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Closely Guarded

Is there a competition I don't know about - Britain's Best Kept Secret.

If so Leicester City are in contention because, more than 26 hours after I requested a team squad for tonight's FA Trophy third round match against Huddersfield at the Walkers, there is still no news.

I'm aware that City are taking the game seriously. They've already beaten tonight's opponents once this season but it was a tough game and Academy director Jon Rudkin expects no different this time.

One can well understand his keeping any tactical or even selection decisions to himself if that is what he prefers. But if he intends not naming a squad until just before the kick off why not say so?

It's not on the same scale, I know, but will City some day promote a concert at The Walkers and say the names of the bands performing will be announced on the night, maybe!.

Of course, I'm old fashioned. In days past I remember ringing giants of sport like Bill Shankly and Sir Bobby Robson, boxing promoter Andy Smith and all sorts of other household names.

Shankly had never heard of me but our very first telephone conversation went in his pronounced Ayrshire accent: 'Aye lad, yer wants to talk aboot Liverpool do yer. We'll I'll tell yer aboot Liverpool. They're special. Everything aboot Liverpool is special. Even the way the players break their legs in special .....'

And so he went on for half an hour without the need for any prompting questions.

Sir Bobby Robson, then at Ipswich, apologised profusely when our first conversation was interrupted and promptly gave me him home number to ring on a Sunday afternoon (the following day) when he talked enthusiastically for over an hour.

Lovely man. Time for anyone. Terrific manager.

Andy Smith will be less well known today but he was manager of Heavyweight Boxing Champion Joe Buger and a cracking light welterweight called Dave 'Boy' Green.

Seek him out for a bit of a story and he'd likely invite you to the gym for a chat and photocall with both his principals fighters and the makeweights in his stable of boxers.

And then he'd take you out to lunch - even persuading one landlord to open up especially one particular occasion when he had Alan Minter (another boxing legend) in tow.

All these people had one thing in common. They were all humble men and they all appreicated the value of publicity for their clubs or organisation and for their own profile in life.

They were also dignified men who believed in helping if they could, who made time when it wasn't there, who took the trouble and who acted with unwavering professionalism.

Their legends have endured and deservedly so.

All I wanted from Leicester was a team squad - from anyone.

It's a lovely club, with the most charming staff (who would clearly have loved to help). But the team squad? No idea.

However, kick off is at 7-00pm, tickets are 4, concessions are 2 and for under 16's its free.


PS:


It all comes to he who waits.

Nearly 28 hours on the squad has been named (see separate story).




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Go on, get vitalled!

The Journalist

Writer:  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday December 28 2005

Time: 2:05PM

 

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