Alan 'The Birch' Birchenall

The Birch: Looking Back On My City Career Brings A Smile To My Face

In the latest edition of Alan 'The Birch' Birchenall's fortnightly column, Leicester City's Club Ambassador writes about what he found when he looked through his old memorabilia from his playing days...
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We’re all trying to find things to keep us busy at home at the moment – so earlier this week, I thought I’d have a look through my old memorabilia in the garage – and what a treat it was!

I thought it would be nice to show my grandson one day that his old grandad used to be alright at football and I ended up spending hours looking at all of the old photographs and what have you.

The media team have asked me to take some photos on my phone – but they don’t seem to release that they’re lucky I’m even able to answer them on these new phones, let alone use the camera on it!

They asked me to sum it up anyway – and all I can say is the one thing I took away from looking at it all was how athletic I was back on the day...

There’s one picture in there where I’m leaping for a header and my whole body’s above the crossbar. I struggle to even walk up the stairs nowadays!

There’s stuff in there that goes back donkey’s years! When I had the Griffin Pub in Swithland many years ago, there was a passageway in there which I’d just fill with old City stuff.

I had letters from all the First Division managers framed on the walls and some classic newspaper clippings. When this is over, I’m going to have to find a way to share some of it all with you.

It was pretty popular in the pub and made sure that the locals, while they were having a pint of happy water, could look back at some of the stories we shared together at Filbert Street.

You can’t beat looking back at memories and it just brought a massive smile to my face, so I can’t wait to share them with you, but just don’t expect me to get my camera phone working!

Now, I know today is the anniversary of that special day at Wembley when Walshy scored twice for City to beat that lot down the road, Derby County, in the play-off final in '94.

Walshy is such a brilliant lad and he was a magnificent player for us. A true Leicester City great. Sometimes it seems like his proudest boast, though, is the number of red cards he got in his time!

But that day at Wembley… what a day and he was the man in the middle of it all. There’s a reason he’s called Mr. Leicester City and that’s it. He always rose to the occasion.

That whole era was just incredible, wasn’t it? And the parties after those Wembley wins were something else. I used to book the venue for the after party and we’d all just celebrate like one big happy family.

One thing which comes back to me now is the journey home from London to Leicester. As soon as we started getting close to Leicester on the motorway, it was a sea of blue on the sides of the road.

There were City flags hanging off the bridges and flyovers above the road and it just seemed like the whole of Leicestershire had come out to welcome their heroes home.

That’s what it's all about as a footballer. Feeling that pride and adulation from the fans and then celebrating afterwards, you’re so happy that even your worst enemy is your friend.

Special days in the history of our club and I don't ever get bored of seeing the old posts that the Club puts out online remembering those occasions. They were the days of our lives really.

As ever, keep safe and look after each other. It's a difficult time for so many, but our Leicester City family spirit can keep us all together as we try and adapt to this new normal. 

Take care,

The Birch  

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