It was pretty challenging to derive any sort of pleasure from supporting Leicester City during the 2007/2008 season.
Managers were conveyor belted in and out of the club with increasing regularity but that did not stop the play style remaining largely the same – get Bruno N’Gotty to lump it into the channels and hope for the best.
Expensive summer arrivals DJ Campbell, Hossein Kaebi and the aforementioned N’Gotty were abysmal and the less said about some of Ian Holloway’s bizarre signings the better.
Unsurprisingly, the Foxes ended up getting relegated.
In the midst of all this footballing sewage, there was one solitary shining light – the emergence of a certain youth team graduate to the first team.
Andy King made his Leicester debut in a 0-0 draw with Wolves, playing the full 90 minutes in a game so forgettable it took me a good 10 minutes to find any real information about it on the internet. After trawling through a fan forum, I finally discovered that King had been the Foxes’ standout performer that afternoon. A rare beam of happiness in an otherwise joyless affair.
That was where King’s Leicester journey began and nearly 13 years later it has finally come to an end with the club confirming that they were parting ways with the midfielder on Thursday.
In the years since his debut, the Welshman has written himself into footballing folklore, becoming the first player to win the League One, Championship and Premier League titles with the same club.
Despite these incredible accomplishments, King has been reduced in the eyes of many non-Leicester supporting football fans to a player devoid of any talent or intrigue.
They couldn’t be more wrong. And I’m not just saying that because he once took a piss in the urinal next to me at Cardiff City away.
Down the years, he has rarely put in less than a 7/10 performance and in his younger days he was also an accomplished goal getter who made the King Power Stadium buzz with excitement every time he carried the ball towards goal.
In fact, his very first goal for the Foxes is evidence of King’s penchant for the sublime. Picking the ball up 35-yards out against Southampton in December 2007, King unleashed a stunning strike into the top corner.
This type of hair raising moment would be repeated many times, with long-range efforts against Leeds in 2011 and Peterborough in 2012, as well as a delightful scooped finish in the M69 Derby particularly standing out.
King would not just save his goal scoring for special occasions however. Prior to transitioning into a more disciplined, deeper lying player following Leicester’s return to the top flight in 2014, he carved out a reputation as the Championship’s answer to Frank Lampard.
A goal scoring midfielder with a knack for arriving at the perfect time to finish off one of the Foxes’ counter attacks, it’s easy to see where the comparisons with the now Chelsea boss came from.
King notched nine goals in his first full season as Leicester secured promotion from League One in 2009 and he repeated the trick as his side narrowly missed out on the play-offs the following year. Over these two terms, he missed just four league games.
His best ever attacking form came during the 2010/2011 season under notorious shagger Sven Goran Eriksen. The Swede – who was famed for his ludicrously offensive tactics while at the club – deployed him in an advanced midfield role. King repaid his faith with 23 goal involvements, which was enough to earn him a place in the PFA Championship Team of the Year alongside the likes of Adel Taarabt and Wes Hoolahan.
He was fantastic all season long, an ever present bright spark for Leicester fans to cling onto in what was another period of turbulence around the club.
And that, I guess explains why the Foxes faithful hold such a deep affection for King. 13 years is a long time for any player to remain at a club and while the midfielder’s list of accomplishments is unbelievable, it has been his conduct during the less heady days that has been so wonderful.
It would’ve been easy for him to jump ship as a talented youngster breaking through at a clearly dysfunctional club. It would’ve been easy for him to move on when he was linked with a move to the Premier League during the Foxes’ painfully long stint in the second tier. And it would’ve been even easier for King to sneak off in more recent times when Claude Puel callously tried to force him out of the club.
The thing is, he didn’t. He stuck around and was rewarded be experiencing things that most footballers can only dream of.
The Foxes plan to mark King’s time at the club with a commemorative event and it is bound to well attended. Hopefully his pulls out one of those wonder strikes of old to remind all the doubters that he is – contrary to popular belief – anything but a boring footballer.