If you are supporting Leicester City surely you know the name Alan Birchenall, he is like a brick in the wall at the club and been around since the early 70’s. “Birch” turns 75 today and a big congratulation to him from all of us here over in Scandinavia.
To see him play for Leicester City was a thrill as he arrived from Crystal Palace in 1971. The club had just got promoted, but also lost their manager Frank O’Farrell who had accepted an offer from Manchester United to take over at Old Trafford, with Jimmy Bloomfield being the taking over at Leicester City. Jimmy Bloomfield had an eye for a good player and he looked to London to find his new recruits to build a Leicester City team that had a chance to survive in the top flight. Together with Alan Birchenall, Keith Weller and Jon Sammels all came up and a new era at the club started with the three in the heart of the Leicester City team.
After a long and successful playing career in England and America, “Birch” had a three year run in non-league management with Trowbridge Town, but decided to quit the trade, and moved back up to Leicester and after a while rejoining the club in role as club ambassador. He has since been around at Leicester City through the decades. Great to see him celebrating those fantastic triumphs and always aming to keep a smile on the face of fans, players and staff.
To meet Alan Birchenall in person is a funny affair, always joking and full of laughs showing his loyalty and talking about past and present. We have met him several times together with players when presented our “Scandinavian Player of the Year Award”, going back to the early 90’s. We have also been on a guided tour with him around Belvoir Drive as he took on his hat “Beach Tours” and walked us through the corridors, telling all sort of stories, passing a laughing Matt Elliott in the doorway, Muzzy Izzet in the laundry room and getting a really authentic and memorable happening.
We wish “Birch” all the best as he turns 75, what a life, and here are our top 10 memories, going back, no order, just 10 good moments
- Birch lifting the PL trophy, just as epic as seeing Claudio doing it
- Him scoring against Leeds United in 1973, what a fantastic goal
- Of course meeting the legend in person, walking us around Belvoir Drive
- Another meeting with him an Graham Cross, joking about old days, fantastic
- Meeting him and Jamie Vardy for the 2017/18 award ceremony at King Power
- That famous kiss with Tony Currie, one of the best known photos in football
- Reading his autobiography, “Bring Back The Birch” ,great laughs and funny facts
- His “curly haircut” from a picture while at Luton Town
- His desire and support for Leicester City, but also being fondly remembered at his other clubs seen him on special occasions with Notts County and Chelsea.
- His charity runs, and how he just keeps on, fantastic
All the best to Birch on his 75th Birthday.