Tag Archives: alan birchenall

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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City End With a Flourish

Leicester City 4:2 Ipswich Town

City ended the 2010-11 season in style with a 4-2 win over Ipswich on Saturday, leaving their fans wondering what might have been…

It was typical end of season fare, an afternoon when applause rang around the ground time and again and not just for the four goals. Alan Birchenall, on completing his 31st charity run was given a lifetime contract by the club, now immune to the whims of just-visiting cost-cutters who didn’t understand the role he playes and his invaluable link with players past.
Richie Wellens also got a warm ovation on receipt of his Player of the Season award, as did Aleksander Tunchev when he came on for Vitor on the half hour for his first decent spell on the field in many months.

City, with one change – Van Aanholt in for Mee – had a superb first half although it could have been different had Ipswich not wasted two early chances.
A slip-up from Vitor presented Norris with a one-on-one chance with Weale, but he missed the target.
Van Aanholt and Yakubu both went close as play raced from end to end in a lively opening, and then Weale produced a fine double save to prevent Connor and then Wickham giving the visitors the lead. 
Instead, it was City who went ahead in the 26th minute, with Gallagher delivering a perfect cross from the left, met by the head of King at the far post for his 15th goal of the season.
 City were then forced into two changes with Vassell and Vitor limping out of the action to be replaced by Kamara and Tunchev.
Tunchev came close to a glorious comeback but sent an acrobatic volley just over the bar.
The re-shuffled City side did extend their lead in the  41st minute, however, when Abe centred from the left, King struck the right hand post, and the rebound went straight to Yakubu who netted the 11th goal of his loan spell.
Just before the break the home fans were celebrating again as King crossed from the right and Abe found the bottom left hand corner with a sidefooter for his first City goal.
3-0 and crusing at the break, but some familiar defensive failings came back to haunt City in the second half
as the visitors came back to 3-2 with two goals in three minutes.
In the 68th minute Bruma handled while attempting to head away a corner and Leadbitter sent his spot kick low to Weale’s right.
In the 71st minute the away corner were conga-ing in delight after a suicidal back pass from Van Aanholt and a slip from Weale allowed Connor to make it 3-2.
Happily, any thoughts of a comeback were extinguished just moments later when brilliant work from Van Aanholt down the left – exchanging one-twos with Gallagher and Yakubu –  saw him cross for King whose effort was saved by Fulop, but fell for Kamara to net from close in.
This was followed by a twenty man brawl after a poor challenge on Yakubu but only yellow cards were shown when peace was eventually restored.
Ipswich’s challenge was seen off this time and the remainder of the game was about fun in the sun for the two sets of fans with Ipswich becoming perhaps the first ever set of away fans to join in with the wave.

It was difficult not to get excited about next season at this stage. With a team that has often looked superb at home (not often enough away) there is clearly a solid base to be improved upon and a budget that should allow Sven Goran Eriksson to do the job. Even the new kit – unveiled in this match – has something about it that suggests ‘promotion’…
Sven was well aware of this season’s failings: “We need to build on the good stuff. Our team is good to watch with some brilliant passing and combinations but that is not good enough to get you promoted. If we did not make so many mistakes we would easily be in the play-offs. We have to do it better next season.”

Leicester: Weale, Vitor (Tunchev 30), Naughton, Van Aanholt, Bruma, King, Abe, Wellens (Oakley 77), Yakubu, Gallagher, Vassell (Kamara 27). Subs Not Used: Dyer, Moreno, Howard, Smith. 
Ipswich: Fulop, McAuley, Delaney, Leadbitter, Kennedy, Healy, Martin (Peters 74), Norris, Edwards,Scotland (Carson 64), Wickham. Subs Not Used: Lee-Barrett, Brown, Murray, Drury, Civelli

Referee: C Boyeson (East Yorks). Attendance: 24,859.

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Birch Signs One Year Contract

Club Ambassador Alan Birchenall will be staying at the club for the time being…

The club, possibly surprised by the depth of feeling over the Birch’s proposed axing, have offered him a one year contract in his current full-time role, which has a £30,000 salary.
This welcome move retains a link with the past, especially with former players whom the Birch is in contact with, at a club where many familiar faces are disappearing.

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LCFC Takeover Could Be a Week Away

As reported on BBC East Midlands Today this evening, Milan Mandaric has announced that the takeover by an Asian consortium is progressing and could be completed by next week.

First job – give Paulo a big war chest.

Second job –  Bring Back the Birch!

Third job – bring back the in-house programme.

Fourth job – let the Ultras have a flagpole.

Fifth job – bring back Peter Jones.

Sixth job – adidas kit next season.

To subscribe to The FOX for the 2010-11 season, get your Summer Special in the post right away, and claim your free limited edition print send a cheque for £14.00 to:

The FOX, PO Box No 2, Cosby, Leicester, LE9 1ZZ

or use the FOX SUBS button on the right to pay online via Paypal.

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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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Thai Buyers, Nothing in Reserve and Bring Back the Birch

Nigel Pearson will probably be named as Hull City manager today. So we should be asking ourselves what has driven him to decide that Hull City, a club with financial problems of their own in the same division as Leicester, are a better option?

Here are some of the stories doing the rounds, can we make a picture out of the jigsaw pieces?

* Alan Birchenall, the Birch, has been relieved of his duties. He’s been the club’s PR man since 1984 and he is an invaluble backroom member, having a great effect on morale and providing a vital link between the club and the supporters. Whatever he was being paid, it was money well spent. But do you know what? He’ll probably carry on doing it for nothing, because he genuinley loves this club.
The Birch also provided a bridge between Nigel Pearson and Milan Mandaric & Lee Hoos, as their relationship apparently became ever more distant.

* Gerry Taggart recently left for Oldham Athletic to be Paul Dickov’s number two. There are rumours that reserve team football is to be done away with in a cost cutting exercise, leaving Reserve Team Manager Taggart with no job.

* Leicester’s worst kept secret is that a procession of Thai businessmen have been ferried to the ground by taxi. They have had a good look around the place, do they like what they see?
We’re hoping so, because everything is pointing to another dire financial situation at our club.

* Which brings us to our owner and ‘saviour’ Milan Mandaric. Where is he? Is he really in the back of a Land Rover with his binoculars trained on a giraffe as we are told? Or have one of his three charges of cheating the public revenue finally put the wind up him? Will he actually be back? Is anyone in charge? Why has the Official Website made no comment on Pearson’s imminent departure, trying instead to flog tickets for our up coming glamour friendly against Sunderland?

Questions, questions….!

To subscribe to The FOX for the 2010-11 season and claim your free limited edition print send a cheque for £14.00 to:
The FOX, PO Box No 2, Cosby, Leicester, LE9 1ZZ

or use the FOX SUBS button on the right to pay online via Paypal.


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Birch Loves Currie

From a June 1975 issue of Shoot! magazine…

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