Didn’t we have a lovely time. The day we went to Belvoir Drive

Oh I know it doesn’t scan but you get the gist and I like the occasional homage to a seventies novelty folk hit (ok, delete occasional and replace with ‘one-off’).

What I liked even more was the chance to visit the currently less than mighty Foxes training ground, courtesy of my box owning buddy David. “You probably won’t be able to make it as it is a weekday but I was wondering if you fancied a tour of the facilities and the watching the first team train?” Yeah you are right mate, back to back meetings and the daily battle with the finance system seem so much more attractive…ahem….

And so it was that I found myself in the media centre scarfing down a bacon cob (and let’s face it we were in the county of cob), listening to the ‘banter’ of club ambassador and seventies legend Alan ‘The birch’ Birchenall. The Birch is from another era and so are his jokes, but to be honest this is a man who has seen the club lurch from drama to drama, tinged with the occasional bit of glory, and more importantly can remember when the training ground was a couple of pitches and a shed, so as a tour guide he is ideal.

Seeing the players train was a highlight of course, as was the sneaky trip into their dressing room (no photos of pants were taken in the interests of this blog I promise) and being able to stroll round the boot room where the section belonging to the players looks like a minor explosion in a paint factory while the coaches’ monochrome footwear looked on in austere disapproval.

But to be honest there was a bit of a sense of the unreal, that ‘premier league footballer bubble’ idea is perpetuated a bit; an element of deference that I’m not sure is warranted (particularly after the defeat to Swansea which preceded this trip) as we tiptoe round them and have to applaud as well as they sheepishly meet us or walk past us. Yes of course it is their place of work but it’s MY club! I know. So old, so grumpy and yet still so naive.

Fortunately I was hauled back from full blown curmudgeon-itis towards starstruck gidiocy (being a giddy idiot) as a result of a cheery, “hiya”, from Nigel Pearson…..”He said ‘hiya’ to ME !!!!” I burbled, followed by a very sweet Jamie Vardy posing for a photo with the mad old lady with the daft hair and perhaps most importantly the meeting of the real stars of the place; the laundry ladies. They really have seen it all; from a time 40 years ago when there were 3 teams, all of whom had ONE kit a week to the here and now with 16 teams, and each player with THREE kits per week. That is a lot of Persil. Oh if those washing machines and tumble dryers could talk….

The guardians of the clean kit

The guardians of the clean kit

I still came away a bit sceptical and then I read this in an interview with our Argentine striker, Ulloa, “This club has a family ethos: there are the two women that do laundry, the kit man, the physios, the video editors – they all know each other and are close to the players.” Yes I know he probably knows that is a good thing to say, but it did kind of chime with the vibe of the place and you can’t be a curmudgeon all your life.

The sun shone and I had a great day out. So thank you Birch, and thank you David. I am just a big kid at heart and that was like being in a big blue sweetshop.

Disbelief Suspended Fox (DSF…almost like the carpet warehouse but not).

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