From Philly to Leicester – an American fan’s perspective on supporting the Foxes

By Jayden Whitworth

For most, travelling to the football to watch their favourite football team entails a short train journey, or drive. But for Ben Ferree, he travelled into the future, and across the Atlantic to watch his favourite team, Leicester, take on Leeds United. Jayden Whitworth talks to Ben about what it’s like supporting from America and where he sees the game going.

THE FRESH PRINCE OF LEICESTER: Ben Ferree pictured outside the fanstore before the game against Leeds.

Leicester. The heart of the East Midlands. The creators of the Walkers Crisp. Gary Lineker. Red Leicester. Pork Pies. David Attenborough. Home to the Foxes and the Tigers. 

Leicester has produced some of England’s finest pleasures.

But few Americans would have been able to tell you exactly where Leicester is. They may not have heard of Leicester before. 

That changed in 2016.

Eden Hazard’s stunner for Chelsea meant Leicester City Premier League were crowned champions. An achievement that no-one thought possible. 

More than 3,000 miles away in Philadelphia, Leicester City were about to take on a new fan, among thousands of others, as a love and passion had been sparked for Philadelphian Ben Ferree.

Philly Cheesey-Grin: Fans gathered at a watchalong

Ben, 24, who lives in Philadelphia, has been following Leicester City since 2016. 

He journeyed across the Atlantic and through time zones to watch Leicester take on Leeds United. 

Supporting the Foxes from the USA proves to be difficult at times, but Ben loves it.

“It is honestly a great experience supporting Leicester City from the USA,” he says.

“Premier League fanship is very different from here in the UK, in the sense that you’re not born into a team, it’s not based on where you live, so it’s a chance for people to pick teams to try and find a connection. A lot of people end up being ‘big six’ fans and it’s a little solace in that aspect.

“One of the best things about being a Leicester fan, even in the US, it does feel like a tight-knit community, it feels like a family as cliché as that is. When you get to the pub at 10am for a 3pm kick-off, we’re all talking to each other, we’re all discussing how everyone has been over the last week,’ he says.

In his time supporting the Foxes, he has joined the rollercoaster of emotions that being a Leicester fan entails, with Ben watching Leicester lift the FA Cup for the first time, from the States.

“So, for the FA Cup, I was in my senior year of college, and I decided that I wasn’t going to go to the pub, I don’t want to be around other people, I want to watch this alone in my living room,” he says.

“I was on the edge of my seat for all 90 minutes, and I will never forget Tielemans’ goal, it was incredible, but I’ll also never forget seeing Wes Morgan get subbed on and being so excited and thinking this is a great way to see out this game,” he says.

HopePhils: Ben (right) pictured with LCFC fans

“Seeing what it meant to everyone and how big of an accomplishment that was, is something that I will remember forever and honestly, even today, first day being like in Leicester itself, I think it put in perspective just how much that means,” he says.

The biggest problem that American fans have with watching Premier League football is the difference in time zones, early starts and late nights are sometimes on the agenda. 

“We’re on the East Coast, so I have to say it’s not the worst thing in the world 3pm kickoffs in England are 10am kick-offs in Philadelphia,” he says.

“The night games are a 3pm kick-off generally, so that’s not too bad, you can usually slide out of work a little early.”

“The ones that are not great are the 12.30pm kick-offs, that’s a 7.30am kick-off for us, but I will say on the West Coast they’re three hours behind the East Coast so 3pm kick-offs are at 7am for them,” he says.

Ben is part of a supporter group in Philadelphia called the Phillyfoxes, allowing he and other Leicester fans meet to watch the Leicester games. 

This is one of many supporter groups in the USA, with fan groups in New York and San Diego.

Rocky Horizons: LCFC fans in Tir na nOg Irish Pub

“The San Diego Foxes have a pub out on the west coast that opens up at 4:30 in the morning, there are always probably five to ten of them out there that early so honestly, it’s not the worst thing in the world,” he says.

“It’s kind of fun to go out at 10am, have a pint, see some friends, watch the match, and sing a few songs.”

There is much debate surrounding the idea of playing Premier League football overseas at the moment. Some suggest that it would bring in a huge amount of money that would help clubs, but some argue that it would lose the essence of the game. The NFL in America has begun branching out and playing matches in England as well. 

“So obviously football in America is a big topic at the moment, I don’t doubt that there will be competitive games played in America, it’s bound to happen,” he says.

“I think it will raise some issues, one of the great things about football is that you have 38 games, one home and one away, so it’s balanced in that sense.”

“If you play competitive games in America, that balance will get thrown off. I think money-wise it’s going to happen at some point I just hope we continue to respect where it came from, and the fans, and not sell out too much to it, but the game is growing rapidly in America, so we will see,” he says.

Some people find the Leicester City project hard to describe. Hard to put into words. Unbelievable. But Ben sums it up in just one word. 

“The simplest word I can give you, to sum up, Leicester City is a community,” he says.

“It’s something you just don’t get with other clubs, especially in the States. I feel that when I’m here as well, going to the pubs in town, everyone knows each other.

“There is just such a great, community feel here,” he says.

For Leicester fans, the rollercoaster will continue. There will be ups and downs. 

But that’s the thrill of it and American fans seem to love it too. 

Leicester is no longer an unknown, it is a city known for its never give up attitude.

Rare Leicester City FA Cup Final memorabilia goes under the hammer

By Charlie Hawes

An extraordinary collection of vintage Leicester City FA Cup memorabilia is to be sold at auction in Market Harborough next week.

Three lots from the personal collection of Howard Riley, who was a winger for LCFC between 1955 and 1965, making more than 200 appearances and scoring 38 goals, are up for auction. 

Items include the player’s runner-up medal and tracksuit top and jersey from the 1963 FA Cup final, along with his jersey from the 1961 FA Cup final.

Will Gilding, Director at Gilding Auctioneers in Market Harborough, where the items are to be sold said: “Having recently sold a 1969 FA Cup final tracksuit top belonging to Leicester player Bobby Roberts for £600, which was double its upper estimate, we’re expecting great interest in these memorabilia.

“The 1961 jersey is estimated at £200 – £300 and the pair of tops from 1963 is expected to realise between £400 and £600.

“The 9-carat gold runner-up medal, which is offered in its original box and engraved with ‘The Football Association,’ has two players and the Three Lions emblem on the front and the player’s name on the back.

“This should be particularly sought after on the day and is estimated at £1,500-£2,500.”

Born in Wigston in 1938, Howard Riley made over 200 appearances for Leicester City, joining the club straight from Kibworth School only four days after his 17th birthday, before army service called.

The only Leicestershire-born player in City’s 1961 FA Cup final side, his moment of cup glory came in 1964 when he scored the winning goal in the League Cup final against Stoke.

The jersey from the 1961 FA Cup final vs Tottenham Hotspur is lot 125 and includes the squad number 7. It was made by Bukta, is a size 38 and includes an embroidered club badge.

The track suit top and jersey from the 1963 FA Cup final is lot 126 and was made by Redmayne and Todd. It’s embroidered ‘Howard Riley’, it includes the club badge with banner ‘Wembley 1963’ below and to the back ‘Leicester City FC’, 

The 9-carat gold FA Challenge Cup final 1963 runner-up medal is lot 127, and it was awarded after the match against Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on May 25, 1963.

The medal is engraved with ‘The Football Association’ and includes two football players and the Three Lions emblem. The reverse side is engraved ‘The Football Association Challenge Cup Runners-Up H. Riley 1963’.

The medal has a diameter of 32mm, weighs 23g and is accompanied by its original fitted box.

The items are being auctioned at Market Harborough-based Gildings Auctioneers’ Christmas Art and Antiques Auction on Tuesday at 11am.

For further information about the items and the sale, visit the auction house website.

Faes vs Maguire vs Fofana

How does Leicester City’s summer recruit compare to previous centre-backs? Jayden Whitworth tots up the numbers.

Faes vs Maguire vs Fofana
How does Leicester City’s summer recruit compare to previous centre-backs?

Futsal volunteering opportunity for all DMU students

By Callam Banghard

The DMU (De Montfort University) futsal social league has begun, and the team are looking for social activators to help manage and timekeep fixtures.  

Activators will be required between 2pm to 5pm every Monday and Tuesday, with fixtures beginning on Monday(NOV21) and running until March 16, 2023.

Fixtures will be played at the Watershed, in Upperton Road, Bede Island, and will be open for other DMU students to watch the matches. 

This is a fantastic way of gaining some valuable volunteering experience to add to your CV. 

If you are interested, contact 

Just how does Leicester City’s form after 7 games compare to WSL teams relegated in previous seasons?

Alice Wright

Leicester City have failed to pick up any points so far in the Barclay’s FA Women’s Super League, suffering from seven straight defeats.

Take the journey from Leicester City Women’s home ground to previously relegated WSL sides (made using Google Earth Studio)

Having only managed to score two goals (one being an own goal by Tottenham player Drew Spence), but conceding 16, it’s easy to see why Leicester are sat bottom of the table.

Here’s how they fare after seven games compared to three WSL teams who went on to get relegated:

Birmingham City 2021/22

After seven games, Birmingham had managed to gain one point with a draw against West Ham. Like Leicester, they also only managed to score two goals at this point but conceded 16, which is the same as Leicester. They had also only played two of the top five teams in the WSL by this point.

Bristol City 2020/21

Unlike Birmingham, the Robins managed two points after seven games after two draws against Tottenham and Reading. However, they managed to score more than double the number of goals as Leicester and Birmingham (five), but also conceded 31 goals after a 9-0 loss to Chelsea and an 8-1 loss to Manchester City.

Liverpool 2019/2020

Again, the Reds only gained a single point after seven matches, drawing 1-1 against Bristol City. Liverpool scored the least amount of goals from any of the four teams (one), but also conceded the fewest (nine).

Bar chart comparing form between the four teams (made using Canva)

Over the last three seasons, the two teams that have finished in 10th or 11th place tend to get relegated the following season.

In the 2019/20 season, when Liverpool were relegated on six points, Bristol City finished in 10th place, and the following year (2020/21), they were relegated on 12 points.

Birmingham City, who finished 11th in the 2020/21 season, went on to get relegated with 11 points in the 2021/22 season. Who happened to finish 11th that year? Leicester City on 13 points. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but it does make you think.

After facing top of the table Arsenal in the WSL, in what was a tough fixture for City, fears around Leicester’s survival hopes grew even stronger.

The Foxes now face 8th place West Ham, a must-win game for Leicester to claim points to ensure they don’t fall adrift at the bottom of the table.

Fellow struggling sides Brighton play Liverpool and Reading play Aston Villa. Two teams are able to pull even further away from Leicester, with Reading and Brighton being the most likely of the two.