Leicester looked impossible, but Laurie Cunningham did join after years at Real Madrid

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One of the former greats of English football and probably the first of those players paving the path for black English youngsters to come through was Laurie Cunningham.

In his early days a player at Leyton Orient and shining for the O’s before moving to West Bromwich to hit it off in the top flight. He was so good that Real Madrid decided to pay £950.000 for his services.

He was an odd fellow and not a regular type of a footballer, being a bit easy living and taking life as it comes. Leyton Orient loved him, but he could be out until the morning and dance, as he liked that almost as much as playing football.

His years at West Bromwich under the management of Ron Atkinson was fantastic, but hit by many injuries during his days at Real Madrid he just played in 44 league games, did win the La Liga in 1980, in almost four years and missed on Euro’s and World Cup’s as England entered.

He did appear 6 times for England and also played in the European Cup final v. Liverpool in 1981, but had to see his Real Madrid defeated on the night. After his days with Real Madrid he moved to Marseille, and continued his career in France. He had during his time at The Bernabeu also had loan spells with Manchester United and Sporting Gijon.

Then in 1985 it all happened, Leicester had seen themselves in a bit of a struggle and to be able to sign Laurie Cunningham must have been a real scoop as Gordon Milne did get his man to Filbert Street.

The stay became short as injury trouble stopped his chance to play on a regular basis, adding up only 15 league games for the club before heading out again, this time signing for Rayo Vallecano. We all do remember Laurie Cunningham for his contribution as he made a number of great peformances to help the team avoid relegation.

After his time and return to Spain Cunningham tried his luck in Belgium with Charleroi, but after playing just one single game he was on the move again, this time to Wimbledon and during that season picking up a FA Cup winners medal coming on as a sub and getting his revenge on Liverpool.

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A new return to Spain and Rayo, but during his time with the club he tragically he was killed in a car crash. A grand player and one of those special talents that you would love to watch playing day in and day out, but he was never seen as a key player during many seasons at Leicester and during his career probably not seen as one being much connected to Leicester City, absolutely one of the guys in disguise.

FACTFILE

  • Full Name: Laurie Paul Cunningham
  • Position: Winger
  • Date of Birth: 08.03.1956
  • Birthplace: Archway, London, England
  • Nation: England
  • Caps / Goals: 6/0
  • Major League Career:
    • 1974-77, Leyton Orient (75/15)
    • 1977-79, West Bromwich Albion (86/21)
    • 1979-84, Real Madrid (44/13)
    • 1984-85, Marseille (30/8)
    • 1985-86, Leicester City (15/0)
    • 1986-89, Rayo Vallecano (56/2)
    • 1988, Wimbledon (6/1)
  • Links: Wikipedia

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Guys in Disguise, George Armstrong, from Arsenal double to Leicester City relegation

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Often at the end of a career some still see you as a good player and they might think it’s still some juice left to help out in a difficult situation. Frank McLintock arrived at Leicester City in the summer of 1977, taking over from Jimmy Bloomfield, who had an aging squad with a few key players coming to a certain age.

Frank McLintock had just left QPR as a player and went back to some of his old team mates to get them to move and play for him, and leave their current clubs for minor fees. George Armstrong, a legend at Arsenal was one of those players following in the foot steps of David Webb and Eddie Kelly who had also joined their former team mate and trying to give Leicester City a lift and helping to avoid relegation.

George completed a total of 500 league games for Arsenal and of course playing in a number of European, FA Cup and League Cup games as well, being part of that special Double act team of 1970/71.  He was also part of the team that won the 1969/70 European Fairs Cup and also representing Arsenal in the 1968 and 1969 League Cup finals, ending runners-up, the same was his contribution in the 1972 FA Cup final, being defeated 1-0 by Leeds.

George Armstrong made his debut for Leicester on the 24th of September 1977, it all ended in a terrible 3-0 defeat at home to high flying Nottingham Forest, who later won the league all together. Armstrong stayed on for the rest of the season and beyond, but only included in 12 games by his “old pal” McLintock.

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Armstrong was 33 at the time, and few or no one could figure out why a player at that age, signing for free would be a valuable asset for Leicester at the time, trying to replace older players with even an older one.

Armstrong stayed with Leicester also after the relegation and played 3 league games for Jock Wallace before making a switch to Stockport early on, and we never really did see the best years of a great footballer who had taken a strange path towards retirement.

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George Armstrong went in to coaching and had spells in Norway and Kuwait, before returning home and becoming a key man again at Highbury working for the club in different coaching capacities until his early death at the age 56. Sadly his time at Leicester City was in a period of decline and his move was never seen as a success for one of the best wingers in the country during his 20’s. Sir Alf Ramsey never took him upstairs, and his tally of five England U.23 caps was his international bow, as it was not a priority to play with wingers under Sir Alf.

  • Full Name: George Armstrong
  • Position: Winger
  • Date of Birth: 09.08.1944
  • Birthplace: Hemel Hempstead
  • Nation: England
  • Caps / Goals: 0/0
  • Major League Career:
    • 1961-77, Arsenal (500/53)
    • 1977-78, Leicester City (15/0)
    • 1978-79, Stockport County (34/0)
  • Links: Wikipedia

Guys in Disguise, Cedric Kipre, From LCFC Academy to top flight life at West Brom

Cedric Kipre might not be much known for his time at Leicester City, never crossing the line of first team action, and moving on to other adventures. Kipre (24) joined Leicester City in  2014 and left three years after and his only chance of first team action was during a loan spell at non-league Corby Town, playing two games.

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Watching Cedric Kipre developing at Leicester City was a plus as the player looked as one that could make it and get a chance to evolve, but instead he moved north to Scotland and Motherwell, settling in well and establishing himself in the first team at Fir Park. His progress alerted clubs in England and Wigan Athletic signed him in 2018.

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He settled in well and progression was made and he was a force in the Wigan team with good and clever displays in Championship action. Kipre added up 70 league appearances in two years with The Latics and attracted clubs in the Premier League.

West Bromwich Albion became the next step for the Ivory Coast U.21 international, but has not yet made any impact at The Hawthorns and recently joined Belgian club Charleroi on loan this February and hopefully he will get a chance to show his skills.

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Kipre is a fine example of several other recruits that has made a move to other clubs and been able to progress from their time at LCFC, being released or shown the door at Leicester City.

  • Full Name: Cedric Kipre
  • Position: Defender
  • Date of Birth: 09.12.1996
  • Birthplace: Paris, France
  • Nation: Ivory Coast
  • Caps / Goals: 0/0
  • Major League Career:
    • 2017-18, Motherwell (36/1)
    • 2018-20, Wigan Athletic (74/2)
    • 2020 ->, West Bromwich Albion (0/0)
  • Links: Wikipedia

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