Yakubu: The Marmite of Leicester City
Yakubu is like Marmite. No, not in the sense that he’s an inanimate object. Nor that he is a round, heavy tub. Leicester fans either love him or hate him. Or view him with mild indifference… Anyway, goals have dried up for the Yak in recent weeks. The accompanying backlash has not been far behind, which was inevitable given his trumpeted arrival on big money. David Cockcroft mounts a spirited defence of the smiling assassin who has misplaced his rifle…
His arrival brought hope. Optimism shed through the clear ambitions the club had announced to the Championship. Leicester City had signed a goal scorer, a proven one in the elite at that. ‘Feed the Yak’ shouted the crowds. ‘Feed the Yak and he will score’. The city was awash with a new found belief that this could be the season. After a horrendous start to the 2010/2011 campaign, a new regime came in, a Swedish-led revolt against what had become an early relegation scare. Big loan names followed the appointment, but none bigger than Yakubu.
However, three months later and it seems the fans want to see the Yak go back. Yakubu has failed to hit the net now in his last six games, a run of form that has mirrored that of his team, who have just won once during this period. Leicester’s last six outings have included some big tests against other promotion hopefuls, namely Cardiff City, Queen’s Park Rangers, Norwich City and Portsmouth. All of which the Foxes have lost.
It is these results that have seen the club fall away from the top six charge they mounted so bravely and they now sit five points shy of the promotion placings in eleventh. The fans are pointing fingers and if they are not focused on under fire Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo, Yakubu is the next in line to feel their glare. A strike rate of 1 in 3 at Leicester doesn’t seem so unacceptable, especially from someone who has 78 Premier League goals to his name – a tally that sees Yakubu placed in 36th in the all time Premiership goal scoring charts.
So is the bad feeling towards the Nigerian really warranted? Is it not a little harsh?
Yakubu’s loss of form in front of goal has come during the team’s blip, which has seen Leicester lose significant ground in the promotion race. As we say, if you feed the Yak he will score. If he is not being fed, the anguished taunts toward him seem a little hypocritical. But maybe that’s just the way us Leicester fans are bred. We like a trier and if someone isn’t scoring we at least want a shift putting in.
If we reminisce through the years and pick out fans’ favourites, names such as Steve Walsh, Matt Elliott and Steve Claridge are the general response you can expect. With all due respect to each of these Leicester City legends, it wasn’t their panache that we adored or appreciated. They were 100 percenters, everything was on the line with them and the Leicester public takes players like this to their hearts in an instance.
And this is where I see the Yakubu problem. He’s not a workhorse like present fans’ favourite Steve Howard – he’s a poacher, a sniffer and a good one at that. Yakubu is not going to run all day for you. He’s on the shoulder of the last man, an opportunist and a hungry one that needs feeding. Can we not put the suggestion out there that the team’s loss of form over the last six games is causing the goal drought of the Yak? How can the Yak score if he’s not being fed?
Leicester’s latest defeat at the hands of a visiting Portsmouth side again saw Yakubu draw a blank. But with his only shot on goal, admittedly a poor one, being carved out by himself, it just reiterates the fact that his teammates aren’t supplying him with the ammunition he needs to silence his growing number of critics.
Yakubu recently stated his desire to make his stay at the Walkers Stadium a more permanent one if the club were to achieve their initial aims of promotion. With those aspirations now hanging by a thread, it’s unclear whether the Nigerian will be as willing to stay on in the East Midlands for another dose of Championship football.
Whether the Leicester fans actually want him to is another matter.