Leicester City: The Revival

Ian CockerillContributor IMarch 26, 2010

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 24: Nigel Pearson, manager of Leicester during the Coca-Cola Championship match between Leicester City and Reading at The Walkers Stadium on March 24, 2010 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

If you follow English football, you may or may not have heard of Leicester City. If you're and English football fanatic, you'll probably know them as a mediocre, insignificant football club.

Famous for fielding talent such as Peter Shilton, Gary Lineker, Gordon Banks and Emile Heskey, amongst others, our history has been littered with highs and lows, culminating with the ultimate high between 1996-2000, when Martin O'Neill gave us promotion back to the Premiership, two League Cups and European football.

In June 2000, however, the greatest manager this club has ever had departed from Filbert Street to join his boyhood club Celtic.

In his place came rising star Peter Taylor, and after a big spending summer, the promise of a rise up the Premier League table was strong.

When City hit top spot in the Premiership, the rise and rise of Leicester City was complete. But what goes up, must come down, and this was certainly the case for the Foxes.

Nine straight defeats late in the 00/01 season signalled danger warnings of what was to come, and the following campaign ended with relegation to Division 1.

After administration and promotion back to the big time in 2003, Leicester began to plummet into obscurity, starting with relegation back to the newly named Coca-Cola Championship in 2004.

What followed was a run of seven managers in four years, and mid-table mediocrity in the second tier of English football. After the takeover by Milan Mandaric in 2006, City hit the self-destruct button, and a dismal 2007/08 campaign led to relegation to League 1 for the first time in the 124 year history of the club.

There seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel, until the arrival of current manager Nigel Pearson, in June 2008. The ship began to stabilise, and the 2008/09 campaign finally saw the players and management pride put back into the club.

League 1 champions with 96 points, hitting top spot in November and never looking back, a superbly dominant season put Leicester back into the Championship.

This season has further emphasised the revival of the Foxes, sitting in fourth place in the table, and the play-offs seemingly a certainty. Two years ago, the very thought of having the slightest chance of Leicester making it back into the Premier League was miles away. Now, for fans like me, who had to watch the club we love hit rock bottom, that dream is very much alive.

Who do we have to thank for this? It has to be Nigel Pearson. He has us playing free-flowing, attacking football, and while it might not always work, and we might have to revert to hoof-ball, he has transformed this clubs fortunes in less than two years.

I don't think we'll get back to the 'promised land' this season, but that'd be a massive bonus for everyone connected with the club. In May 2008 I was devastated when my team hit their lowest ebb, I'm now on cloud nine, as the team which I follow up and down the country continues it's revival of amazing proportions.

The back to back promotion we are threatening to achieve hasn't been done since Manchester City 10 years ago. Whether we meet them next season in the biggest league in the world next season is still to be decided, but whatever happens, Leicester City are back, and the future looks very bright.