In many ways February 6th really was a landmark day in the history of Leicester City Football Club as, following their crushing victory away at Manchester City, the world sat up and took notice of what has been happening to a club that 12 months ago were pretty much dead and buried at the foot of the Premier League.
It really has been a miraculous turnaround in fortunes and the aforementioned game just happened to coincide with the inaugural LCFC Japan supporters club meet-up. Ever since then the media have been lapping up just about everything concerned with the club. No stone has been left unturned and even a certain Tokyo Fox has been in demand. In the fortnight following that game (including the heartbreaking injury time defeat to Arsenal) I have done two radio interviews as well as a couple of publication ones too for a Japanese magazine and website respectively. They were all great but the highlight for me was the BBC Radio Leicester one as I’m an avid listener of the stations football output.
I woke up to a message from BBC Radio Leicester presenter and producer Jason Bourne (no, not that one!!) saying that the station wanted to record something with me during the day on Thursday to air on the evening’s ‘Boot Room’ programme which goes out at 6pm and usually previews the upcoming weekend game.
However, it was FA Cup 5th round weekend and as City were not in that competition there was no game to talk about. Consequently, they decided to a do a special programme on the impact of Leicester City around the world featuring fans in the USA, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Australia, Qatar and of course Japan.
Not sure if he remembers but I met him last January when the main commentator Ian Stringer invited me into the BBC Radio Leicester studios for a quick tour and to see the Monday night Football Forum where I got to meet former Foxes legend Matt Elliott.
Having exchanged a few mails we arranged to speak at 10:40 pm (Japan time) and pre-record our conversation. If asked, I would’ve done it live (3-4 am) as I was not working the next day but of course it was easier to do it in advance and a good job too as we both stumbled over our words a few times and needed to start our sentences again. The beauty of editing!
We spoke briefly about the contents of the interview which he raced through before any of it really registered not that it really needed to as the questions were all along the lines of what I expected to discuss. Knowing we’d speak about how I took in the games I asked what the deal was with referring to “dodgy internet streams” and was told to just say that I saw them on the internet. After that I did my intro and then we were straight into it and I waffled on for around 15-20 minutes before chatting a bit more post-interview but as it approached 11pm (2pm in the UK) it had to end as he needed to go and read the sports bulletin on the two o’clock news.
By the time I woke up on Friday morning the podcast had already automatically downloaded to my smartphone and there were a few messages and tweets from people who had heard me on the show. I resisted temptation to just skip to my bit and listened to the whole thing with a bit of fear as I had no idea what would be used and how it would be butchered by Jason in the edit!
With ‘Down Under‘ by Men At Work preluding the City fan in Australia I was sure that ‘Turning Japanese‘ by The Vapors would be featured ahead of my part but was pleasantly surprised to hear that it was ‘Japanese Boy‘; the 1981 song by one hit wonder Aneka which naturally was included in my definitive list of songs about Japan blog in 2008. Once I’d gotten over the cringe part of hearing my voice I actually quite enjoyed it and was impressed with it all. I was just grateful that I didn’t get asked (on air) if I thought Leicester City could win the Premier League. There’s a long way to go yet and I am keen to not make any predictions for as long as possible.