Leicester Zindabad (Long Live Leicester)

Posted by ap507 at May 03, 2016 04:15 PM |
Director of the News Centre Ather Mirza discusses the coming together of cultures in adoration of Leicester City's success
Leicester Zindabad (Long Live Leicester)

Ather (far right) and fellow Leicester City supporters outside the King Power stadium

Think: Leicester does not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Leicester - it expresses the independent views and opinions of the academic who has authored the piece. If you do not agree with the opinions expressed, and you are a doctoral student/academic at the University of Leicester, you may write a counter opinion for Think: Leicester and send to ap507@le.ac.uk

I was among the thousands of euphoric City fans outside King Power stadium on Monday night shouting my adoration for Leicester at the top of my voice.

I was not alone. Leicester Zindabad (long live Leicester) Jai Ho (Victory to us) and other shout outs in Italian and more reflected the multicultural breadth of the jubilation.

There were people in hijabs and turbans, in prayer caps and City hats, wrapped in shawls or the colours of Leicester City.  What a night!

No matter what our religion, or colour, or race, or nationality. That night we kept our faith in football and the universal colour was blue.

What a moment in history.  For all our differences,  we are Leicester United.  There is so much more that unites us than divides us and it is truly inspiring to see the city come together on such a momentous occasion.

The discovery of Richard III by archaeologists at the University of Leicester is rightly credited as being a landmark moment for the city that led to worldwide media coverage and the focus on the reinterment as the remains of the vanquished King were taken from the University in a journey through the county and to the Cathedral.

That too was a momentous occasion –the like of which we will never see again.  But the triumph of Leicester City – and let’s not forget the snooker triumph too for Mark Selby – is not only momentous, but we may well see the like again.

For Leicester City’s triumph is not one that has occurred through the purchase of the most expensive players- rather it is from a sense of belonging and a sense of team spirit that has driven them to success.  All for one and one for all.

We as a city have a lesson to learn as we rejoice at this triumph against all odds.  As a journalist in the city for many decades, I am used to reporting on triumphs and disasters.  But in the story of Leicester City’s success there is much to reflect on- that it is possible to dream - and achieve - the impossible dream.

Football is known the world over as The Beautiful Game.  Leicester City has achieved sporting immortality by showing just how beautiful it is to win for players and the fans. In their journey to triumphant champions, Leicester became the team everyone supported after their own – and even the Chelsea fans shouting for Leicester was  a testament to this fact.

I am prouder than ever to be a citizen of Leicester – a city that has proven that anything is possible.

Ather Mirza is a former Leicester Mercury journalist and Director of News at the University of Leicester


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