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Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 07:39 GMT 08:39 UK
Stadium of plight
Leicester's new ground is called the Walkers Stadium
Leicester moved into their new stadium this season

So what does a football club that is 30m in debt and teetering on the edge of extinction look like?

Well, if you're Leicester City it looks brand new, very shiny and positively prosperous.

The club's new Walkers Stadium is a very presentable addition to the Leicester skyline.

And with the Foxes riding high in Division One it seems hard to believe that the club is in administration.

  Leicester City's five-year nightmare
1997: Play in Uefa Cup as Coca-Cola Cup winners
March 1999: Lose Worthington Cup final to Spurs
June 2000: Manager Martin O'Neill to Celtic
Sept 2001: Boss Peter Taylor quits after 15 months
Apr 2002: Dave Bassett leaves after six months
May 2002: Relegated from the Premiership

Just two-and-a-half years ago, Leicester were sitting pretty under the inspirational leadership of current Celtic manager Martin O'Neill.

The passionate law graduate from Northern Ireland had the Foxes holed up in the upper reaches of the Premiership and marching on Europe.

But O'Neill left and a series of poor decisions, on and off the field, brought an abrupt halt to the club's progress.

Just a long Matt Elliott clearance away from the promised land of the Walkers Stadium lies a dowdy but functional place that use to loom large in the hearts of Leicester fans.

Filbert Street may be an unattractive home compared to the tantalising delights of Leicester's new abode, but it served them well over the years.

Now it stands just across the way from the new ground, reproaching those who dared to reach for the skies and ended flying too close to the sun.

A four-storey banner of Gray Lineker on the Leicester ground
Lineker dominates the approach to the ground

The first sight you see on approaching the new stadium is a four-storey-high poster of former star Gary Lineker in action for Leicester a generation ago.

With local crisps manufacturer Walkers not only holding the naming rights to the new stadium, but also being the club's sponsors, it is a neat bit of synergy.

And is about to get even neater, if the Lineker-fronted consortium completes its deal to save the club.

The former England captain, turned BBC presenter and crisp magnate, will not make any money out of the deal and views it purely as an act of charity.

He is getting involved from a purely romantic standpoint - the desire to have somewhere to go and watch his team play every other weekend.

A fan from childhood himself, he is keen to get as many fans involved as possible and give them a say in running the club.

As those fans walk into Leicester's swish new stadium over the next few months, assuming the rescue effort is successful, they will find it hard to ignore their old stadium just over the road.

And it is hard not to imagine that more than a few of them will look at Filbert Street and wonder if the club might not be in the precarious position it finds itself if they had stayed put.

Gary Lineker heads a consortium bidding to save cash-strapped Leicester City

Lineker steps in


Leicester in trouble

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