Lunch with Foxes!

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Fire up the tandem, clean your teeth, put on the cycle helmet — we are heading to Stamford Bridge!

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Last mile of the journey had to be by cab. Present at the ready, including a book about how Richard III’s reburial sparked Leicester’s success on the pitch

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Meeting our new friends. Charlotte and her father Colin Hood. Lunch at the Bluebird, down the end of the Kings Road. A chance for me and Martha to quiz two Leicester fans about their incredible team — find out how they did it — and congratulate them

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The only problem — do we sit outside? The day was such a scorcher. We held our nerve, just like Leicester, and stayed at the table in the sun. Charlotte, 8, and Martha, 12, seemed to get on really well — they kept going off to look in clothes shops

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Colin catches up with his wife Diane on Facetime. It was Diane who put the Hoods’ name into the draw after I said I’d love to celebrate the Premiership win with a Foxes dad & daughter who go to the footie just like me and Martha. Colin and Charlotte say it’s team spirit and great footballers that clinched it for LCFC — and Colin had a lot of praise for the last manager, Nigel Pearson, who put the players in place and got them out of the relegation zone last season

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Two fashionistas on their way down the Kings Road. I explained how, in its far more grubby days in the 70s, it was the headquarters of punk. Elvis Costello’s ‘I Don’t Want To Go To Chelsea’ was a repudiation of the way punk seemed to be like a clique centred here (ok, it’s true, I can bring music into anything)

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Nearly there. Colin is a stonemason whose first career was as a turf expert, with a special focus on sports pitches: so he explained a lot of fascinating things about the progress we’ve made in laying good turf. Ignore the pub name

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We’re close to the Chelsea turf now, and Colin’s friends have arrived with the tickets they need for the game. This is a relief: he will see the game!

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The most eccentric Leicester fans are the biggest stars. Everyone wants to say well done. A Leicester shirt is now an invitation to be spoken to and congratulated. That’s what 5,000-to-one odds do for you

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I have never seen a welcome like this for an away team in 20 years of going to the Bridge! The start of the game. Chelsea’s players form a receiving line to congratulate the Foxes. Claudio Ranieri (who was our manager and a fine, interesting, gentle guy) gets a massive roar

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He used to stand in the rectangle on the left. Now he’s an away manager he is in the space on the right. But it hardly matters. I took this from my seat, delighted to see Ranieri there

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Leicester pull one back — a scorcher from Drinkwater. This is actually good because he’s a player that Colin, Charlotte, Martha and I spoke about over lunch. Martha was convinced Drinkwater was a made-up name. I also enjoyed seeing Mahrez play: very light and lithe for a striker, but with a delicate touch

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All in all it’s been an incredible day — heart-warming that Chelsea fans felt so good about Leicester’s league victory. We have our own rebuilding job to do now! Martha and I had a great time speaking to Colin and Charlotte, and a memorable lunch in the sunshine … and yes, we have promised to support Leicester in the Champions League next season. For as long as our own team aren’t present!

Congratulations to all Foxes fans

 

3 Comments

  • Susan Hall says:

    Lovely story Jeremy. You are such a nice guy, love your radio show, and of course Eggheads. Keep up the good work!

  • David Levitt says:

    A nice story and photos and perfect weather for a great day out.

    It’s a pity that football can still be marred by the action of a few idiot fans (West Ham) and the sad thing is that got more news coverage than the match you went to.

  • John McGough says:

    What a star you are, very genuine and honest,I guess not the usual qualities of a journalist but what do I know. So pleased you all had a great day and yes well done to LCFC

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