This is the brief story of how a consortium led by former Leicester City player Gary Lineker helped save the club. With quotes from fellow rescuer Emile Heskey.
During the 2002/03 season, Leicester City found themselves in administration, due to debts of around £30 million. At the time, the club were in the first division – now renamed the Championship – yet, remarkably still managed automatic qualification to the Premier League, thanks to a brilliant second place finish.
Reasons for the financial crisis were apparently down to low transfer fees recouped and a particularly high wage bill, in relation to the league. Not to mention an also bankrupt ITV Digital, unable to pay clubs the initially agreed amounts.
A new rule was consequently introduced, Wikipedia states: “After several First Division clubs complained to the Football League, the Football League introduced a ruling that any club placed in administration would be deducted ten points.”
Leicester Mercury divulges the true figure of debt: “In October 2002, the administrators were called in at City, the club wilting under debts of £50million.”
The London Stock Exchange suspend the share price of the club, as raising £5 million became the focus as clubs can become defunct and totally lose identify.
Then a Leicester City and England legend stepped in – Gary Lineker created a consortium to save the great club. Other members joined the former Foxes striker with mega funds, including: £3.9 million from 30 local businesses, £1 million from American bank Teachers and £100,000 from the Foxes Trust – attaining shares. In addition to £100,000 from another departed alumni, Emile Heskey.
While all this was going on, the then plc chairman Greg Clarke endorsed the ex-Three Lions forward’s consortia: “The objective of the consortia will be to buy Leicester City as a going concern from the administrator and to back Micky Adams and the team in their quest for promotion.” Quote via Telegraph.
FourFourTwo interviewed Heskey more recently, he divulged information on the matter:
“Without Leicester, there would’ve been no Emile Heskey. That’s how I looked at it and I really wanted to help the club.
“When Gary Lineker got the consortium together I thought, ‘Why not?’ and put some money in. Ultimately we wanted to stave off administration, and it helped.
“It’s safe to say they have had some good days since!”
Not half, ‘Bruno’ – as the Fox was affectionately known by the Blue Army, because he resembled former World Champion English boxer Frank Bruno and was, quote, “big and fast”.
Leicester born Heskey fulfilled his dream of playing for the Foxes and his country. He also made a big money move to Liverpool. Everyone to ever walk on Filbert Way is grateful to the six-feet-two former striker for his role in adverting administration. His career record is 164 finishes in 786 appearances.
In February 2011, initially following a shirt sponsor deal, King Power owner, Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, became owner and chairman of Leicester City. This was after his £39 million takeover from Milan Mandaric. If ever the phrase, ‘…and the rest is history” befits a scenario – it is appropriate here for Khun Vichai.