Picture: Alan Smith
Jon Sammels joined Leicester City from Arsenal back in 1971, coming in to strengthen a newly promoted team and together with Keith Weller and Alan Birchenall bringing top flight quality to secure a life at the top. Sammels had a good career at Arsenal but at the time joining Leicester not a regular first teamer at Highbury. Sammels played at Leicester City for seven seasons before moving over the pond and joining Vancouver Whitecaps in the NASL.
Frank McLintock is another to mention with a glorious time at Highbury winning a number of trophies with The Double in 70/71 as a grand highlight. The Scottish midfielder that in his years at Arsenal operated more and more as a central defender rejoined Leicester City as a manager, but his time in the capacity was not as great as his days as a player.
George Armstrong and Eddie Kelly are other double winners at Arsenal that later became players at Leicester City, both joining Frank McLintock in the 77/78 season. Armstrong had a short lived life at Filbert Street just a few months before moving to Stockport County. Eddie Kelly became an important player and played a major part in the 1979/80 promotion push, and also returned from a spell at Notts County and Bournemouth and played another season in blue.
The next player to mention must be Alan Smith who had a fast push to the top at Leicester City, coming in from amateur club Alvechurch and build a great relationship with Gary Lineker as a major striking force at Leicester City in the 80’s. Smith later joined Arsenal and had massive success during his time at Highbury, winning the league in 88/89 and 90/91 as as the major highlights.
Paul Dickov never made a big impact at Arsenal, despite being his first club in professional football. Dickov later had two spells at Leicester City, winning promotion to the Premier League in 02/03, and being part of that 08/09 team that won the League One trophy. Dickov didn’t play more than 22 league games during six years at Highbury, helping the club to win the European Cup winners Cup in 92/93. Dickov played until the age of 39, adding up 21 seasons in different clubs in football.
Martin Keown will probably not be seen as a Leicester City legend, but surely he is exactly that at Arsenal. He did join Leicester City as a player coach in 2004, just after celebrating the last Premier League trophy of Arsenal. A grand defender who also played for England and also had spells at Everton, Reading, Brighton and Aston Villa.
Kevin Campbell was a forward that Arsenal will always remember, and as a youngster he had a short loan spell at Leicester City. Campbell also had spells in Turkey, at Nottingham Forest and Everton, being among a group of good top flight forwards never to play for England at full international level.
One not to forget is Jeff Blockley, a native Leicester born player, who was spotted by Coventry City and later moved to Arsenal. He joined Leicester City in 1975 and his presence in defense became important as Leicester City again managed to avoid relegation and climb up to their 3rd best position in the English top flight, ending 7th in the 1975/76 season. Jeff Blockley was also an England one cap wonder as his only game for Three Lions came against Yugoslavia (1-1) in 1972.
Karrea Gilbert and Spanish defender Ignasi Miquel are two players who spent time on loan at Leicester City, and a third is Ryan Smith. All of them youngsters at the time and especially Gilbert did a good impression playing regularly as a right back alternative during the 08/09 season, winning League One.
Former Leicester City manager Jimmy Bloomfield was a brilliant inside forward as a player, with his best years in the game at Highbury. Jimmy played for Arsenal from 1954 to 1960 adding up 210 league games and scored 54 goals.
A list of players in both camps,
- Colin Hill
- Frank McLintock
- Kerrea Gilbert
- Jeff Blockley
- Ignasi Miquel
- Martin Keown
- Matthew Upson
- Eddie Kelly
- George Armstrong
- Jon Sammels
- Kevin Campbell
- Paul Dickov
- Alan Smith
- Ryan Smith