What if? An alternative history of Leicester City talking of Ice Kings and Gary Lineker as we bring on Jimmy Bloomfield

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Mathew Mann has in his his book What if? An alternative history of Leicester City looked at several key moments in the years of the club and what the alternative could be if things had gone differently.

This is of course difficult to predict as you do not have the scenario and those answers. He has brought up a number of crossroads for teams and players as an alternative history could have seen a different outfall.

This book is a bit of a fairy story and one with some special outcomes. The alternative story could easily have been very close.

The Ice Kings was close to winning the league and a number of incidents in the end of the season did see Leicester lose out on both League and FA Cup titles.

Gary Lineker had a long route on his journey as a top goalscorer being played mostly on the wing in his first appearances, and it took almost three years before he was given a proper run up front and started his goalscoring flush.

The book reflects on a journey seeing Ice Kings as League winners and Gary Lineker ending up at Enderby Town. A club that in the years to come shifted to become Leicester United.

Please read the book as we do like the idea of What if? scenarios as we bring on three more stories, starting with Jimmy Bloomfield and his departure from the club and what if? he had stayed on?

Leicester had just finished 7th and 11th in his two seasons before departure. No one predicted him leaving and many times been wondering how it all would have turned out with him present.

Looking at his way of management both at Leicester and Orient, it was easy to predict his ideas and we would probably not have seen a total revolt of a squad that had a mid table position value. With that in mind we also knew that money would probably been available if certain sales had been done.

With record transfer sales such as David Nish, Peter Shilton and Bob Lee in previous seasons money had been available to do certain changes as we did see them well used on players such as Frank Worthington, Dennis Rofe, Jeff Blockley, Mark Wallington, Chris Garland, Steve Kember and Brian Alderson.

To make a prediction on the basis of the Bloomfield way, we would have seen the addition of Eddie Kelly and Roger Davies, no departure for Frank Worthington as he would have stayed on to help the team progress. The following squad with the addition of Kelly and Davies would be one who could competed for a top ten postion.

1977/78
Goalkeepers; Wallington, Jayes
Defenders; Whitworth, Rofe, Blockley, Woollett, Sims, May
Midfield: Sammels, Kember, Weller, Alderson, Kelly
Forwards: Worthington, Earle, Davies, Christie

Often wondered how Frank Worthington would taken on a partnership with Gary Lineker as the latter would have been involved from the next season. Also made thoughts about what type of foreign energy you could filled the team with as bargains were to be found abroad. The summer of 78 did see Tottenham as a newly promoted team adding newly World Cup winners Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa to their squad, as two foreigners were allowed from this season on.

France had a grand World Cup in 1978, but still had to see Argentina and Italy pushing them out of further progress and it all ended after three games in the group stages. Bloomfield would have parted company with Alan Woollett and Steve Earle and added Marius Tresor and Michel Platini. To be able to fund those transfers England U.21 international Steve Sims and experienced midfielder Steve Kember were the players to sell as it would balanced the transfer fees for one midfielder from Nancy and a defender from Marseille.

1978/79
Goalkeepers; Wallington, Jayes
Defenders: Whitworth, Rofe, May, Tresor, Blockley, Williams
Midfield: Platini, Kelly, Sammels, Weller, Alderson
Forwards: Christie, Worthington, Lineker, Davies

Michel Platini could have been the front runner of Ngolo Kantè as the 23 year old was a bit unknown and broke on the scene of international football from his modest club life at Nancy. Jimmy Bloomfield would have build the perfect blend with a certain Frank Worthington and Keith Weller as they would have been a massive force going forward.

1979/80
Goalkeepers: Wallington, Jayes
Defenders: Whitworth, Rofe, May, Tresor, Blockley, Williams
Midfield: Platini, Kelly, Weller, Peake, Alderson
Forwards: Christie, Worthington, Lineker, Davies

We believe Bloomfield would for the next season made just one change as Andy Peake had been part of the first team affairs with Jon Sammels being the one stepping out. One single change, no transfers and just building momentum with a good and qualified squad.

We all know how Jimmy Bloomfield continued his work at Orient building a good side that was on their way to the 1978 FA Cup final but had to see themselves defeated by Arsenal in the semi. Despite losing on his return to Filbert Street in the 78/79 season for a clash in the second tier, he had build a strong force on a very limited budget. Bloomfield left Orient in 1981 and later had a coaching role at Luton when he in 1984, at just 49 years of age, sadly died of cancer. His time at Leicester will never be forgotten and his way of work with just small or minor changes to the squad season in and season out is from a fans point of view the perfect scenario.

Leicester would have been a strong force in English football as we certainly believe that players such as Gary McAllister, Ian Wilson, Alan Smith and Kevin MacDonald all could have been recruited even with Bloomfield in charge. We would hopefully also seen a steady progress and cool performances as new players would have been added perfectly and in time to get it all correct from a squad point of view.

This is of course just a prediction but still made in the spirit of those people we believe would have taken the correct steps as football learning and knowledge would have stopped the club from turning into a relegation candidate.

We will bring on a few more What if’s? as we predict the outcome of Martin O’Neill and Claudio Ranieri staying on as Leicester managers for more years and just leaving those difficult situations behind as they could have easily been avoided.

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