One of the presents I got last Christmas was ‘Got Not Got! The Lost World of Leicester City‘ which is co-written by Gary Silke who is the editor of ‘The Fox‘; the long running City fanzine that’s been going for 27 years! This excellent book is crammed full of pictures and stuff from a time before Sky Sports and modern-day football when things were more simple. I was so impressed that I fairly quickly purchased the Norwich City version for my dad for his birthday.
Inspired by this, I dug out and photographed as many Leicester City items as I could find lying in boxes and suitcases at my parents place. The majority of the items were my old replica shirts (they will get their own entry at a later date) but on top of that I also had programmes, videos, records, tapes, fanzines, books, Leicester Mercury newspapers, magazine cuttings, posters, sticker books, cigarette cards, bugs (above), hats, mugs, a scarf and so on.
I remember having a Leicester City comb and towel in the very early 80’s but they sadly failed to escape the bin-men back in the day so first up are the old Panini football sticker albums. My first one was the 1984 version which in my memory came out in 1983 at the start of the 83-84 season and the reason for starting to collect football stickers was not as straightforward as one may think.
I actually went into our local newsagent to spend my pocket money on some Star Wars stickers for the ‘Return Of The Jedi‘ album I’d acquired from somewhere. However, the shopkeeper had no Star Wars stickers and the only stickers left were football ones. I just wanted stickers and didn’t really care what they were so decided to get the football ones and there was no looking back after that. It is possible that that one moment is responsible for me becoming obsessed with the beautiful game these last 31 years!
My first Leicester match was a 2-1 home victory over rivals Nottingham Forest in May 1984 and the matchday programme (above) of that game still causes debate among friends as to whether it’s Ian Wilson or Andy Peake on the cover. I’m sure it’s the former but others are not so sure!
Anyway, I continued the sticker collection and the Football 85 and 86 albums (below) followed and I think I continued suit until around 1990 when I gave up on stickers.
The Bukta kits of 1990-1992 heralded in a new era of stylish shirts and at a time when shell suits were popular I was lucky enough to combine the two with this number. That fashion came and went and a few years later drill tops were the order of the day and this Fox Leisure one was quite popular with fans, particularly at our school. Neither item seems too appealing now!
The Fox fanzine has been going since 1987 not that I really got on board till about 1990 (albeit initially with a couple of issues photocopied by a mate!) and I still continue to get every issue to this day. Below are some of the earliest issues I have as well as the bigger sized summer specials.
Churchgate in Leicester used to have a shop called Turnstile which stocked all kinds of City-related merchandise in the early 90’s including my trusted beanie hat and a Cheat Fell Over t-shirt featuring David Speedie who eventually became a Leicester player just over a year after his dive for Kenny Dalghlish’s Blackburn Rovers denied us in the Play Off Final of 1992.
In the mid-nineties a few other rival fanzines appeared on the market (even I wrote a couple!) with the most successful competitor being called ‘Where’s The Money Gone?‘ which was a humorous p*ss-taking publication high on jokes but quite low on content! It used to only ever take 5-10 minutes to read it cover to cover!
The picture of my mugs (above) got a fair bit of response when I posted it on Facebook a few months ago. I was given the one on the left in the late 80’s/early 90’s and the commercial and marketing department were certainly creative with the club’s honours list which is displayed on the mug. It is covered with audacious boasts like being FA Cup Finalists four times, playing in Round 2 of the European Cup Winners Cup and winning the Charity Shield in 1971!! True! Even though Arsenal did the double they declined to take part so Division two Champions Leicester were invited to play it and managed to beat Liverpool!
From 1985 till about 1993 my dad bought me Match football weekly magazine each and every week. Most of them were binned many years ago but I did keep a few select pages relating to Leicester’s most famous son. He’s probably more famous these days for flogging spuds, presenting Match Of The Day and tweeting but Gary Lineker was a legendary goalscorer for England and he just happened to start his career with Leicester City. He was in pretty lethal form in those early days when I saw him playing up front with Alan Smith and almost took it for granted that one of them would score! Times certainly changed after they left! After a few big money transfers Lineker moved to Japan in 1992 to join Nagoya Grampus Eight and the feature below has a fact filled and fun guide to Japan, the city of Nagoya and the inaugural J-League. I’d hardly even heard of Japan at that stage in my life so it is highly likely that this article taught me everything I know about the country.
My Leicester City Replica Shirt Collection can be seen here (link will appear soon…)