transfer war chest for this summer.

    Many would view this, with hindsight, as a flawed plan, but be that as it may, the upshot was that at times more than half of Leicester's 11 players on the pitch were loanees, and for a number of matches the entire starting back four came from a mixture of Chelsea, Spurs and Man City. The suggestion that we should not, with money available, go out and buy a significant number of players this summer – half a dozen simply to replace returned loanees – is bizarre.

    I realise that, in a lot of people's minds, Leicester have spent about £7m on Maynard from Bristol City and another £9m on Jelavic from Rangers, but neither deal actually took place. In fact, we did not even make offers that high (the Jelavic figure seems to have been bid by Liverpool, not us). For more context, by my back of a fag packet reckoning, over three whole transfer windows Leicester's net spending is possibly a little over twice what Wolves just paid Burnley for Steven Fletcher, or less than half what Chelsea offered for Modric. To be sure, we're not penny-pinching, but other fans' howls of 'obscene' seem a touch overblown.

  • Comment number 33.

    As a Leicester fan, I'm excited to see all the new players, and some good ones too such as Konchesky, but we did not need the volume of players that we bought. I feel that the start of the season, has seen Leicester as a group of individuals, hence the results, and not a team, which was the case under Nigel Pearson. Give it time, and hopefully this group of players will gel, but it won't happen overnight. Let's just hope that if we get promoted, Sven doesn't buy another team again, because we won't get a chance to spend time gelling in the Premier League, as we'll be out before we've started.

  • Comment number 34.

    Paul, you really should sack your researchers or your standards are slipping. You mentioned PKs former clubs but no mention of the fact that he played in the first ever Europa League final and was a key player in helping Fulham to get there. That is far more worthy experience to mention than his few games with a dud Liverpool team. Sometimes I think Al Fayed has commited an unspeakable crime against the BBC as people working for it corp rarely even bother to mention Fulham or its achievements. Maybe I'm paraniod and it really is a fact that the BBC has lousy researchers!

  • Comment number 35.

    In terms of what Leicester have been able to spend in past years then we could be considered 'big spenders", but one look at the Premier League tells you otherwise. The owners have invested heavily in the club, bit just players. The infrastructure has been revamped and LCFC is a much stronger organisation as a result. Hopefully, the players who have been brought in will start to become more cohesive and the results will follow. The best news about the influx of cash is that Ade Akinbiyi is no longer the club's record buy!!!!

  • Comment number 36.

    for this division, konchesky is a very good buy. he's probably the best left back in the league.

    on paper, leicesters team look amazing . when they gel they will push up the leagues no doubt, just a question of how long it takes the team to gel. the signing of jermaine beckford will help a lot.

    good luck leicester, from your friends down the a47 in peterborough ;-)

  • Comment number 37.

    We have signed a lot of players, but the owners have put a wage structure in place which wouldn't be broken for even Yakubu. They have restructured the club invested in all areas including the training ground and academy. The players signed aren't big stars looking for a final pay cheque, most are young proven championship players and all want to be playing premier league football.

  • Comment number 38.

    Well done Paul Konchesky. Wishing Liverpool all the best and not slagging them off like too many ex players have done e.g. Meireles.
    It didn't work out but that happens sometimes. Good luck at Leicester.

 

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