Bring Back the Birch

Andy Betts, on the news that Birch is being put out to pasture…

Not much has been sadder in the corporate hijacking of our club than the news broken on August 4th that the ‘Birch’ has been forced to retire from our club because he is 65.
Lee ‘Hatchet’ Hoos has proffered a, “No Comment” on the decision but you cannot help thinking that it wouldn’t be too far from the truth to  surmise that Alan just doesn’t fit the corporate vacuum that the shell of our club is falling into piece by piece.
Alan Birchenhall  has been one of the best things in my time watching City (1969 onwards) a very underrated player who puts his own ability down, he was a star in the Jimmy Bloomfield era when, for me, City played the best football in my time watching.
He had been signed from Crystal Palace when they were a top flight club and previous to that had been a star in a very glamorous Chelsea side.
A real entertainer the, ‘Pie Seller’ incident when during a break in play at Filbo Birch borrowed a tray of pies from a pitch side vendor and proceeded to distribute them to the pop side will live forever in the memory of those who saw it… these days he would probably cop a suspension and hefty fine for that.
During the Martin O’Neill era he hosted a question and answer evening with Martin at Jongleurs and he was simply priceless, a natural comedian who made for a great night. 
But behind the joker was a man with a heart of gold, the end of season runs, the visits to sick and dying kids, the fantastic fund raising for LOROS, the little touches like coming into the Kop pre-match to wish me a happy fiftieth birthday and present me with a signed pennant.
This charitable man was good enough to be recognised by our Queen for his efforts and was proud but self effacing even in the face of such an honour.
His autobiography, ‘Bring Back The Birch’ should be read by any City fan who longs for the days when the game still had a soul and a sense of humour, traits that the decision to dismiss him show quite graphically mean nowt to the money men.
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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Bring Back the Birch

  1. russ

    There must be a petition to keep the birch

  2. Chris Jennings

    Superb sentiments I’m sure are supported by most city fans. Spot on

  3. Let’s all send a angry mail to Leicester City and claim The Birch back!!!

  4. It’s awful it really is. A lot has already been mentioned about what he has done for Leicester but I will never forget one thing. It’s happened ever year that I can remember.

    It happens when we all stand there on the last home game of the season and listen to Birch whip the crowd up into a frenzy whilst trying to catch his breath after his run. On many occasions we have been fighting relegation or trying to push for promotion. As his emotional voice is heard over the tannoy, oozing with passion and love for the club, I have often turned to my dad to see him close to tears and no doubt with a huge lump in his throat. The Birch makes that happen, he is the only man I have ever seen make my dad cry.

    Why? because he is Leicester City, like we all are and always will be.

    Bring Back the Birch indeed, where do i sign?

  5. trevor sperry

    the birch is one of the true gentleman in sport and one this club could, and should not be without so why after all these years at the city should he be pushed out on his many visits at walkers crisps he as been a credit to the city and i have spoken to him many times during his visits here,so why just because he his coming up to 65 are leicester kicking him out there are many supporters at leicester that think if went the club would not be the same as he is an icon to the club also he brings in coffers to the club on his ,night with the birch, so come on leicester it would not be the same without all his humour on and off the pitch, so lets all get behind a keep birch at the club.

  6. Chris Faulkner

    Yes, I agree, let’s bring him back but not at 30K per annum.

    I love Birch – he is definitely a highlight of the matchday (apart from that mis-judged Churchill thing a few years back:-)). Unfortunately we can’t employ people and pay them a lot of money just because they are lovely and have been around such a long time.

    • John Orme

      So he is paid 30k a year. Hardly a huge amount considering we have paid dj half that PER WEEK! for doing nothing for us for 2 years. The man is a legend and must be kept at our club. Slowly the soul is being ripped from our club with the mystery surrounding Pearson leaving, silence regarding take overs etc. Milan is in his mid 70’s for god sake and would you dare ask him if he is passed it?
      Somebody please print off posters for the next home game to demand the Birch stays. Let that yank Hoos know he cant take the life out our club piece by piece.

      • Chris Faulkner

        Since you ask – no – I wouldn’t ask Milan if he was past it and nor would I ask Birch. Milan owns the club. If he wants to work at 70 then that is up to him. If Birch wants to work at 65 then that is also actually up to him as well. He just had the chance to say yes to working (probably at a very high wage) on a consultancy basis on a Saturday. He has a choice so far as I can tell.

        I just think that if the club has decided for a change in direction for someone now they have reached retirement then that is OK.

        I certainly hope that my employer is as generous with me when I reach 65.

  7. Martyn Wilson

    It’s an absolute disgrace. All the mealy-mouthed crap about setting a precedent if the Birch is “allowed” to stay on after the retirement age is just that – crap. The guy is part of what makes City such a special club for fans like me, and as far as I am concerned, he should be there for as long as he wants – longer in fact.

    I’ve sent the petition link to everyone I know, and I would urge everyone else to do the same.

  8. JD

    Lets get behind the Birch

    Online Petition and facebook groups

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=102918066433654&ref=ts

  9. Red Roy

    Well, it has worked and Birch stays but I can’t help but think it was time to let him go. The embarrassing accent and mistake ridden broadcasts make us look like a bumbling old backward club. I for one cringe when I hear/see him in action.

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