Changing Perspectives – from Leicester to London

Last night something amazing happened…

…thanks to a hat-trick from record signing Jermaine Beckford the mighty Leicester City hammered local rivals Nottingham Forest 4-0 in an FA Cup 4th round replay at The Walkers Stadium. Apparently it was their biggest win over Forest since 1913 (according to a lcfc statto on twitter).

A fantastic result, and one guaranteed to send thousands of Leicester fans to bed extremely happy.

I was born in Leicester and lived there until I was 16. I was particularly proud of ‘my home town’ and I’m still quick to name Leicester City as ‘my team’. I cherished my season ticket for 6 years in the 90s, and I really cared about every result. A huge FA Cup win over the local rivals, under the flood lights with a powerful passionate atmosphere would have been a stunning experience and probably the highlight of the season; a season that would have been central to my life.

The problem is, if I am completely honest, I don’t really care. In 2012 I am nothing more than a token fan, occasionally checking results because I feel like I should. If we win – great, if we don’t – never mind. Football used to be the most important part of my life, but now it is not really a feature.

Living in Leicester there wasn’t much to do – life was pleasant, but slow. Leicester City FC was one of the few attractions that could drive your passion. Dont get me wrong, I loved living in Leicester and I have so many memories, great memories, of a full life. But now I look back at Leicester, its simplicity, lack of opportunity and small city status – I am now a Londoner.

It took me a while to adapt to London. I enjoyed my little city and detested this big one. When I moved here (2003) I was rigid in my hatred and had no intention of accepting this as permanent. How could I fit in with the rush, the anonymous commuters, the lack of engagement and the underlying arrogance? So in 2005 I quit my job in Hammersmith, stuffed some clothes into a rucksack and fled to West Africa, with the express intention of breaking off my London life and never returning to it.

But then something truly amazing happened…

In 2006, in a jungle in Ghana, I met a volunteer from London who would completely change me. She lived in Tooting, and the only way I could see her regularly enough was to move back to the city I was so desperate to leave.

But it was different this time, she opened my eyes to a new city. London wasn’t a faceless line of suits trudging to and from their daily, soulless, city offices anymore – it was the heart of The Country, awash with culture. It is the focus of every history lesson, the home of some of The World’s most dramatic and inspiring architecture and the hub of The UK’s political, economical and artistic brilliance.

I now work in Victoria, less than ten minutes walk from Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Parliament. The backdrop of my life is the most historical and current city in The World.

I’m still proud to say I grew up in Leicester, but now when people ask me where I’m from the answer is automatic.

Mind you, I bet it was great fun watching us stick four past Forest.

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