7 simple ways Leicester City could improve the atmosphere at the King Power Stadium
By Jayden Whitworth
What do you love most about the football? Is it the air littered with smells from the burger van? Is it the opportunity to engage in some light-hearted friendly banter? Is it that ice-cold pint of lager that beckons every weekend? Or are you just a sucker for pain and heart ache and enjoy the Leicester City rollercoaster of emotions?
For some people it might be the atmosphere.
The opportunity to feel a sense of togetherness and unity.
People ramming themselves in like sardines – equipped with a vocal cord-warming hot cup of Bovril – set to belt out those iconic chants.
On good days, the King Power Stadium is bouncing.
Packed to the rafters. Entertaining football. Chants ringing round non-stop.
On bad days, the King Power can be flat.
Boring, lethargic football. People not quite up for it. It can be toxic.
This season the atmosphere has been far too inconsistent. The bad days outweigh the good days.
The boring, sideways football we have seen at points this season is partly to blame.
But I think there are some changes that can give the atmosphere a little boost. A bit of a lift.
It is all put into perspective when you see the atmosphere created at Rennes. It’s a whole new ball game when it comes to European atmospheres.
I’ve put together a list of seven changes I would make, given the chance.
1. Bring in Safe Standing
This one feels like a slightly obvious shout. With the club beginning to experiment and test singing sections this season (in games against Watford and Rennes), the likelihood of Leicester City introducing safe standing in the future is increasing.
The atmosphere at home to Rennes was the best I have seen in a long time.
It was booming.
It is no coincidence that the atmosphere was this good at a fixture with a standing singing section.
As I’m writing this, the club have yet to announce a singing section for the PSV game, after the success of it against Rennes. One step forward, two steps back. Odd.
With the legal safety requirement of having an all-seater stadium loosening, I think we will see them more and more often. It will be a good thing.
2. Just get rid of the clappers, please
I don’t want to milk this too much. I feel like I spend half my life moaning about the clappers. But like a poor-man’s Ebenezer Scrooge, I too am being haunted by the past, so here we go again. There is no doubt the atmosphere would improve if the clappers were gone.
It has almost become part of my match day routine to trundle up the stairs to my seat on row Z, grab the clapper and chuck it down the back of my seat. Out of sight, out of mind.
Make them optional. Put them in the concourse and give people the choice of taking one up to the stand.
Kill two birds with one stone. Better for the atmosphere. Better for the environment.
Trust me – I know I’m waxing lyrical about Liverpool here.
I don’t want to.
But again, they get this right. Everyone knows ‘You’ll never walk alone’. It has been adopted by Liverpool fans. West Ham’s ‘I’m forever blowing bubbles’. Leeds’ ‘Marching on together’. Sheffield Utd’s ‘Greasy Chip Butty’.
The list goes on.
It’s an opportunity to rally the troops. Get the vocal cords warm.
There is an obvious option here with Leicester’s very own – Jersey Budd. ‘When you’re smiling’ is already largely recognised as a Leicester chant and for a period was the anthem.
We miss a trick here. Make this the club anthem. Get rid of the electronic tripe. Blast it out just before kick-off. Get the scarves up. Get the atmosphere buzzing. Sell scarves with ‘when you’re smiling’ on one side. Sell as much merch with this plastered on as you like.
It’s a song that encapsulates the city of Leicester.
Make it ours.
4. Move L1 and SK1 together
I could be wasting my time here. This might be a logistical nightmare.
It has been a debate across Leicester social media for a few years now, as to who does it better? L1 or SK1?
As I see it, it seems completely counterproductive to have a section of ‘die-hard’ Leicester fans in SK1 at one end of the ground. And another group of ‘die-hards’ at the other end next to the away fans.
I guess the problem here is where you put them.
Historically the ‘die hard’ fans usually congregate near the away fans. The back-and-forth abuse is usually what makes them ‘die-hard’. So, you probably don’t want to move them away from the away support. So, do you move SK1 fans over to L1? But that leaves a Kop with no vocal fans.
Could you move the away fans? Over to the Kop. Away from the family stand. I don’t know.
I’m not as confident in this suggestion. Hypothetically, it would improve the atmosphere. Logistically, I’m dreaming.
5. Give more freedom to dedicated fan-led supporter groups
When the likes of Union FS have been given the freedom to create organised displays, they’ve looked amazing. They were a regular fixture in our dazzling Champions League campaign back in 2016/17. But, they have fizzled out in recent times.
The displays are now few and far between. With any display usually confined to the corner in SK1.
Newcastle supporter groups have shown what they can do now they have been released from the shackles of Mike Ashley. Creating stunning displays and having a bit more control over what happens on matchday. Creating a better atmosphere.
We don’t see it as much at Leicester anymore. Very rarely are their flags or banners. Or mosaics. There should be more.
They just help to give people a bit of a buzz.
My five picks for best atmosphere at the King Power Stadium:
5. Leicester City vs Liverpool (1-0, 28th December 2021)
This was the hardest one to pick, the others just fall into place. Perhaps a surprise inclusion, but this was the best atmosphere I’ve heard at the King Power since our glory days in 2015-2017. I found myself cheering every tackle, every block. They worked really hard that day. This game came a few days after they knocked us out of the cup, even better.
4. Leicester City vs Manchester United (5-3, 21st September 2014)
It almost feels criminal to put this so far down. It was the day that this Leicester City side announced themselves to the Premier League. I remember this being the first time I could walk into school with my head held high, knowing I wasn’t going to be berated for supporting Leicester. Little did I know it was a feeling I needed to get used to. I couldn’t believe we had beaten Manchester United.
3. Leicester City vs Atletico Madrid (1-1, 18th April 2017)
The King Power has never quite been the same, since this night. For 15 minutes we had the best defence in Europe on the ropes. A night full of if’s and but’s. An unbelievable night.
2. Leicester City vs Everton (3-1, 7th May 2016)
This was just one big party. The result didn’t matter, no one cared. All that mattered was Leicester City was going to lift the Premier League trophy for the first time. An outpour of emotion. What a day.
1. Leicester City vs Sevilla (2-0, 14th March 2017)
An out-an-out obvious winner. The night we all asked ourselves, we couldn’t, could we? We dared to dream. Goals from Morgan and Albrighton had the King Power bouncing. Nothing comes close to those Champions League nights. Unreal. Will never be topped.
Leicester vs Norwich (1-0, 27th February 2016) – Earth-quaker
Leicester vs Manchester United (1-1, 28th November 2015) – Record breaker
Leicester vs Liverpool (2-0, 2nd February 2016) – Absolute screamer
You might notice all these games fall into the 2010s. Am I a glory-hunter? Not quite. You were more likely to find me in front of the TV, watching Postman Pat, with my lips-locked around a dummy in 2005. If I have missed your favourite. I’m sorry. I might not have been born.
What would you say was the best atmosphere? Have your say below.
6. Stop the goal music
I don’t understand how I’m having to write this. Why is the goal music back?
For a couple of seasons the goal music had disappeared. How it should be. ‘Fire’ by Kasabian had gone. I have nothing against the song, of course not. That would be like shooting myself in the foot. But not as goal music.
There is a serious problem if you need goal music to lift atmosphere. The raw emotion of the joy of scoring a goal should do the job.
7. Stop leaving 10 minutes before half-time and full-time
Disclaimer: if you are absolutely bursting for the toilet or you are seriously going to miss the train. This does not apply.
This might be mostly born out of jealousy at the fact that some people missed the painful last few minutes against Spurs and West Ham, and I had to soak it all up. But I don’t really understand the benefit of heading to the concourse 10 minutes early to beat the queues, when the whole stadium has the same idea as you.
8pm on a Monday night. Fair enough. I can understand that slightly.
2pm on a Sunday afternoon. Really. I think your Sunday roast can wait 5 minutes.
Unfortunately, I sit on the end of the row and usually spend the last 5-10 minutes of each half staring into someone’s backside. So, I might be very much in the minority on this topic. It just irritates me.
Whilst I’m in full-on rant mode. It baffled me as to how both the games against Rennes and Randers failed to sell-out. I know it’s the Europa Conference League. I get it. On the same night we played Randers at home, we could have been jetting off to Catalonia to face Barcelona. I get that it isn’t a glamorous competition.
It’s still a European competition. One that we probably won’t have the luxury of playing in next season. European nights are why we do it. They’re the big nights, under the lights. It might be because I have grown up in a generation where Europe is the pinnacle and competitions like the League Cup and the FA cup fall by the wayside.
I just hope that those who don’t turn up for the games against Randers and Rennes in the early rounds, aren’t expecting a ticket for the trip to Albania for the final (if we get there of course).
It makes sense that if there are more people in the stands, there will be more noise, right?
After all, it could be worse. We could be stuck in administration. Sat in the EFL Championship relegation zone. Facing the frightening truth that soon enough we could be owned by Mike Ashley. Sorry, Derby.