LCFC Donate Football Kit To HMS Atherstone
- ‘The Flying Foxes’ play as often as possible when they get ashore between minehunting operations
- Able Seamen Tapan Patel explained how grateful him and the rest of the company are for the Club’s kind gesture
- Leicester City donated kit to the minesweeper HMS Leicester City during the Second World War
Royal Navy warship HMS Atherstone can now represent Leicester City in the heat of the Gulf after the Club recently supplied their football team with official replica kits.
Sailors from the Mine Counter Measures Vessel HMS Atherstone, which carries a company of 45, received the strip after George Caldwell got in touch with the Club back in September.
Leicester City – the closest Premier League team to HMS Atherstone’s affiliated town of Atherstone, Warwickshire – gladly sent out kit to Bahrain, home of the UK Maritime Component Command, where HMS Atherstone operates from.
HMS Atherstone’s football team is aptly named ‘The Flying Foxes’ due to the ship’s crest including an image of a fox. They play as often as possible when they get ashore between minehunting operations.
Able Seamen Tapan Patel, a lifelong Leicester City supporter from North Evington, Leicester, said: “Our old kit was missing shirts and others were old and worn so I thought, what harm could it do to ask a favour from my local club. We contacted Leicester City and they responded straight away with a ‘yes’.
“The lads are extremely grateful and proud to receive the new kit and there is only one person onboard who is slightly hesitant when putting a shirt on – the Marine Engineering Officer, Scott Johnson, a lifelong Nottingham Forest fan!
“Hopefully the ship’s football team can now replicate Claudio Ranieri’s managerial success and Leicester City’s performance on the pitch this season.”
HMS Atherstone is shortly due to leave the Gulf region to start her 6,700-mile journey home to the UK after three-and-a-half years away, but is not the only minesweeper to receive kit from the Foxes.
During the Second World War, the company of HMS Leicester City were also supplied with various items of clothing by the Club including scarves, socks, mittens, sweaters and of course, football kit.
Formerly a fishing trawler named Leicester City, HMS Leicester City was officially given its title at a ceremony in Grimsby which was attended by several directors of the Club at the time, including Arthur Needham, whose son Sid Needham was also Director and Chairman for many years.
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