Japanese Foxes

Japanese Foxes Connect With Leicester Legends Over Q&A

A group of Japanese Leicester City supporters were able to learn a little more about four Foxes legends last week, as part of a Q&A session that attracted 40 passionate participants from East Asia.

The Football Club’s far-reaching representation has in recent seasons been elevated by a series of initiatives that aim to connect with supporters across the globe.

In the latest efforts to engage with City’s international fanbase, 2000 League Cup winners Steve Walsh, Gerry Taggart and Matt Elliott accompanied fellow legend Ali Mauchlen on a video call with members of the supporter group, Japanese Foxes, who were founded by Koma, pictured below.

Aided by a translator, fans were able to ask to a variety of questions, learning more about the Club through four players that, across three decades, helped to shape the Foxes’ history, as well as getting their opinions on current affairs.

When asked by Yojiro who was the toughest opponent he came up against, Taggart said: “Good question! I was lucky enough that during the 1990s and 2000s, there were a lot of world-class players playing in the Premier League. Well, I say fortunate, but unfortunate is probably the correct thing to say!

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Koma of Japanese Foxes
Koma of Japanese Foxes

Koma is the founder of Japanese Foxes, Leicester City's Japan-based supporter group.

“You had the likes of Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy – players like that. Every team seemed to have a top-class player in their side at that time. I think the one player that stood out for me was Dennis Bergkamp at Arsenal.

“Matt Elliott has a good story about him when he played for Leicester in the infamous 3-3 at Filbert Street, but mine was in the same season for Bolton. We played Arsenal in the first game of the season at Highbury, and Ian Wright, on that day, broke Arsenal’s goalscoring record by scoring a hat-trick.

“Alongside him was Dennis Bergkamp, who didn’t score on that occasion, but what he did do was set every goal up for Ian Wright! He was just a different type of player to what I’d come up against before.”

The discussion next turned to modern day proceedings, with Walsh – famous for his incredible shows of passion on the pitch – explaining what Brendan Rodgers has brought to City in his two years as manager at King Power Stadium.

“I think everyone can see the whole dynamic of the Football Club has changed since Brendan arrived. For me personally, he’s doing an absolutely terrific job. I like the way he’s bringing the youth policy into place.

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Higgy of Japanese Foxes
Higgy of Japanese Foxes

Higgy was part of the fan group that spoke to the Club's legends via video call.

“His presence is fantastic. The understanding between the manager and the players is really strong, and I think that it’s a good education for these young lads to be understudies to Brendan Rodgers, because he brings so much to this football club.

“You can see that, not just how this season is going, but in his tactical movements in games, and everything that he does. I believe that we’re in a good place, and we’ve got a very, very talented manager.”

Asked by Tetsu why City have been so successful over the past few seasons, Mauchlen explained why player motivation has also been a key factor.

“Brendan comes in for a lot of praise and rightly so. You’ve got to motivate your players, and doing that in a modern-day game, to the extent that Brendan has, is difficult in itself, but the players have responded tremendously.

“Getting these boys to buy into your work ethic and to carry that out to the letter on a match-by-match job, they’re doing a fantastic job. What he’s done to motivate them is absolutely fantastic.”

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Yojiro of Japanese Foxes
Yojiro of Japanese Foxes

Yojiro is pictured at King Power Stadium while watching Leicester City in action.

In reply to Higgy’s question about how City has progressed as a club since his playing days, Elliott, who scored two goals in 2000 League Cup Final for Leicester at Wembley Stadium to secure their most recent cup triumph, pinpointed several similarities between the two groups of players.

He said: “The first thing that springs to mind for me is team spirit. You can see there is a good mood between the squad and the camp. That was also the case back in our day, and it was a big part of our relative success back then.

“As well as that, I think there’s a good family feel about the Club as well still, in terms of the supporters. That is part of the enjoyment of playing for Leicester, and supporting the Club – there’s a family and community feel that the Club gives.

“On top of that, the common theme is that there’s been some very good players in both eras. We like to think we were better players probably than we were given credit for, because we were hard-working, and we had some good players in our team. Certainly, now, the modern team has some excellent, top-class players.”

To learn more about the Club’s supporter groups, click here.

All photography taken before social distancing guidelines were introduced.

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