We continue our special anniversary feature celebrating twenty years since Swindon Town’s 4-3 victory over Leicester City in the Division One Play Off Final with Brendan Hobbs’ search for the Foxes XI twenty years on…
The Washbag ‘twenty years’ celebrations have now been running for the a few weeks and so far it’s all been quite Swindon-centric – with not a lot of thought given to our vanquished opponents on that day. So do you ever sit back and ponder what became of those Leicester players who were left face down on the Wembley turf, choking on their own tears?
Nah, me neither, but in an effort to fill a few column inches and to give a sense of balance to this series I flexed my favourite CTRL & C fingers, flipped open Wikipedia and away I went.
So what would I find? Hopefully some of the Leicester 1993 vintage would now lead crazy lives worth reporting, David Oldfield could own a snail farming business back in Australia. Or perhaps, in an irony drenched twist, folicly challenged Steve Agnew could run a hairdressing salon – granting me the sort of story that is often revelled in by delighted local news stations. The pristine anchor would give it the full “And finally” bit before running the VT. And on completion, carry out a load of sarcastic, knowing nods before making a quip about ‘hair-raising’ stuff and signing off with a condescending wink.
Perhaps I would strike comedy gold and discover that Julian Joachim is now a woman, well read on and you will soon find out whether any of the above is true.
Amazingly, goalkeeper and professional Steve White cropper, Kevin Poole only gave up playing the game in 2012. And I don’t mean on a part-time basis for some non-league side whose name probably involves the words Arms, Welfare or Colliery, I mean professionally – in the football league. He played several times whilst in his late 40’s for Burton Albion and was on the bench when Town were beaten 2 nil in Staffordshire in 2011. How he must have marvelled at Mattia Lanzano’s performance that day. When he finally called time on his playing career he was left to concentrate on his other role with the Brewers, being the first team goalkeeper coach.
Gary Roland Mills is one of the higher profile players in this list, I base this mainly on the fact that he always used to take over as manager of Swindon in Football Manager when PDC used to bugger off early in the game. (Well, him or Pat Bonner)
Mills had a good career as a player, starting out at Nottingham Forest where he became the club’s youngest ever league player – making his first team debut at the age of 16 in 1978. He played in the victorious 1980 European Cup Final, which made him the youngest finalist in European Cup history.
After quitting the professional game he dipped his toes into the murky waters of player-management with Grantham Town in 1996. He led the team to the Southern League Midland League title in his second season but left shortly afterwards following the club’s takeover by a local businessman. This was the start of an amazing managerial career in which he hopped regularly between clubs using only the Midlands Explorer bus route.
He subsequently had a spell as player-manager at King’s Lynn from 1998 to 2000 before being appointed player-manager of Tamworth in 2001. He made the step back into the football league when he took over as first team coach at Coventry City.
Mills kept the Midlands-centric theme going when he was handed his first managerial role with Notts County in 2004, but was sacked later that year after the club were relegated.
He then turned up as manager of Alfreton Town but returned to Tamworth in 2007 where things finally took an upward turn. He was unable to prevent the club being relegated in his first season but he led Tamworth to the Conference North title the following year. He then left the club in 2010 to become York manager. In his first full season in charge, Mills oversaw York’s victories in the FA Trophy and Conference play-offs in 2012, thus winning promotion to League Two.
It didn’t end well as he was sacked in 2013, with York sitting four points above the relegation zone. Now there’s gratitude for you.
Mike Whitlow’s career spanned a decade between 1987 and 2007, it was his gut busting run and miscued cross that set up Steve Thompson’s dramatic equaliser at Wembley. As well as Leicester, Mike turned out in the Premier League for Bolton Wanderers before moving to Sheffield United and Notts County.
On hanging up his boots he also moved into coaching, working for Derby County‘s youth academy, before being appointed head of youth development at Mansfield Town in May 2009. He stayed at the stags for a year before hooking up with fellow former Fox Kevin Poole at Burton – where he is now Head Youth Coach.
Richard Smith is a Leicestershire boy through and through, signing professional forms with his boyhood team in 1988. He made 98 appearances before ending up at Grimsby Town where he played a further 78 times. His career was prematurely cut short through injury and he retired in 2001.
Back in 2011, in an interview with Leicester fanzine “Leicester Till I Die” he rated the Wembley defeat as his best ever game in a Foxes shirt. Also in the same interview he mentions his wife’s battle with Breast Cancer, so I did some extra research and was very pleased to find out that she has overcome her illness, good news. Link.
Smith now runs and owns BASH Skip Hire based in Broughton Astley, Leicestershire, so if any Town fans live in the area and need a skip, give him a call. (You might not get a discount if you mention the Wembley game though!)
Steven Walsh spent 14 years with Leicester City, but also turned out for Wigan, Norwich, Tamworth and Coventry City in a career lasting 21 years.
His ‘regular’ position was as a crunching defender, elegant in the air and tough in the tackle (he is the record holder for the most red cards in the Football League with 13) a team of eleven Steve Walsh’s would certainly be a formidable proposition. Especially if it was against a team of eleven David Geddis’ – as Walsh once received an eleven match ban for breaking said former Town players jaw in 1986.
Walsh was often utilised as a striker, he scored 16 goals in the 1993 season and was voted seventh best in that position by The People newspaper.
Steve now runs his own soccer academy in partnership with another one time Fox Muzzy Izzet http://futurefoxes.com/about-steve-walsh.html
Colin Hill stayed with Leicester for a further four years after the Wembley defeat, before finishing his career at Northampton Town via a one season stop off at Swedish outfit Trelleborgs. He now passes his time being Commercial Executive at the Professional Footballers’ Association
Alas no snail farming for David Oldfield, but he did spend some time wallowing around with some pigs in poo and by that I mean he played for Oxford. David made 188 appearances for Leicester during a five year stint with the club, he then moved on to Luton, Peterborough and Oxford before finishing his career in the non-leagues.
In 2007 following a very brief spell at Tamworth (1 appearance) he was appointed manager of Brackley Town where he stayed for one year before becoming reserve team manager back at Peterborough. He managed the first team for one match between the tenures of Gary Johnson and Darren Ferguson. In 2011 he left the Posh and joined West Brom as a development coach.
Steve Thompson started his playing career with Bolton Wanderers, playing 335 games for the Trotters before joining Leicester via a very brief spell at Luton Town. He won the Leicester player of year award twice and his silky Wembley is still the stuff of legend, as illustrated here.
After his Leicester stay he moved onto Burnley, Rotherham and Halifax before finishing up at the defunct Leigh RMI.
Thompson began his coaching career at Blackpool’s Centre of Excellence before becoming Head of the Youth Department in 2005. Following the appointment of Simon Grayson as manager Thompson was promoted to first team coach in 2006.
When Ian Holloway took charge he appointed Thompson as his assistant, a role he still holds today and has taken caretaker charge of the first team on two occasions.
Julian Kevin Joachim scored 25 goals in 99 games for Leicester, not many better than this cracker though.
He moved onto Aston Villa where he spent five Premier League seasons before dropping down a division to play for Coventry City. He then went on to play for multiple clubs, including Leeds United, Walsall, Boston United and Darlington before moving into the Non-League game to play for King’s Lynn, Thurmaston Town, Quorn, Hinckley United, Holbeach United and Coalville. Over the course of his career in professional football, he has scored over 100 league goals and accumulated over 450 league appearances.
In April he turned out for Freiston Reserves in the Boston Saturday football league, read all about it here.
Steve Agnew is another former fox who finds himself in an assistant manager’s role, this time at Premier League returnees Hull City.
As a player he was a graceful midfielder, his career spanned almost 2 decades from 1983 to 2002, notably in the Premier League from Blackburn Rovers, Leicester City and Sunderland. He also played in the Football League for Barnsley, Portsmouth and YorkCity before finishing his career in Non-league with Gateshead.
It was in 2002 that Agnew first moved into coaching, becoming assistant manager of Gateshead before resigning after the playing budget was cut.
However, in 2006, Agnew quit his position at Hartlepool and re-joined Leeds as Under 18’s manager.
His coaching career then completed a full circle when he re-joined Middlesbrough as reserve team coach in 2007. He also tried his hand at the Caretaker game when he was put in temporary charge of the first team following the resignation of Gordon Strachan in 2010. He joined Hull in 2012.
Lee Philpott was part of the jarring, anti-football John Beck Cambridge revolution, making 178 appearances for the ‘U’s before joining Leicester. The tricky left winger stayed with the Foxes for four seasons before moving to Blackpool, Lincoln City and Hull City. He finished his career in Non-league football with Weymouth, Harrogate Town and Hinckley United. During his career he made almost 500 league and cup appearances.
Whilst at Harrogate he tried his hand at coaching where he was player/assistant manager before becoming caretaker player/manager in 2005.
After suffering the reoccurrence of a persistent injury Philpott decided to get out of football coaching and move across to the dark side and became a licensed football agent. Lee Philpott Management Limited was established in May 2008. In September 2012 Philpott became affiliated with Mel Stein and Ian Montone’s Stone Mountain Management Limited, and now practices from his bases in Yorkshire and London.
So finally, the gaffer – when Brian Little was appointed as Leicester City manager in 1991 he was 37 years old and considered hot managerial property – the next big thing if you will.
So I was surprised to find when researching this piece that Brian Little no longer manages in the Football League. I always thought he was still around, managing at Rochdale or Northampton or somewhere or other.
After finally guiding Leicester into the Premier League in 1994, Little moved on to Aston Villa where he spent a hectic four years in charge, this amazingly proved to be his longest managerial stay of his career.
After resigning from Villa in 1998 Little then spent a year in charge of Stoke and West Brom, two years at Hull, three at Tranmere and one at Wrexham before dropping out of the Football League and off everybody’s radar.
In 2009 he was then appointed head honcho of Conference North side Gainsborough Trinity. Little began building a squad of professionals, picking up many players from the Football League and other ex-League players from the Conference National, but despite boasting a large squad of experienced players Trinity narrowly avoided relegation to the Northern Premier League during the 2010–11 season. On 22 August 2011 following one win and two defeats in the opening weeks of the 2011–12 season, Little was sacked as manager of Trinity with Steve Housham taking over as caretaker manager.
And that’s it, no real surprises, no bizarre career choices, no individual who manually masturbates rare animals for artificial insemination (© Clerks). At the end of the day, and not unsurprisingly, they were just a bunch of young footballers then, who now do adult footballing things now, oh and arrange reasonably priced skip hire.
So let’s not forget that amongst all this Swindon-orientated, back-slapping congratulatory nostalgia I think it’s important to remember these Leicester City players and their fantastic contribution to the day. Without their titanic effort and amazing comeback this encounter would’ve faded away from memory. I’m not talking about Swindon fans here obviously, we’d remember it to our graves regardless of the score, I’m talking about neutral football fans in general.
No one really remembers the routine wins, but they do remember the ding-dong, topsy-turvy encounters. The ones with plenty of goals and stunning comebacks, without Leicesters never-say-die attitude on that day, the game wouldn’t have been remembered let alone celebrated. For proof you just need to look here, here, here and here.