THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

New Premier League champions were in League One in 2009

Leicester1

3 May ~ It's been a strange season to be a Leicester City fan – one that's propelled us out of our comfort zone. We are champions of England, having played Carlisle United and Stockport Country in League One as recently as 2008-09; as far as I know, we are also the only League champions to have been 2-0 down to Leatherhead in an FA Cup tie.

Though the victory has changed the way people look at the Premier League – which is a great thing – I'm not sure how to feel about Leicester's new, vastly elevated status. Like many of those other big occasions in modern life – getting married, moving home, taking that important new job – it should bring about unbridled delight, but with it comes plenty of unnerving change.

One change is that those fans from "the best league in the world" suddenly know who we are. At my workplace in Bracknell my Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United-supporting colleagues are amazed to find a genuine “old” Leicester City fan.

During the season they moved from asking about when Leicester got into the Premier League to furrowing their brows and saying things like "Can you really do it?". Until fairly recently the answer was no. It's Leicester, I'd think - they'll start dropping points soon. Instead we stifled Spurs and and then helped ourselves to three points away at Manchester City.

Another change is that match tickets have been harder to get hold of than even decent strikers once seemed to be. Years of middling Leicester performances meant I could buy tickets at the last minute at a club that needed its loyal, paying fans more than we needed them. This season I didn't bother with membership – I knew interest from the fair weather fans would drop off once they realised we faced another season battling relegation.

The battle has been postponed, however, and I find myself elbowed out of the way by Leicester's “new" fans. I probably come across as an inverted snob (it's bitterness rather than snobbery, though, I assure you), but I don't remember those fans being alongside me away at Edgeley Park back in 2008.

What happens next will also mean big changes. Leicester have got through this season with a small, tightly knit squad – a genuine team rather than an expensive collection of players. But as Leicester edge onto that conveyor belt occupied by the “best clubs in the world”, stony-faced as the Champions League theme booms out at the King Power Stadium midweek, then a key protagonist in the weekend theatre of Super Sundays and Judgement Day, that too will have to change.

Last time Leicester had any real money was the turn of the century – they spent it poorly, got relegated and went into administration. Hopefully this time will be different – but not too different, I suppose. Saul Pope

Photo by Paul Thompson for WSC Photograph: A Leicester fan holds a scarf up for a TV camera at the King Power Stadium

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