Leicester City – Premier League Champions!

Ivan Vardy

Football was always important to my dad and from about the time I was old enough he to take me to Filbert Street to watch Leicester City.  The first game I saw was against Blackburn Rovers in April 1965 and Leicester won 2-0.   The team photo below is from around about that time and is one of many in the Scrap Book.

I think I can remember them all: Back Row: Riley, Norman, Cross, Banks, McLintock. Front Row: King, Appleton, Gibson, Stringfellow and squatting down  Sjoberg.

I can recall quite clearly going to the matches in my blue and white hand knitted scarf and bobble hat because this always involved a long walk of about three miles there and three miles back.  Very close to my grandparents house there was a bus stop with a direct service into the city but dad rather cunningly always started out for the match at a time that was certain not to coincide with the bus timetable.  I never caught on to this little trick of course and he had a very brisk walking pace that required me to run along side him just to keep up as he strode out ahead.   It turns out that dad just didn’t like paying bus fares which he considered to be an unnecessary expense.

Foxes in the Derby Pen

In the past dad must have seen some football ups and downs because Leicester were always a club who were not quite good enough to stay in the first division (the Premiership) and just a bit too good for the second division (the Championship) so they were up and down like a yo-yo.  The year that I was born, 1954, was a good year, he must have been happy when City were promoted as second division champions in May just beating Everton to the title by .3 on goal difference.  Their biggest win was 9-2 against Lincoln and their biggest crowd was 51,811, against Everton, I wonder if he was there in the crowd that day cheering them on?

The FA cup was always disappointing and I can remember 1961 when  Leicester reached the FA cup final for the second time and were beaten 2-0 by Tottenham Hotspur who did the league and cup double that year.  Full back Len Chalmers broke his leg early on and they had to play most of the match with ten men because they didn’t have substitutes in those days.  They reached the cup final again in 1963 and lost to Manchester United and again in 1969 and lost to Manchester City.  They had been there before in 1949 and lost to Wolves and this means that they have the unenviable record of being the only team to reach four FA cup finals and lose them all.

There were some good times though, especially when they won the League Cup twice in the 1990s and the best moment of all when they beat Derby County at Wembley in 1994 with two Steve Walsh goals to get promotion to the Premiership.  We had tickets and went to Wembley for the match and he was really happy that day.

My granddad Ted, wearing Blue of course – another lifelong City Fan…

Ted Petcher c1974

Football grounds were totally different to the all seater stadiums that we are used to now and were predominantly standing affairs.  I was only a little lad so it was important to go early to get a good spot on the wall just behind and to the left of the goal with room to swing my heavy wooden rattle.  This required an early arrival and although matches didn’t start until three o’clock dad used to get us there for the opening of the gates at about one.

This must have required great patience on his part because two hours is a long time to wait for a football match to start standing on cold concrete terracing and I really didn’t appreciate at the time that all of this was done just for me.  In the 1960s of course it was common to have pre-match entertainment when local marching bands would give a thirty minute medley of tunes up until kick off time so at least there was something to watch.

In 2002 Leicester City replaced the Filbert Street ground with a modern new ground close by and called it the Walkers Stadium after the club sponsers.  The last time that I watched Leicester City play with my dad was sometime in the Spring of 2003 when we went to the new ground to see a match.  I don’t remember the opponents or the score and I haven’t been since because he died in October that year and going to football matches without him would just never seem the same.

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39 responses to “Leicester City – Premier League Champions!

  1. Shows how bad the standard of football is in this country when people like Schlupp, Albrighton and Morgan can call themselves premier league winners. Having said that, well deserved and congrats. Vardy, Mahrez and Kante were good and team spirit amazing. Shades of Wimbledon in the late’80s!

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  2. Congrats all round! My husband and son texted last night-the news full of it.

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  3. I remember the Cup Final of 1961 and what goes around, comes around. Your Dad sounds very, very like my dad with that two hour wait on the concrete terraces. I went to Ashby-de-la-Zouche Grammar School with David Nish, but he was a little bit older than me. I was good mates with a goalkeeper called John Hodges who played for Leicester Reserves for a few years but who then got injured and was replaced permanently by this young upstart called Shilton. It is excellent news that LCFC have won this. I get so, so sick of the same few global corporations winning it year upon year upon year.

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    • I just hope that my dad was watching last night, he endured 60 years of inevitable disappointment following the City! They should have won in it 1963 but the big freeze led to severe fixture congestion and they eventually ran out of steam.

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  4. As regards the £100 bet you placed before the beginning of the season on LCFC winning the Premiership , will you be sharing the proceeds with your readers?

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  5. Did you put a tenner on at 5000:1?

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  6. Who would have thought it……

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  7. As italian I can assure that we fallen in love with Leicester team fairy tale: I think that’s a great plot for a sport movie! ;D

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  8. It’s been big news even here in Canada! Congrats and I can only imagine the joy of the win.

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  9. The sport definitely evokes passions! 🙂 –Curt

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  10. Congratulations! They shocked the world. Even those of us who do not understand the game can understand the significance of this championship.

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  11. I do wish I’d put that bet on them winning the Premier League. You must be delighted with the result, Andrew, and I’m sure your Dad would have been as well. Let’s hope they are not a one-hit wonder and go down next season. They’ve certainly shown how money is not the only way to win the Premier League. That’s a real pleasure to see.

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  12. Leicester have had some great players over the years and had a very good team under O’Neill. Their achievement this year is miraculous. It is like all the omens converged together at the right time for Leicester to have a very good team and the so called giants to all have indifferent ones. I think the O’Neill was similar – organised and some very good individuals like Izzet, Elliot, Walsh, Claridge, Lennon, Savage etc – no world beaters but they gelled as a unit and were extremely hard to beat. Football in England is all the better for their triumph. I know what you mean about watching with Dad. My Dad is a Hammer and is 80. We went to a farewell game at Upton Park this year – so very special. Looking forward to one at the Olympic Stadium next year. Well done on the prem and good luck I the CL – nobody will like playing you.

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  13. The Brora branch of Leicester exiles is still on cloud nine. And a tanker has been spotted travelling the Highlands of Scotland with the club logo on the back. Its a wonderful time to be Foxes fan. Thank you Claudio and your band of brothers for making it so. Barcelona – we’re coming for you…………

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  14. Pingback: North Yorkshire – Leyburn, Middleham, Yorkshire Day and Richard III | Have Bag, Will Travel

  15. Pingback: North Yorkshire – Middleham Town Twinned with Agincourt | Have Bag, Will Travel

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