On 12th January 2001 Sven Goran Eriksson was appointed the first foreign coach of the England national side and I would never have guessed that just over ten years later he would become the manager of Leicester City.
I am not sure what my dad would have made of this because football was always important to him and from about the time I was seven years old he to take me to Filbert Street to watch Leicester City. The first game I saw was against Blackburn Rovers. I can recall quite clearly going to the matches because this always involved a long walk of about three miles there and three miles back.
Very close to my grandparents house there was a bus stop with a direct service into the city but dad rather cunningly always started out for the match at a time that was certain not to coincide with the bus timetable. I never caught on to this little trick of course and he had a very brisk walking pace that required me to run alongside him just to keep up as he strode out ahead. It turns out that dad just didn’t like paying bus fares which he considered to be an unnecessary item of expenditure.
Football grounds were totally different to the all seater stadiums that we are used to now and were predominantly standing affairs. I was only a little lad so it was important to go early to get a good spot on the wall just behind the goal. This required an early arrival and although matches didn’t start until three o’clock dad used to get us there for the opening of the gates at about one. This must have required massive amounts of patience on his part because two hours is a long time to wait for a football match to start standing on cold concrete terracing and I really didn’t appreciate at the time that all of this was done just for me. In the 1960s of course it was common to have pre-match entertainment when local marching bands would give a thirty minute medley of tunes up until kick off time so at least there was something to watch.
Update: Sven sacked as Leicester City Manager on 24th October 2011!