Andy King is the only player to win Premier League, Championship and League One with the same club which is Leicester City. King undoubtedly has experienced unexpected and glorious highs – winning the Premier League under Claudio Ranieri – to the ultimate low of suffering relegation to the third tier in 2008. He is known by some as ‘Mr Leicester’, such is his association with the club he joined at the age of 15 after suffering the disappointment of rejection at Chelsea. He has played under many managers including Ranieri, Sven Goran Eriksson, Nigel Pearson (twice) and now Craig Shakespeare, but has always been a key figure both on and off the field.
Given above background, chances at Leicester City have been few and far between for Wales international Andy King over the past couple of years, and he has not started a match for the club since January 2018. Andy King is now trying to follow in the footsteps of title-winning team-mate Danny Simpson at Huddersfield after they were caught in a “similar situation” at Leicester City.
Andy King said “With injuries and whatnot I haven’t played as much as I’d have liked recently. Leicester are doing fantastically well, which has made chances hard there as well. Danny Simpson is really enjoying his time here, he’s enjoying playing again. Me and him were in a similar situation last year where we didn’t play as much as we wanted, just cup games and when someone was injured. Danny Simpson only had good things to say about the lads and the club, so that’s why I’m really happy to be here. He will help me [to settle in]. I’ve only moved once or twice before so it’s a new experience for me as well, even at my age. Simmo has said the lads are brilliant, so I’m sure they will make us feel welcome.”
King was one of the first players to contact Ranieri after that controversial sacking in February this year, a moment he recalls as one of the lowest in his time at Leicester.
Andy King said “When Claudio Ranieri got sacked, it was awful because all the hate was aimed at us. It was hard for someone like me who’s dedicated his life to the club for 10 years and given everything. I sent Claudio a text message to say ‘sorry we couldn’t do more on the pitch’. He replied and thanked me for my loyalty and the fact he had the dignity to reply said it all about him.”
Andy King also had previously shared insight into the reign of Claude Puel and his poor handling of Leicester City players during his time at the King Power Stadium. Puel spent 16 months in charge of the Foxes before being sacked and replaced by current boss Brendan Rodgers. The Frenchman faced plenty of criticism during his time in the East Midlands from fans and players alike.
Andy King said “With myself, someone who has been there so so long, knows everyone in the training ground, knows why the cub have been successful, maybe he thought that was going to hamper the new regime he wanted to bring in. But I would have knuckled down and worked hard for him as I have for every manager. Then he takes ‘Vards’ out the team, so maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself because if he’s taking Leicester’s talisman, who’s scored so many goals, out of the team, then that made me think he would have had everyone from the 2016 team out. I thought as a coach some of the stuff he tried to say was right. The way he went about it wasn’t great. I didn’t have a conversation with him the whole time he was here. He wasn’t really chatty with anyone. I was getting frozen out. I was thinking, ‘How is this guy who’s been here two weeks, telling me who’s been here 10 years that I’m the one who has to leave?’ That was hard to take. I’d go into Leicester in the afternoon, and feel embarrassed with people coming up, going, ‘What’s happened? Do you not play for Leicester anymore?’ So I went to Swansea (in January 2018). It felt really strange going into another training ground, putting on another shirt
Andy King is that rarity in the modern game, a one-club man, so in love with Leicester City after 379 games and 64 goals that he willingly and selflessly handed over the prized No 10 shirt to James Maddison because, for him, it is about the badge on the front not the name on the back.