Jimmy Bloomfield took over from Frank O’Farrell after the 1970-71 second tier victory and in his first official game made Leicester 1-0 winners vs. Liverpool in the Charity Shield. A very special Steve Whitworth goal scored in the 15th minute was the only goal in the game.
Jon Sammels made his full debut for Leicester in this game as a recent arrival from Double winners Arsenal. A fee of £100.000 was agreed for the elegant midfielder.
Bloomfield new his team needed more quality and two more £100.000 signings were done, bringing in Keith Weller from Chelsea and Alan Birchenall arriving from Crystal Palace. All three became pivotal for Leicester as they help the team to survive in the first division. Leicester ended 12th in the league that first season back.
Leicester decided to let their captain David Nish move to Derby for a new English transfer record fee of £225.000 and had to fill the gap on left back and also be able to move for a forward as they had also let young Scottish forward Ali Brown leave for a fee of £60.000 to West Bromwich.
Dennis Rofe arrived from Leyton Orient for a fee of £112.000 and money was also available to sign Frank Worthington from Huddersfield for a fee close to £100.000. This was magic signings done by Jimmy Bloomfield and after a struggling start Bloomfield and his team climbed the table and finished 16th.
The 1973-74 season became a highlight and again money were well used on Steve Earle early in the campaign as the experienced forward arrived from Fulham. Leicester climbed to 3rd in September and was at 4th place in January, but a slip towards the end did see them finish 9th with another massive highlight being the FA Cup run ending in the semi’s vs. Liverpool.
Despite the great run and a uphill progress Peter Shilton had a desire to move on and early on in the next season he pushed through a move to Stoke, who decided to pay a new World record fee of £325.000 for his services. Leicester had allready Mark Wallington at the club and he was the one getting the gloves to take over.
Leicester again had their struggles to compete and Jimmy Bloomfield entered the transfer market in the later stages of the season bringing in two new £100.000 signings in Jeff Blockley from Arsenal and Chris Garland joining from Chelsea. Both players contributed with good performances and Leicester came out of the relegation zone and ended 15th after been at the very bottom in January.
Steve Kember and Brian Alderson arrived in the summer of 1975 and both cemented places in the first eleven as all those other signings made. Players signed for big fees in that time were taken in with one purpose to strengthen the firs team and all signings were spot on. Kember made instant impact after his move from Chelsea and Alderson arrived from Coventry.
Bloomfield made crucial decissions as he pushed out players and sold several along the way. He then reinvested the money in good alterantives that took the team on, but in 1976/77 we did not see any moves in at all with players such as Bob Lee and Chris Garland being sold to Sunderland and Bristol City for big fees.
In the summer of 1977 it was all over after Jimmy Bloomfield walked out and a certain Frank McLintock moved into the office. Frank started his Leicester campaign cleverly adding Eddie Kelly, but the rest ended in a nightmare as he made to many changes too fast. His addition of Roger Davies was supposed to be a massive signing but it never became a success.
So what is the lesson learned from Jimmy Bloomfield;
- Signing players for big fees to use them as steady first team alternatives
- Never make many signings, better to go for one or two each season
- No revolts despite bad periods
- Be sure that signed players from outside fits the picture and are seen as first team alternatives
- Not using money on players if they are not ment to be strengthening the first eleven
Jimmy Bloomfield had an eye for a good signing and did brilliant in the transfer market.
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