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Leicester City champions mural could be painted over - but it won't be the end of the fairy tale

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https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/leicester-city-champions-mural-could-2817106

 

Mural of 12 players and manager Claudio Ranieri was painted at climax to 5,000-1 Premier League winning season


ByTom PegdenBusiness Editor
03:00, 1 MAY 2019UPDATED07:37, 1 MAY 2019

 

0_Mural-7.jpg
It has become a symbol of the glorious 2015/16 football season when Leicester City – the 5,000-1 underdogs – were crowned Premier League champions of England.

But the mural – showing the 12 key players of that period along with manager Claudio Ranieri – could soon be painted over.

The new owner said he has taken the tough decision as part of his plans to redevelop the building.


CLICK TO PLAY
ANOTHER PLAYER ADDED TO RICH WILSON'S 2016 LEICESTER CITY MURAL

 

But he said it won’t be the end of the story – as he wants original artist Richard Wilson to recreate the mural in a better location somewhere else in the city.

It will even be updated with an added tribute to club chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha – the man who made the dream come true, but who died in a helicopter crash at the King Power Stadium last October.

The Leicester City mural has proudly graced the back of the former Marks Electrical building in King Richards Road, for the past three years.

Rich Wilson's Leicester City champions mural

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Claudio Ranieri - gone but not forgotten
London van driver-turned-artist Richard Wilson originally travelled to the city to show his support for City’s amazing achievement by painting a 12 ft high mural of Claudio Ranieri even before the league winning season had ended.

With the support of the building’s then owner Mark Smithson he ended up spending more than a month painting the 13 faces, and becoming part of the Leicester City fairy tale along the way.

He said he would be prepared to paint it again elsewhere – provided the right space can be found.

READ MORE
The man behind the giant LCFC mural: 'You don't have to be a Leicester fan to enjoy all of this'
 
The building’s new owner, Leicester city fan and property developer Stephen Levy, said the mural has to go under his plans to create a new shop and 12 flats.

He said he was considering one of two potential new sites, in a more prominent location than its current home in quiet Kate Street.

He and Mark’s Electrical owner Mark Smithson have agreed to pay Mr Wilson £10,000 plus costs to repeat his labour of love.

Mr Levy said: “We have to move it because it just won’t fit in with what we are going to do here.

“The plan is to get the original artist to come down and repaint it and we’re just trying to sign off a new site in the town for it.

“One is close to the city centre and the other option is on a prominent route into the city.

The Kate Street tribute to Leicester's 5,000-1 heroes

 

Rich Wilson's Leicester City champions mural
VIEW GALLERY

 

“I used to share a box at Leicester City with Mark Smithson so I care about this, and Mark is happy as long as he sees it go back up somewhere.

“We intend to put Vichai on it as well, along with the same players in the same order.

“We feel sad, but it’s something that will be in a more prominent position. Once the owners of the right site are happy with our plan we hope to get on with it in the next couple of weeks.”

Richard Wilson, 45, said it was good that Mr Levy understood what the mural meant to the city.

He said: “Painting the mural gave me a huge connection with the area and it’s great that people would want to keep it.


 
“Mark was kind enough to originally let me use his wall to paint Claudio, then asked me to do the whole wall which took five weeks.

“I was only able to do it because he offered to pay me. It was my first paid art job and led to me becoming a full-time artist.

“I did it because Leicester gave me an interest in the Premier League again because of the whole David and Goliath thing.

“I’ll never forget what it was like being there at that time. Every day there were at least 100 people coming to see what I was doing and there was an amazing atmosphere.

“There were people coming from Japan and Brazil and journalists from Italy and Spain.

“As long as they get the right location, and people want me to do it again, of course I would do it because my memories of that time are golden.

“I still get amazing messages thanking me for what I did.”

READ MORE
'Emperor' Ranieri mural celebrating Leicester City's historic Premier League win taken down
 
Mark Smithson, who has a new showroom in Beaumont Leys, said he would have like it to stay where it was, but hoped it would be an opportunity to improve on the original.

He said: “Unfortunately I had to sell the building, but I’ve agreed to pay half the costs of relocating it, and make it even better with the Chairman Vichai included.”

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Shame, it's good they are at least going to replace it but it will never have the same emotional attachment as the original.

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10 minutes ago, Simoken said:

Id rather forget the fluke season and move on. k thank

... probably a poor choice of word... extraordinary would be more appropriate. 

  Ask any manager who has taken their team via a prolonged series of games and I am sure they will tell you that the table doesn't lie. 

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Gutted! I walked down to this a few months after we'd won the league and took a few photos and generally just hung about taking a few moments to take in the work. It is such a great mural and I don't know why but every time I see it I get taken back to those few amazing months when the city was just alive!

 

I always imagined (or hoped) that this would be around for years to come so I could show my little man when he grows up so it's such a shame its not to be. I'm really glad it will be emulated elsewhere in the city but I'm just not sure it will have that 'feeling' that I can't quite put my finger on, that this piece currently has.

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2 hours ago, Spudulike said:

I like the idea of recreating it on a prominent route into the city. We don't shout loud enough (like other cities do) about our achievements. 

Somewhere around the train station area or in/on the tunnel near the Holiday Inn could be best imo.

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1 hour ago, The_77 said:

Can they also add Ulloa to the new mural? :schmike:

Absolutely. He should definitely be on there. His contribution was an essential ingredient

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3 hours ago, Spudulike said:

I like the idea of recreating it on a prominent route into the city. We don't shout loud enough (like other cities do) about our achievements. 

Maybe put a facade on the ugly train bridge on Narborough Road and paint it across there. 

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Glad enough to have visited the place myself.

 

If it has to go, recreate it near the stadium. I once went to the Bournemouth away game in the Championship season we got promoted.

They have plenty of walls commemorating previous successes, why not go for something similar at the KP?

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Can't the club just buy the wall and stick it somewhere near the ground.

 

Shame what's going to happen to it.

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7 hours ago, Babylon said:

Keith Vaz suggests Belgrave area for the new picture in 5, 4, 3, 2......

lol

 

Seriously, these first two words should be censored on here.

That guy is certainly not a good role model for the city, more of a strain in fact..

Edited by Wymeswold fox

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5 hours ago, MC Prussian said:

Glad enough to have visited the place myself.

 

If it has to go, recreate it near the stadium. I once went to the Bournemouth away game in the Championship season we got promoted.

They have plenty of walls commemorating previous successes, why not go for something similar at the KP?

I thought that when I saw them. I think this has been raised by Foxes Trust at some fans consultative meeting or something. The blandness of the stadium is crying out for something like this to celebrate our history. I'm guessing that, sadly, it won't happen if it distracts from the King Power identity branding.

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6 hours ago, Dan LCFC said:

Can we paint the Arsenal team photo somewhere in Leicester?

Did spurs have one done for having more possession? :cool:

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Pity it’s being ‘moved’ but glad it’s being ‘kept’.

 

This mural has some very emotional and special memories for me and happy the image has a more secure future.

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