Story by Robin Popley
As a boy I used to dream I would one day see either Matt Elliot or Steve Walsh holding aloft the FA Cup at Wembley. I dreamt that Muzzy Izzet would score the bicycle kick that would seal Leicester City’s FIRST league title in front of a crowded Filbert Street and that Martin O’Neill would stay as our manager forever…
Alas. How rarely our dreams convert themselves into reality!
Yet, like a fool, I continually kid myself that this year, could, be our year: admist the backdrop of another season’s fixture release. Just think – my fellow Foxes – Nigel Pearson embracing Ben Marshall after scoring YET ANOTHER screamer to seal promotion and, with it, the Championship title. Statistically it could happen. Quite easily infact. Nigel is our best manager since, you know who, and he delivered success before. In his first year with the club, he bought us the League 1 crown, before taking the City to within a Yann Kermogant penalty of Wembley. Yet, I tentatively hope. The reason being in the nine year absence since our last Premiership appearance, we have seen more managers than hot dinners and moreover, have been to Yeovil more than Anfield or Old Trafford. In any other capacity, a break up may be required. Take for instance the scenario of a boyfriend and girlfriend who fall in and out of love as frequently as Tim Henman took Britons to the verge of a Wimbledon final. A crass but valid analogy.
Nevertheless, we must all ask ourselves year on year, would we want it any other way? The answer: most certainly not.
It is not only we Leicester City supporters who hold these same pre-season ambitions. Every football fan, up and down the country, will look at their domestic fixture lists with some sort of hope. Even if realistic expectation for the season is just to avoid relegation, in the back of your mind, you always hope for something more. Then you ask yourself once again: will this be our year?
I take the example of Southampton last season, and Norwich, the season before that. Very few football commentators and pundits had given either of them a realistic shot at promotion. Yet, against the script, they came out from day one and performed with exemplary ability, exceeding all expectations and in the end, duly being rewarded for their efforts.
For those Leicester City supporters, like myself, it’s been a long nine years of turmoil. Relegation to League 1 and the heartache that came with it. The ecstasy of returning to the Championship at our first attempt: namely thanks to the contributions of Matty Fryatt and Andy King. The jubilation which reverberated around the – then – Walkers Stadium, courtesy of ‘that’ goal from Steven Howard, which forever lives long in the memory. And of course, who could forget, good ol’ NP!
So, I ask myself, yet again: will this be our year? Finally?
(In a whisper) I certainly do hope so!