FOX 181 – in the shops now! Alan Birchenall Interview

Issue No 181 of The FOX – is in all good newsagents now…

FOX 181 features: an interview with City-legend in his own lunchtime Alan Birchenall; new feature Something…; Fully Programmed from 1997; Fox Diary; the latest from the Foxes Trust; Tales From the Riverbank; Rewind – Oxford’s away end; the Chris Lymn Column; John Hutchinson looks through the 1970s box in the Leicester City archives; Perfect; Fox-Photos; your letters and Bentley’s Roof; Parting Shots; and Fanatical Frank gets active…

All for £2…

Extract from the Alan Birchenall interview…

It’s all a bit serious these days, you don’t see too many players coming off the field laughing and joking, as though they have enjoyed themselves.
In my four or five hundred games I never came off the pitch without having had a laugh and a joke. People say: “Well it was different in your day.” But I had a young family, I had a mortgage, I never had more than a two year contract. I just liked to enjoy myself.
Do you remember the Leicester referee with the big mutton-chop whiskers, Roger Kirkpatrick? I was playing for Chelsea on a real marsh of a pitch and Roger was at his most eccentric giving it all that with his whistle and his gestures and running backwards at speed. He was getting on my nerves a bit and he happened to run past me backwards. I just could not resist putting my foot out and over he went on his backside in the mud.
He yelled: “COME HERE! Did you do that on f***ing purpose?”
I said: “Fitzy, would I do that to you?”
So he said: “Well make out you are sorry and I’m angry because you have embarrassed me there you little f***er! Next time you are in Leicester I want a drink off you!”
There were no close up cameras and lip reading then!

I remember once we were coming out of the tunnel at Filbert Street for the second half against Arsenal and it was absolutely tipping down. There was a girl in the crowd next to the tunnel so I grabbed it as I went past and took it out with me. The ref did his quick check before kick-off and saw me standing there with it, but it was all a laugh.

Another time someone had gone injured so I went and sat on the East Stand wall waiting for him to get treatment. I nicked a lad’s bobble hat off him and put that on. Then the geezer in the white coat came round with his tray of  pies. I stopped him and gave out about twenty pies to the all the fans. The play restarted and I took the throw-in, the ref said “Birch get that thing off your head you t***.”
At the end of the game we were in the dressing room and Jimmy was addressing us all, and the dressing room after a game is sacrosanct for all kinds of reasons. There was a loud knock on the door. It was the pieman saying: “Birch, you owe me fifteen pounds.” It caused uproar!

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