My Team & I: Leicester City

By David Bevan

Twitter: @the72football


Why Leicester?

My Dad took me along to Filbert Street when I was 5. We were garbage at the time and the football was often the least exciting aspect of the day. I liked the car journey (by bright yellow Morris Marina). I liked the pre-match pub (the Victory). I liked the cartoon on the back of the programme (Mitty of the City, a kind of Roy Race-type character whose goalscoring ability was reliant on eating packets of crisps). I liked being a Junior Fox (fan club membership for kids, the highlight of which involved a match between about a handful of first-team players and about 200 kids in an indoor sports hall at the training ground). The matches were a bit of an afterthought and that’s often true again these days, especially with away games. I was 7 years old when we went on our first Wembley trip in 1992 and we went back almost every year until I was 15 for various play-off finals and League Cup finals. There was never going to be anyone else.

Favourite player?

Favourite player ever is Muzzy Izzet. – – Favourite current player is Andy King. They are similar in a lot of ways – both good all-round midfielders with a knack for goalscoring. The other similarity is their incredible maturity both on and off the pitch at a young age. King has his faults – he has a tendency to go missing in some of the bigger matches, for example – but he very rarely gives the ball away, his decision-making is superb and he is the best finisher I have ever seen at the club. I just hope and pray that he signs the new deal that is currently on the table and stays with us for years to come. He came through the Academy setup after being released by Chelsea at the age of 15 and seems to love the club. One of the main reasons we need to gain promotion is simply so that we can hang onto him.

Favourite game?

We didn’t even win it, but it felt like we did. Dennis Bergkamp scored one of the best hat-tricks ever seen in English football, but Steve Walsh equalised in the 97th minute to make it 3-3. I think it was after this game that Arsene Wenger said we were the best team in Europe from set pieces, which felt like a real compliment at the time. We were operating on the proverbial shoestring compared to the likes of Arsenal but we often traded blows with the big boys in that spell in the top flight, winning at Old Trafford, Anfield and Stamford Bridge. We never quite managed to win at Highbury during that period, but the feeling when Walsh’s header went in rendered that meaningless. And you very rarely see headed one-twos from corners…

Favourite strip?

In my time, the Bukta kit from the early 90s. Silky smooth against your skin in only the way that early 90s football kits could be, it also featured the old running fox motif which was a million times better than the current club crest. Before that, the famous (among Leicester fans) Ind Coope pinstripe effort from the early 1980s.

Worst thing about being a Leicester fan?

There will always be opposition supporters pointing out that we don’t have any “proper rivals” (yawn) or that we’ve never won the League or FA Cup, as if they are in some way responsible for their club’s success in the 1920s. Yes, well done.

Funniest moment?

My mate drunkenly doing the entire 12 Days of Ormondroyd (as the title implies, the 12 Days of Christmas but in tribute to Ian Ormondroyd) stood up on his own in a sleepy corner of the Walkers during a routine 2-0 win over Barnsley a few years ago. He would have done it sober, to be fair. There have been plenty of funny moments over the years but that’s the one that sticks out for some reason. Oh, or the Cheryl Cole chants on the tube after an away game at Chelsea (they weren’t the usual ones…)

Favourite moment?

The moment the teams came out on the evening we played Atletico Madrid at Filbert Street in September 1997. I’d gone from seeing the club look likely to slip into the third tier on the last day of the season in May 1991 to European football in little over six years. The atmosphere was incredible, more tickertape than the 1978 World Cup and Christian Vieri literally put one shot out of the ground, over the old North Stand. Bet that never happened to him at the Vicente Calderon. It all ended in tears, with Garry Parker given a second yellow card for taking a free kick too quickly and two late goals on the break sending us out of the competition, but I’m used to glorious failure. That’s the one thing we do better than anyone.


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