We thought as the final article in the series looking back at our Premier League title win, our board members would give their individual memories of the time, starting with our newest board member
My overwhelming feeling was one of disbelief, which has never really gone away. Little old Leicester City, mixing it with the big boys! And the enormous pride in my club, who became known to the whole world – and some even learnt how to pronounce it! I have not lived in Leicester for 30 years and I was astonished by the number of people locally who spoke to me when I was in town, phoned or emailed to congratulate me. As if I did anything but turn up to support the team! Where I live, most people support one of the London teams, with a preponderance of Arsenal and Spurs fans, but with the odd one who supports Watford and a few Luton supporters. I didn’t know how many people knew who my team is, so I must have talked about them more than I realised! Now, we just have to win the FA Cup and wouldn’t it be ironic if this was our year when we can’t see the match live?
Dave & Di Statham
Saturday 7 May 2016, we arrived at the ground around 12.00pm. As we approached the stadium there was already a carnival atmosphere. Our seats are in the Keith Weller seating area which meant access was available to the inside of the stadium earlier than in other areas.
We chose to go straight in which proved to be a good idea as it meant that we were inside the ground as Andrea Bocelli went through his rehearsal. Even in an empty stadium his voice filled the air and sent chills down the spine.
By the time of the kick off the atmosphere inside the stadium was amazing. The one fear as we kicked off was that all the celebrations during the week may take the toll and we lose the game. This was such a significant day so we did not want it to be spoilt by a disappointing result, even if it did not really matter anymore. The fears were unfounded as the team once again gave their all and produced another good win.
Then came the moment we had all been waiting for. The game was just the support act to the “big event”. As Birchy walked out holding the trophy our thoughts went to dad Ken who passed away in 2011. He had followed Leicester City since the 1940’s and had witnessed 4 FA Cup Final defeats at Wembley. Yes he finally saw them win a Trophy at Wembley in 2000 but this was the ultimate and he would have been so thrilled to have witnessed this day. (I am sure he was watching with pride from above).
As Wes lifted the Trophy to the sky and the fireworks exploded we stood in our seats in a daze. Was this really happening ? – Did Leicester City REALLY win the Premier League ?
Even now when we see replays of the presentation or see photographs there is still a feeling of doubt as to whether it was all just a beautiful dream.
Who would have thought it? My LEICESTER CITY winning the premier league. I never ever thought in a million years that I would live to see that happen. From gathering together as a family before the match, including my cousin who had come over from Birmingham just to be there, to the hairs on the back of the neck when Andrea Bocelli sang, singing and using the clappers during the match and the intense heat from the fires of the celebrations….Wow, unbelievable, fantastic, awesome, amazing, incredible, marvellous, astounding…these words just don’t describe what and how much that day meant to me. I will remember it for the rest of my life!
Meanwhile Colin Murrant has gone all poetic….
Dreams come true
Two Thousand young fans from Italy came,
And joined the parties down The Lanes.
They sang, like we did, to the Ground
Where there was more tumultuous sound.
Friends and fans we’d known for years
Hugging, unashamed tears.
Passed Filbert Street, forever home
Bocelli, all the way from Rome.
The Gospel Choir, the TV crews
Around the World, Foxes made the news.
Through Guard of Honour, the Foxes head
Our heroes by Captain Morgan led.
The match result, it mattered not,
Toffees ne’er going to spoil the plot.
First sunshine, then came the rain
Vardy, King, Vardy again.
Then the moment we had waited for,
With Vichai, Top and millions more.
Finally, the Trophy raised to the sky
Claudio and Wesley held it high.
King Power awash with White and Blue
The day surreal, wildest dreams come true.
We laughed, we cheered, we sang, we cried
To scenes played out before our eyes.
Wondrous memories that will never fade,
Premier League Trophy on base of Jade
Greatest sports achievement by far
“Champions of England”, we know what we are.
My diary entry for 2 May 2016 simply reads, in capital letters, ‘Leicester City Become Premier League Champions’. That evening had begun with nervous anticipation. I live in London and was finding it difficult to get tickets to matches post-Christmas so, as per usual, was tuning in to the Chelsea v Tottenham match, in the hope a rival blue army might do us a favour. At half time, with Spurs 2-0 up, my attention waivered, it was going to be a nail biter to end of the season. The sudden excitement of the commentator’s voice, as Eden Hazard weaved toward goal drew me back in. ‘Goal’ 2-2 – and soon my world exploded into a barrage of texts, emails and phone calls of congratulations.
Out of superstition, I had decided not to buy a ticket for the Everton game – just in case! As I was unable to go, a good mate asked me down to Bath to see the final Tigers game of the season. Although the Tigers lost, by the time we got to the pub, the TVs were a glow with City’s triumphal celebrations at the KP – the drinks were definitely on me.
My two main memories of the day we lifted the trophy were before entering the ground and the trophy presentation ceremony
I’ve never seen so many fans outside the ground hours before kick off and it was hugs all round, with fellow fans I’ve known for many years even to those I’ve never met before, all in the party spirit. It was good to see former club chaplain, Bruce Nadin, back in the country to celebrate and within moments of meeting suddenly we were being filmed by a TV camera crew with a rendition of the Ranieri song alongside a couple of USA visitors
After the game, with the sight of Birch carrying out the Premier League Trophy, my mind flashed back to late 2002 where Birch stood in the Great Hall at the launch of the Foxes Trust and offered to help in anyway he could. As the Trust board put in many hours and played our part in saving the club from extinction with the hope of returning to the Premier League one day, now was the reward for all those efforts adding an extra sense of pride as the trophy was raised to the sky.
Growing up with football from the mid to late 70’s, all I ever dreamed about was two things:
1) LCFC winning the league (old first division and then latterly the Premier League)
2) England winning the World Cup
Knowing the former was always beyond reality, I put all my faith in the former and so every year from 1982 onwards it was always going to be ‘our year’ – so imaging my total ecstasy when ‘that’ goal went in for Chelsea meaning we’ve won the league … my unachievable ‘plan a’ dream becoming reality – surely not?
Despite partying at the stadium that night and then doing numerous press interviews at the stadium up to the Everton Game, the reality simply hadn’t sunk in.
On that day, the party atmosphere, the noise of the concourse, the noise in the ground, the amazing voice of Andrea Bocelli singing, the win … all just seemed like I was still in a boyhood dream, until big Wes lifted the trophy, that was the magical moment when the 5000-1 dream came a reality for me.
Did I shed a tear? You bet I did.