Ever since my 8th birthday I have regularly been getting the latest replica Leicester City replica shirts as worn by my heroes….as well as some less-liked players of course! Back in 1985 I spent £5 on what was already a dated Admiral away shirt (below) by the time I got home!
Days later I got the new home one (above) for £10. The 1987-88 home shirt was a one season wonder put out by Admiral who knew their contract was coming to an end. Walkers Crisps had their name splashed across the front of the shirt (below) which was an appealing one for a ten year old who never really knew what previous sponsors Ind Coope and John Bull were!
For the Scoreline shirts of the 1988-1990 (above) era I decided to take a break from yet another blue top and went for the away red one as I was too young to know that wearing the colour of our local rivals Nottingham Forest was not the best idea! For the latter season the club badge moved to the side with the manufacturers badge alongside it rather than on the arms like in its initial season.
From 1990 to 1992 Bukta were the manufacturers of a couple of popular shirts (below) which I must have obviously rated highly at the time to justify getting both!
The club-produced Fox Leisure (below) took over the production from the 1992-93 season onwards as blue shorts were also introduced as replacement for the white shorts I was used to.
For the Martin O’Neill Premier League years, Fox Leisure were still in charge of Leicester’s kit (below) which brought about our most successful period as we had four consecutive top ten finishes and three League Cup Final appearances.
The decline set in with these Le Coq Sportif shirts during the Peter Taylor reign although things started mightily well at the start of the 2000-2001 season. When I left the UK to travel around Australasia in February 2001 Leicester were lying 4th and things were going well but after a shock FA Cup quarter final defeat to lowly Wycombe the wheels fell off spectacularly.
For the 2001-2002 season, the shirt was the same but the sponsor changed with LG Electronics taking over from Walkers (below) long association with the club. The season was a disaster and City were relegated wearing this shirt in their final ever season at Filbert Street.
LG severed their their ties with Leicester after just a couple of seasons but the latter one (below) was successful (on the field) as the Foxes bounced back to the Premier League at the first attempt with Micky Adams at the helm.
Alliance & Leicester (above) took over the sponsorship for our return to the top flight but as the season was coming to an end City’s chances of staying up faded like the sponsor eventually did on my shirt!
As eBay became more and more popular in the mid-2000’s I snapped up a pair of away shirts at low prices a few years after they were released. The reversible Fosse Gold (below) was released in 2004 to mark the not-so important 120th anniversary of our club.
City had their first black shirt (below) after that one for a couple of seasons. Although there had been a couple of one season wonders previously, a two year cycle for each shirt was still the norm but that changed for good in the 2005-06 season when the “one season = one kit” system was implemented. I went four seasons without purchasing a shirt and was more than satisfied with my old 1982 shirt (below) which my first retro shirt since I had the 1971 top when I was at high school.
In 2011-12 Sven Goran Eriksson signed a Japanese player called Yuki Abe and so halfway through the season I got the home shirt with Abe 22 on the back (below) for Christmas. It proved to be a fairly disastrous decision as less than a month later his contract was cancelled by mutual consent and he returned to Japan to play again for Urawa Reds.
That was to be the end of me buying shirts…or so I thought! After a ten year absence from the Premier League we were back in the top flight for the 2014-15 season (below) and I couldn’t resist it.
Nostalgia got the better of me last January when I saw that my first ever shirt (above) was on sale in the club shop complete with Ind Coope sponsor (which my child’s one never had) and in a size that would fit me. A perfect way to go full circle and bring an end to this habit of buying shirts? That would’ve been a nice tale but then the Foxes signed another Japanese player and a far more prominent one this time. I knew I had to get this one and with Okazaki’s name and number on the back too and the picture (below) with one of my students even appeared in Japan’s number one (English language) soccer magazine!
Whilst in Cambodia last August, I was delighted to see some fake Leicester shirts for the first time on my travels around South-East Asia where such shirts are common place albeit usually only the big European teams. However, a shop in Sorya Shopping Centre in Phnom Penh was selling Leicester ones (below) and so I bought one for my wife (shorts were also included!) for a fraction of the price ($4.40 or £2.90 if you prefer!) that it cost to get the real one. Many of my Twitter followers actually said they thought the fake one was better!
For a far superior gallery of Leicester City match worn shirts, take a look at the incredible collection of a guy called Rob at www.leicestercitymatchworn.com
Click here to see ‘My Leicester City Memorabilia’