FA Community shield: An apt start to Leicester City’s season
Leicester end 45-year wait, play first community shield match since 1971.football Updated: Aug 07, 2016 01:08 IST
T he Community Shield has always been a special fixture in English football. While it is the first chance at silverware for the two sides participating, it is still billed as a friendly. All proceeds from ticket sales go to charity, and despite featuring some of the more hotly-contested games, it is just a curtain-raiser to the Premier League season.
Fans though, take it more seriously. A lot has to do with the fact that there is a proper trophy ceremony -- confetti and all, the main draw usually features some of the top sides and the stories that come from it. Think Chelsea v Manchester United, Arsenal v Liverpool. There are a few anomalies where a Wigan Athletic, Portsmouth or Blackburn are part of the proceedings, and on Sunday, Leicester City will be one such.
The fixture is usually played between the Premiership winners and the FA Cup winners. If a club wins both, the runners up from the league and the champion go head to head.
Why are you being told this, reader? Because the last time Leicester took part in the fixture was in 1971. Arsenal had won the league and cup double, and were due to play Liverpool in the Community Shield final. The Gunners however, had already drawn out their pre-season schedule. The dates clashed, and second division winners Leicester were roped in. They won 1-0.
That has also been their only participation in the fixture. In contrast, their opponents on Sunday will be Manchester United, a team that has been a part of it 29 times, winning 20 of those.
45 years on from their only appearance in the final, and it seems the most apt beginning for Leicester following a season where they surprised all to win the league. They come in as champions of England, just days after playing a pre-season friendly with Barcelona.
The team is in dreamland. They may be another anomaly, but pushovers, they are not.