Ian Stringer Former Apprentice & The Voice of Leicester City FC on BBC Radio Leicester
LTID: Did you ever get to play for a football team at any time? IS: Not really. I played in the
Leicester area as a kid for Syston and William Baker but didn’t pursue a career
in the industry because I hadn’t been ‘picked up’ meaning I clearly wasn’t good
enough. Still play a couple of times a week now though and love it.
LTID:You’re a big fan of Leicester City FC. What are your
memories of the first LCFC game you went to? IS:I remember being sat in the double
decker when I was a real young lad. I think it was Boxing Day 1985 but that
would make me 4, I do have a good memory so it’s quite possible that was my
first game with my Nan and Granddad, Aunt, Dad and Step-Mum to be in tow. I don’t
remember much other than it being a freezing cold day and me having to wrap up
warm. I recall the smells of onions and stale tobacco and that legendary scent
of the inside of a match day programme.
LTID: Leicester City have always been a nearly team. As a fan how frustrated
do you get by the bigger teams? IS:I don’t get frustrated with the
teams themselves, it’s not their fault that they win silverware but it does
frustrate me that youngster decide that the lure of a so called ‘giant club’ is
more appealing than following their local team. Even that can’t be helped these
days, for a family to go to a Championship club can be a very expensive day
LTID:Since you have been following The City, what has been your
personal favourite period in the clubs history & why? IS:When you’ve followed a club for so
many years of fruitless toil it comes as a welcome relief when there’s some
short term success and for that reason I would have to say the halcyon years
under Martin O’Neil were a wonder to watch. Heskey, Claridge, Lennon, Izzet,
Keller et al. And to be at Wembley to witness my club lifting a trophy after so
many tearful returns on the tube in the early 90s is something that will live
with me forever.
LTID:Gary Lineker’s eldest son supports Manchester United, do any
of your family support another team and how do you handle that? IS:I’m really having to wrack my
brains on this one. I don’t really have much of a family left for one reason or
another, it’s very complicated, so the answer to that has to be no but given my
Dad, brother and sister are the only immediate family I really have left then
that doesn’t leave many.
LTID:With the new owners bringing in Sven as manager &
promising to make millions of £’s available do you really believe that this is
Leicester’s time? IS:Depends on what we call a ‘time’ if
that means promotion to the Premier League brand then yes I think we will see
promotion in the coming years but I’ll say this. One of the great things about
supporting a club like Leicester is that there’s such limited success that you
thrive on a mini ‘time’ for years. That could be a cup run or victory over a
local rival. I can’t imagine what it’s like to support on of the big clubs and
to think you have a divine right to expect a trip to Wembley every season.
LTID:Do you think Sven is the man to take us forward &
deliver a future that has never been seen at LCFC before or do you think he’ll
leave if a bigger club comes in for him ala O’Neill? IS:Sven is a real gent and a superb
manager to boot. He’s charming to speak to and an honest individual, I like
that about him. I trust what he tells me is the truth because he has the
respect to inform me of things which are to be kept off the record for a while.
Can Sven deliver more success than has been seen here before? With the current
owners, I really do believe that‘s possible and hope it is allowed to happen.
Sven has signed a 2 year contract and I think he will see out those 2 years.
The owners have told me their keen to extend that contract but it‘s a results
LTID:Jimmy Bloomfield brought us probably the most exciting times
at Leicester amassing a team of true ‘Entertainers’ buy Martin O’Neill brought
us silver wear & the most successful years ever. Which time would you
sooner re-live? IS:I’d love to re-live the O’Neil era
and share it with my son Owen. He loves The Foxes, even at 4, and I’d love for
him to enjoy the success I did when I was a teenager. We had the best of em on
the run. (on the field I mean)
LTID:Would you prefer Leicester to draw 4-4 and it be a ‘great’
game or win 1-0 in a ‘boring’ drab show? IS:As a fan it’s your choice to
purchase a ticket for a game at the going rate. Now I do believe tickets these
days could be cheaper to encourage more fans along but I would never sit in the
stands and expect to be ‘entertained’ and this is where the biggest change to
our game has come in my lifetime. The birth of The Premier League with all it’s
pomp and ceremony along with excitable broadcasters hyping up Stoke Vs Wigan,
it IS now an entertainment industry and folk sit back, enjoy their comfy seat
and want to see step-overs, volleys and intricate passing. Our game doesn’t
work like that I’m afraid, it’s blood and thunder at times and that’s the way I
like it. More than one way to skin a cat etc. I’d take the boring one nil win
all day long which the marketing men would salivate at an ‘8 goal thriller’ -
not this soldier.
LTID:We all secretly have a second team (mine is Poole Town FC as
I live there) do you have one, if so which & why? IS:I can honestly say I don’t have a
second team. I don’t believe in having a ‘Premier League team’ or ‘La Liga’
team. You’re a FAN of one team, mine is Leicester City. You can FOLLOW other
clubs but only be fanatical about one.
LTID:Who is your favourite all time City player & why? IS:When I was in the play-ground I
wanted to be Lineker, that was until 1996 when Steve Claridge became my hero.
His winning goal against Crystal Palace made for the best day of my life (after
the birth of my children of course) (As I went to school & was in the same class as Gary Lineker that really makes me feel old thanks Ian - LTID)
LTID:Which would be your favourite ever Leicester City game &
why? IS:Same again I’m afraid. City beating
Palace in the play-off final of 1996 with a goal in the last minute from
Claridge. What a day in the sun. We turned the capital blue for the day.
LTID:Have you ever found yourself sitting in the away end at a
Leicester game and what happened? IS:Yes, at Swindon Town strangely. A friend
of the family decided to take me and we could only get tickets in the home end.
I was a youngster and kept chanting for the blue team to score, I think the
cute factor meant we got away with it on that day. (Cute ???? - LTID!)
LTID:Football has changed a lot over the years. Do you think this
is the best it’s ever been for fans. IS:No way. Far from it. I think true
fans of football have seen better days. When they would bump into their stars
at the bar after watching the match from the terraces and paying less than a
kings’ ransom to watch some of their local players make the grade. The skill
level has increased as well as coverage form the media but with that has come
some of the darker elements of the game. Players are more distant now than ever
before - although some at Leicester City are superb in trying to connect with
the community I have to say. The media has exposed more of the players’ private
lives than in years gone by and had we had the likes of the internet on the 60s
I think we would have had as many if not more headlines. The game of football
has evolved and with it must we as fans, reluctantly from me though. One thing
to bear in mind, any football club is nothing without it’s fans, it is simply a
Sunday league team without and fans. The club is the fans.
LTID:We all accept (begrudgingly sometimes) that Referee’s have a
hard job and sometimes get it wrong. How
do you stand on the introduction of technology into the game? IS:I’d like to see a goal-line camera.
The move continues until the ball is dead and then if the decision is
questionable then we check the tape, easy. It stops at that. Human error is
part of the game but we do need to support and develop our officials as best we
can going forward to improve their performance but the players have a
responsibility as well to show much more respect than they do at the moment.
Law changes is always an interesting subject.
LTID:Are there too many foreign players in the English game these
days & is it affecting the English National team? IS:I don’t think there are too many foreign
players no. I’d like to see more of a take-up of coaching qualifications within
not only the industry but also the nationa curriculum and whilst I’m on the
subject, Physical Education should be a compulsory GCSE in my opinion, that
would help more youngsters to become interested in sport and untimely give us a
wider choice of stars of the future.
LTID:So the Club or Country question. Would you prefer England to
win the World Cup or Leicester City to win the Premier League? IS:Oh, that’s harsh. It would have to
be to see Leicester City win The Premier League…….the summer after seeing
England win the World Cup maybe. Too much to ask? (Think we would all love that Ian - LTID)
LTID:Are there any other sports apart from football that you
follow? IS:Given we have so much quality sport in Leicester I try to keep across The Tigers, County, Riders, local Horse Racing track, Hockey, Netball, Speedway, Swimming etc etc. Pn a personal level I run a lot, play lots of golf and enjoy anything which gets my heart over 100 beats per minute. LTID::You have the perfect job in many fans eyes, is it is as fun
and glamorous as it would seem? IS:I am a very very privileged person
to be in the job I’m in and with that in mind I try my best to offer the best
possible coverage to our audience. Whether that’s on 104.9fm at www.bbc.co.uk/leicester , social
networking like Twitter or on the television. When some folk within the
industry moan about a ‘long day’ I’m the first to remind them of some of the
jobs they could have instead. To answer the question, no it’s not quite as
glamorous as it seems but you’ll never hear me moan about waiting for 3 hours
to get 2 interviews or travel up and down the country. What I do is a privilege and I’ll ensure I bring you the
best coverage of your club as I possibly can.
LTID:As a commentator is there a match or event from the past
that you would say ‘I wish I had been commentating on that!’ ? IS:If I had a time machine I would go
back to 1996 and put myself in the commentary box. It’s Sport all the way for
me so it would certainly be a cup final ahead of a royal wedding or grand
national instead of an election.
Up the City. Ian copyright Leicester 'till I Die 2011