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Book Review - Of Fossils & Foxes – The Official, Definitive History of Leicester City Football Club

Sunday 15th January 2017
In 2016 Leicester City became champions of England, Premier League winners and debutants in Europe's glamorous Champions League.  It hasn't always been like this as the 2015-16 triumph represented the pinnacle in the club's 132 years of existence. A history packed with ups and downs, successes and heartbreak. The excellent and truly definitive ‘Of Fossils & Foxes' brings to life, through a concoction of stories, pictures, facts and figures, the whole exhilarating ride.

Title: Of Fossils & Foxes – The Official, Definitive History of Leicester City Football Club

Authors: Dave Smith and Paul Taylor

Publisher: Pitch Publishing

Date Published: 2016

Price: £35
With a combined experience of 115 seasons supporting Leicester City, super fans and Leicester fanatics, Dave Smith and Paul Taylor (with support from a number of contributors) have consolidated their knowledge, experiences and love for their club to produce a true footballing bible that every Leicester City fan should own.

After a foreword from the club's greatest manager, Claudio Ranieri, in which he touches on the special identity and unifying culture behind the club, the book opens with a review of that historic championship season. The story of the season is told with a game by game reports, defining moments, emerging heroes and their sub-stories. The whole fairytale is brought to life by photo's that truly captured the moments.

With the 2015-16 triumph honoured, Smith and Taylor then work in chronological order reviewing every season since the club was founded as Fosse in 1884. A huge task requiring immense levels of research, analysis and attention to detail, the authors document each season, focusing on transfer activity, how the season unfolded with key games, cup runs, talking points and records/achievements are all covered. Each season is brought to life by a number of amusing stories and soundbites that provide a fascinating insight into football in England at that time and makes the book an interesting read for fans of any clubs, not just Leicester.

The narrative is supplemented by an array of pictures from players of that day to many memorabilia (some undoubtedly rare) including official documents and extracts from newspapers. The pictures and stories are further brought to life by quotes from those making the headlines at that time. The combination of information, stories and pictures makes the book a virtual museum on paper.

‘Of Fossils & Foxes' makes for an interesting read which is helped by Leicester City's intriguing history. Founded as Fosse, Leicester has experienced seven tier 2 championships, been losing FA Cup finalists on four occasions, won three League Cups, suffered relegation nine times and contested four play-off finals winning two.

Never a boring moment, Leicester almost won the then 1st Division (the old Premier League) on 3 separate occasions finishing runners up in 1928-29, while there have been many cases of great escapes and last days survivals. European campaigns, a rebranding, a new stadium and giant killers or victims of a giant-killing, the club has experienced everything during its colourful history.

What makes a football club are the people involved and every player, manager, coach and board member to represent Leicester City are honoured in the ‘who's who' section on the book. From star names such as world cup winner Gordon Banks and England legend Gary Lineker to some that even Leicester fans will struggle to recall, each has a short biography covering their life and career, ending with their Leicester City statistics. There is also a special section dedicated to those involved with the club during the two world wars.

The book is packed with information on a mammoth scale and this continues in the final section where every plausible Leicester City statistic and club record is presented. Each season is analysed with fixtures, the team, scores, scorers, attendance and the final league table. This is followed by club records (best and worst), player achievements, internationals, most hat-tricks…. to name just a few.

Obviously, the book is targeted at Leicester City fans but will also appeal to those with a general interest in football's evolvement over time and who enjoys football trivia. Every club should have a book like this documenting their clubs history, Leicester fans are lucky to have such an informative, well researched and fascinating documentary of their club at their disposal.
Allan Kemp

Born in Suffolk but a Norwich City supporter who is currently exiled in Dallas, US. I am an FA level 2 coach and also a published author, my book of Hall of fame - Norwich City's - All-Time Greats is available from all good bookshops. I am now working on my second book, with Pitch Publishing - Newcastle United Hall of Fame. I'm also a keen reader of football-related books.


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