Players surprisingly joined from Arsenal and Chelsea, never did see that coming!

Looking back in the years of Leicester transfer activity you find a number of exciting facts and details about how it happened, why it happened and if it turned out to be a great move or just the total opposite.

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Going back 50 years, we are in the summer of 1971, and as we all remember Leicester back in the top flight after two years out of the limelight. It all started with a bit of controversy as the current manager Frank O’Farrell was flying off to Man Utd, and a certain Jimmy Bloomfield taking over and nothing was prepared early on.

Jimmy who’s record at Leicester in the transfer market must be seen as phenomenal just adding that very special talent needed to give the team extra piff and solidity, he did it with cleverness and finesse as the right types were slotted in almost perfectly.

Willie Carlin and Bobby Kellard had both been picked to get the promotion possible, both players with that fighting spirit in the middle of the engine room, small terrier like players with a will to win, but maybe not skillful enough to get the team flying in the top division.

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Jon Sammels was added to the team for a fee of £100.000 and a bit on the fringe at Arsenal, seeing his place in the first team sliding away as The Double act was finalized with Jon only playing fifteen games that season, but for Leicester he was such a great addition and cemented in the team by Jimmy Bloomfield almost perfect and in time to be the only winner of the league and FA Cup to play in the Charity Shield were Arsenal bowed out and instead Leicester was invited to join and played Liverpool, winning the event 1-0 after a rare and seldom happening, Steve Whitworth scored the winner.

With Jon in, new recruits were added from London, getting both Keith Weller and Alan Birchenall, two bright footballers at the time, one joining from Millwall the other from Crystal Palace. Birch did come up from London and was born in East Ham, but his travels both in life and football did see him grow up in Nottingham and later playing for Sheffield United before being sold to Chelsea, and after just one season at Selhurst Park moving back up to the Midlands and joining Leicester.

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The money used was significant and to splash out £100.000 x three on those players might have cost Leicester grandly as they had set their eyes on survival. With money received for sales of Kellard and Carlin as well as a later sale of Fern to Luton, money might have been freed to get the hands of the three bright talents. Bloomfield later made an off load of Ali Brown and David Nish to give space for two new exciting signings, Frank Worthington and Dennis Rofe, but that was a year later and looking at all those transfers in a total, you might find a bit of balance as the next years never really made it possible to grow the team as much as wanted with less funds available.

Though these three magnificent signings in the summer of 71 did become vital in the push for survival and establishing Leicester as a top flight team during these seasons of the 70’s.

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