Creative Soccer Culture

Fandem: Lee Jobber

A Leicester City season ticket holder since 1983 it is the sound of his drum that sets the pace at The King Power Stadium. Last season saw media requests come in from at least 27 different countries as the club took their game to top of the Premier League. A humble hero who kicks off our ‘Fandem’ series, he is what makes the game so good.

So let’s start at the beginning, what are your earliest memories as a Leicester City fan?

"1983. Season ticket holder since then. I came down with a neighbour, my mum was working and my neighbour said to my mum “we can get him out of your hair for a bit, is there anywhere you’d like us to take him?”, my mum just said anything really but they suggested the football. If I’m totally honest, I can’t remember coming to the game but I remember going and feeling part of something. When I was leaving with thousands of other people, I was only small, and I remember thinking to myself “I like this”. My neighbour was on the phone to someone explaining that he had just taken the neighbours boy to the football and I liked it. I appreciated the fact that he recognised that. I can remember how that made me feel even though I can’t remember the game."

"As I continued going, up until probably 1990-91, I remember going but I kind of got to the point where I didn’t know the players names and didn’t really follow the stats of it all. I just knew I loved the experience. When I started secondary school though and some of the other guys in my class were also going and we all started talking about it, that took my interest to the next level. I remember thinking “these lads know what they’re talking about, I better know what I’m talking about”. So I started researching, buying shirts with players names on the back, waiting at the tunnel at Filbert Street for autographs and it all went from there for me. The early nineties for me were my most memorable."

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You mentioned Filbert Street, what did that mean to you?

"Oh that place was amazing. I always used to say Filbert Street was my church. I’ve not got a religion, well, I suppose I have - football is my religion. But I always said if I go to church, it’s on a Saturday and it’s at Filbert Street. It’s a little heartbreaking really thinking about it because although there’s student accommodation built where it was, there’s not much there to mark that Filbert Street was once there. At the back of it, you can still see the grass and stuff - it’s a little overgrown. That was my church."

What did the shirt mean to you? Can you remember your first one and did you get attached to kits?

“Ind Coop, it had that sponsor across it but it went on from there. At one point, Leicester had their own brand “Fox Leisure” - It didn’t really take off. As years went on we had the like of Topps Tiles sponsoring us, Joma making our kits. It’s just gone on and on from then really. I like our PUMA kits now, they’re good."

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How about the trinkets attached to football, do you form a relationship with them?

"The thing is with me, a lot of people have said this to me last season with all the media I was doing with all the different countries… when they come to my house, they’re all quite surprised that it’s not painted blue and white, you know? For me, I kind of got to the point where I was thinking, 'anybody can paint their house blue and white'. If that’s what they want then great but for me, I like things to be a bit more personal. On my wall in my hall way, I’ve got the sign from the old Filbert Street. It was the only one that was on the side of the ground and it says 'Leicester City Football Club welcomes you to the Carling Stand'."

"I had to have all my electrics moved to have it put up. I’ve got my seat from when I was a child from the old Leicester supporters club at Filbert Street. I’ve got the flag that was on the old Carling Stand. So I’ve kind of got some nice personal bits and then obviously my tattoos. I’m in no way against people who want to buy a shirt or a scarf, I’ve got all that too but I’m more attached to things that are a little more personal. They each tell a story of me growing up really, with the club."

Your relationship with the club changed a little over time, with you helping those here improve the atmosphere, is that right?

"Yeah, it was 2003 and someone from the club rang me and asked if I knew anyone who would start playing a drum for them in the stadium. I was just like 'no sorry, I don’t' and they followed up and just asked again and I felt like I knew where they were going with it. As it was my club, I just thought, yeah, I’ll give it a go. So a couple of weeks later, we were playing away and I was on edge, the whole time thinking 'what have I agreed to do?' I’d never hit a drum in my life. I got a bit of dutch courage in me and got up on this platform. For the first six or seven minutes I just stood there. Like a statue. I froze. I felt like a plum but I just had to do something so I hit it for the first time. It was like 30,000 sets of eyes that turned around and looked at me. I was like a rabbit in the headlights and just thought, 'now what?!' The ground is going to have to swallow me up or someone needs to help me out. Neither happened so I just hit it again. It was a strange experience but I got home and I was kind of buzzing from it. I felt a bit silly but as the week went on the club got in touch and asked if I enjoyed it. At that point I realised I liked it and wanted to do it again so then we got a proper drum and they built this platform and it all went from there. 13 years on, it’s just rolled by."

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Let's talk about the tattoos. You proudly display your support in a way unique to yourself, can you tell about where that started?

"Well, for a while I was thinking about what I could do. I thought, I’ve got a large back, lets use that in someway. I thought if I ever had kids, I’d use that space for them. I wasn’t in a relationship at the time and I thought… bite the bullet. So I went down to the tattoo artist and said 'this is what I want'. I took a photo that was probably the size of a pint glass. He asked me where I wanted it and gave me a price. I thought 'wow, that’s brilliant!', but said to him that I didn’t want it pint sized, I wanted it to fill my back. He was a little taken back and didn’t have a printer that we could get the image out of to scale. It was bigger than A3 - I had to go to the printing shop to get it all made up. I just thought bite the bullet and get it done."

"I had that done in 2005 and at that time I was still going to the games topless. I think that picture of me and my tattoo has been around the world on every form of social media. Last year I thought that the tattoo needs re-doing. As the club are progressing, I’m going to update this too. So I’m still in the process of getting it re-done. The guy who is doing it for me is a good friend and he’s been re-doing it for free as a bit of a present. He’s got some work from people seeing this tattoo so that’s all good. It’s worked out nicely."

Today’s game and the season that has just gone, the experience must have been incredible to be a part of?

"It has. In the past you obviously know those teams that are expected to win it or do well because they’re spending £49m on a player or their bench is worth £200m or whatever, but the season was just totally different and it’s like the blueprint has been ripped up really. We haven’t had all that same expense at the club. It’s fantastic. What I like about it as well is that at the start of the season, buying a player for £7m was something I doubted, let alone buying Vardy, Kante and Mahrez for less than that, it’s insane. It’s been a massive fairytale."

A line of sight that has seen Leicester City conquer uncharted ground our thanks go to Lee Jobber and the club for their time.

Photography by SoccerBible.


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