Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The Leicester Highcross sandsculpture - Leicester's sporting heroes

Met with my best friend Jen in town today for a coffee and catch up and just outside our usual cafe was this amazing sand sculpture.

It's celebrating the sporting diversity in Leicester, much like the brass statue near the Clock Tower, featuring football, cricket and rugby balls as well as the mascots for the main clubs in
Leicestershire. I'm very proud to support the clubs in the county in which I was born and bred, they have excellent histories and some very good present achievements. I'm going to briefly talk about them here (there is a non-sporting story at the end, don't worry!).

The first picture here shows the football side of the sculpture; the Leicester City Football Club badge and Filbert the Fox. Leicester City have a long and great history; runners up in the FA Cup 4 times, winning the League Cup 3 times (runners up twice) and once coming second in the top tier of English football. Compare this to other teams who are big in today's game, this isn't so impressive but it beats the vast majority of English clubs and relatively to many foreign clubs. Add to this winning the second tier league 6 times (promoted 4 other times through other means) and the third tier once, Leicester have been a winning team. Admittedly, most of these are a long time ago but City's best era has to be the O'Neill years, from '95 to 2000 where we won promotion to the Premier League and two League Cups. When he left to higher places (a top European team in Celtic) we seemed to go in the opposite direction, suffering relegation and administration.
Struggling years in the second tier followed until last year we lost our historic status as one of seven clubs who had never left the top two tiers as Leicester were relegated to League One.
However, never fear! Nigel Pearson, helped by a record breaking Matty Fryatt, came to our rescue last season as the solid and consistent manager we'd been searching for for almost a decade and bounced back at the first attempt as champions of League One. Things are looking good again and the Foxes are tipped by some to be challenging for promotion to the Premier League once again in 2009/10. Lets hope so!

Next is the rugby side of the sculpture; The Leicester Tigers badge and mascot, the Tiger (I like to call him Timmy ha!). Similarly to Leicester City, the Tigers have a long and great history. In today's game, Leicester are known as one of the best teams in England and Europe and this opinion is backed up by the amount of honours under their name; 6 Anglo-Welsh Cups, 8 Premiership titles (including 4 consecutive titles) and two consecutive European titles. The years from 1999 to 2002 were very much so the glory years, coached by Dean Richards and captained by Martin Johnson, winning 7 world recognised titles consecutively but after seven Tigers players were a part of the World Cup winning England squad, the Tigers' form fell and the team has not been the dominating team they were since. However, since 2006 the Tigers have found back to several Anglo-Welsh finals and Premiershipfinals under the guidance of Pat Howard and
more recently Richard Cockerill, captained by Martin Corry. The Tigers are still one of the onyl clubs not to have left the top tier of English rugby and have never finished out the top six in the league.

I don't know a lot about Leicestershire County Cricket Club but I do know that in the late 90s they were the county champions twice before being relegated in 2003. They are still currently in the second tier of cricket and haven't had a chance to be back up in the top league but I'm sure one day they'll figure themselves out.

1997 was a great year for Leicester's sport, having champions in football, rugby and cricket, but 2009 was also a great year having both football and rugby champions, again. This was not on the same scale as '97, however I truly believe in the near future Leciester will again become a great English sporting city.

Now, the non-sports story. As we sat for coffee today, a little girl came out of no where, into the roped off sand area, and kicked off a part of the boy's foot! Hillarious atching the sculpturor chase after this toddler who had destroyed her work but horrifying at the mother's reaction. The sculpturor, after finding the mother to reunite her with her daughter, told the mother what had happened. The mother replied with 'YES I KNOW, I SAW IT, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!' or something to that effect and stormed off.

Can't believe it.

Some people need to calm down and stop thinking of themselves so much. In Matthew 22:39 Jesus tells us to love eachother as we'd love ourselves, or treat others as you would want to be treated. People have said that religion is the cause of wars and make nothin but trouble, it is for the weak minded. To them I'd like to ask what the world would be like if people actually followed the teaching of Jesus, rather than living how they think they should.

Update: The sculpture has been unveiled to be by Nicola Wood, from Markfield, who is a world champion sculptor! The Leicester Tigers mascot is called Lester the Tiger, the cricket fox is called Charlie Fox and the lion, Solly, is the mascot for the Special Olympics currently being held in Leicester. See the article on it here.