To be a Leicester City fan is not always
fantastic, but you have to follow your team and if you remember why and
when you became a fan, than the names of Jimmy Bloomfield and Martin
O'Neill comes to mind
Most fans remember the days of MON and what the team achieved out on the
field, but we also remember what went on behind the schenes and we all
know that the club was under constant speculation about the ownership at
Martin George and John Elsom were chairman at the club and managed to
support MON in a way was hazard with the future of the club, and at the
same time a gamble that could have been one of the best in the history
Money was not always available and banking connection made it possible
for City to buy the players Martin O'Neill wanted, but he also had to
sell to get what he wanted. But during MON's time Leicester was not
looked up on as a selling club, before Emile Heskey jumped ship and just
months after MON was also on his way.
Peter Taylor was allowed to use the money that was gained from the sale
of Emile Heskey. The team that MON fielded against Sunderland in that
memorable 5-2 win on the 5th of March 2000, was one that could have gone
all the way.
Peter Taylor hit the top of the Premier League in October 2000, and with
MON and Emile Heskey both gone,that showed the quality of the squad.
Taylor never managed to bring things forward and despite being reluctant
to selling Neil Lennon he did, and that was really the end.
Lennon, Heskey and MON was the engine, but they never really believed as
much as the fans did. The fact that the club had signed one of the most
gifted players in England at the time, Stan Collymore, made this even
MON would probably have managed to get the best out of Stan The Man, but
when MON jumped ship it was clear that the honeymoon was over for Stan,
and he left shortly after and joined Bradford.
City also experienced a great period under Jimmy Bloomfield in the early
and mid 70's. Jimmy took over from Frank O'Farrell who was tempted by
Man Utd, and a young adspiring former Arsenal star was given the task to
Bloomfield started his rebuilding of Leicester City and the team became
influenced by London based players brought into the club by Bloomfield.
Jon Sammels arrived from Arsenal, Keith Weller from Chelsea and Alan
Birchenall was signed from Crystal Palace.
The way Bloomfield wanted to play football was of course something that
entertained the fans, but also a bit risky in a way that made
Bloomfield's team "The Nearly Men", reaching the semi-final in the FA
Cup in 1974 and ending in the top 10 in a couple of seasons.
But during the days of Bloomfield it was also difficult times, when in
1975 close to the relegation zone, went back to London to sign Chris
Garland from Chelsea and Jeff Blockley from Arsenal, both signings
tunred out to be gold and helped City away from the relegation zone.>
The problem during the days of Bloomfield was also that a number of
players didn't really want to play for Leicester City. Peter Shilton was
eager to get away and joined Stoke in1974. Keith Weller went on a strike
after a move to Norwich failed and rumours were always there about Frank
The squad never really looked fully settled. Bloomfield performed
miracles and must be described as a wizard in the transfer market,
selling on a high and buying players for smaller fees.
His first big sale was David Nish, who joined Derby in 1972 for a fee of
£ 250 000, a new English record. Then he went back to his former club
Orient and signed Dennis Rofe for £ 110 000. A signing that worked
wonders and Rofe stayed for the next 8 years, leaving the club in 1980.
Ali Brown and Rod Fern both left the club, both proven forwards. Fern
joined Luton and Brown moved to WBA. A certain Frank Worthington arrived
shortly after from Huddersfield. A player that during his years with
City became an English international and also top goalscorer in the top
Worthington, Weller and Shilton all played for England at the same time,
representing Leicester City. To have three players in an England team is
just fantastic, and it all happened under the management of Jimmy
Steve Whitworth later also made his England debut, in 1975 against West
Germany. During the time Jimmy Bloomfield was in charge, Leicester had 6
players in the England squad, including David Nish who never played at
full international level while at Leicester, but was a squad member and
later while at Derby made his debut.
In 1974, against Scotland, Wales and N Ireland, Weller, Shilton, Nish
and Worthington all played in the same team. Nish was then at Derby but
all of them had played under Jimmy Bloomfield at Leicester City.
Bloomfield made a signing in 1973 that for TCF was so special, since the
player, Steve Earle, made his debut for City against Tottenham, and the
game was a live game on Norwegian telly, and as the history books says,
Leicester hammered Spurs 3-1.
Steve Earle was a player that had stayed faithful to Fulham for so many
seasons, but he had spent some time out of the limelight with Fulham
playing at the 2nd tier. The move to Leicester worked fantastic and
Earle must be described as a hit.
Bloomfield sold a number of good players for high fees, which included
David Nish, Bob Lee, Chris Garland and Peter Shilton.
If Bloomfield could have been allowed to build and not sell he could
have brought City back to the hights of the 20's and 60's when the club
had some fantastic seasons in the top flight, ending 2nd in the 1928/29
season (higest league position in history) and in the 1962-63 season
ending 4th after chasing the double, also losing the FA Cup final to Man
Bloomfield and MON made the most of their management at Leicester City
despite not being supported as well as they could have, and that is
really the story of the club, when everything looks like flying to the
sky, it falls down like to the ground like lightening.
NP is in charge now, City are on the 2nd tier, dreaming about a life in
the top, so please be supportive and for the current owners it is
crucial to be able to invest at the right time and not make too many
mistakes on the road to the top, because then when you reach the "land
of promise", you will not be able to stay were you would love to be.