Alan 'The Birch' Birchenall

The Birch Remembers His Super Leeds Strike In 1973

Just over 48 years ago, on 13 October, 1973, a Leicester City line-up brimming with iconic names sealed a 2-2 draw with Leeds United at Filbert Street in a clash which included a very special goal.

City's starting XI that day was: Peter Shilton, Steve Whitworth, Alan Woollett, Malcom Munro, Dennis Rofe, Jon Sammels, Keith Weller, Mike Stringfellow, Frank Worthington and... Alan Birchenall.

They are all synonymous with a halcyon era at the Football Club, of course, but one man in particular needs no introduction to the Foxes faithful - the man we simply call 'The Birch', our Club Ambassador, who marked 50 years at Leicester City recently. 

During Alan's playing career in Leicester, the skilful attacking midfielder made 163 appearances, before spending much of his later life raising funds for charity and dedicating himself to the Football Club.

It’s one of them – it either goes where it went, or it ends up going down Charles Street in the centre of town!

Alan Birchenall

Two years ago, we visited the Birch to talk about that goal. The greeting was typical Birch, a warm embrace followed by cheeky derision, before sitting down and talking us through the memorabilia he collected over the years and since pinned up on the walls.

Alongside photos of family, there's also a frame containing Birch's proudest moment, the day he was entrusted with safely escorting the Premier League trophy to Wes Morgan and Claudio Ranieri in 2016.

There's an old copy of CITY Matchday Magazine, featuring our beloved late Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha on the front, and all four walls are adorned with Leicester City team photos since the '70s.

The goal we were there to talk about was classic Leicester in that era - a goal with a swagger, as Stringfellow back-heels into Birch, before the latter rockets it into the top corner, out of reach.

Archive

The Birch's Leeds Belter

Enjoy Alan 'The Birch' Birchenall's iconic strike for the Foxes against Leeds in 1973.

Once we've been able to get a word in edgeways, as Birch watches the goal back on an iPad, he says: "There’s a good looking lad there, look! I don’t know how he’s changed so much.

"I must’ve seen it a thousand times because apparently, it’s the only goal I ever scored in an 18-year career! There is another 90-odd somewhere, but nobody bothers showing them, they must have been tap-ins!

"It’s a special era and it was, I suppose, a special goal. It’s one of them – it either goes where it went, or it ends up going down Charles Street in the centre of town."

While evoking fond memories for him personally, the Birch says footage such as this is also useful to use when members of the current Foxes squad decide to 'have a pop' at him at the training ground.

"It keeps some people quiet that we have here at the Football Club," he grins. "I won’t mention any names. He plays centre-forward for us at the moment. He’s knocked in a few, but every time he has a pop at me, I say: ‘Go and have a look at that’, because he only gets them in the six-yard box.

"You know that, don’t you? Seriously, it is the anniversary of said goal, so it takes me back a bit. I can’t believe it was that long ago."

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