A report of the Chief Executive , enabling Council to consider conferring the title of Honorary Freedom of the Borough on Leicester City Football Club, is attached.
A report of the Chief Executive to enable the Council to consider conferring the title of Honorary Freedom of the Borough on Leicester City Football Club (item 3 on the extraordinary agenda filed with these minutes).
At the meeting of the Council on 21st June 2021 it was resolved that consideration be given to conferring upon Leicester City Football Club the honour of Honorary Freedom of the Borough in view of their eminent services to the Borough and its people and that subject to this, the ceremony take place at a special meeting of the Council at 6.30pm prior to the next Council meeting.
In proposing the motion, Councillor Barkley referred to the outstanding achievements of Leicester City Football Club, including winning the FA Cup the Premier League and the League Cup and to Leicester City Women’s’ team and their inspirational success. He stated that the club had invested heavily in the Borough of Charnwood and had chosen a site in Seagrave for their new world-class training ground.
In seconding the motion, Councillor Miah recalled the great celebrations in Leicestershire following Leicester City Football Club’s 2016 Premier League win. He highlighted the significant contributions made by the club to the communities of Leicestershire and referred to some of the projects delivered to change many peoples’ lives.
Councillor Snartt stated that he had been attending Leicester City Football Club matches as a fan for more than 70 years. He had been Chairman of Leicestershire County Council at the time of the club’s 2016 Premier League win, and Mayor of Charnwood when the club recently won the FA Cup. Whilst in these roles, Councillor Snartt stated that he recalled discussing the wins with members of the public, and that the achievements of the club had been a great joy and inspiration to many. He went on to say that following the pandemic, the club’s FA Cup win had lifted the spirits of the County.
Councillor Parton stated that other Premier League teams found the achievements of Leicester City Football Club to be inspiring. He went on to say that Leicester City was unique due to the steady growth, financial prudence and commitment to excellence demonstrated across the organisation. He also acknowledged that the team had managed to enter the ‘top six’, which no other Premier League team had done. Councillor Parton stated that is was right that the club received the recognition deserved.
Councillor Grimley stated that he had been a life-long supporter of Leicester City Football Club and referred to the significant work in the community that the club had undertaken.
Councillor Hamilton referred to the pride that the club had brought to the region. He went on to say that the club would likely motivate younger generations to aspire to success.
Councillor Popley stated that he was a life-long supporter of the club and thanked the representatives for their contributions towards the success achieved.
Councillor Keith Harris stated that he had waited 60 years to see Leicester City win the Premier League and 64 years for the club to win the FA Cup. He went on to praise the club for its unique and amiable nature.
Councillor Taylor referred to the positive community spirit as a result of the club’s successes and stated that the celebrations had been great to be involved in.
Councillor Poland highlighted the importance of the power of football to unite and create an identity across generations.
Councillor Christine Harris explained that she had been a life-long supporter of Leicester City Football Club and stated that she was proud of the team and pleased to witness the ceremony.
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that Leicester City Football Club be hereby conferred the title of Freedom of the Borough.
To recognise their eminent services to the Borough and its people.
Following this, representatives from Leicester City Football Club accepted the official Honorary Freedom of the Borough scroll and signed the Honour Roll.
The following speech was then given by Leicester City Football Club Chief Executive Susan Whelan:
“Mr Mayor, Madam Deputy Mayor, Councillors, Ladies and Gentlemen…
On behalf of the owners, directors, management, staff and players of Leicester City Football Club, I’d like to express my fullest gratitude for the high honour bestowed on the Club today.
It has been our great privilege to celebrate our recent successes with you, as proud members of the Charnwood community, and we are truly humbled to have those successes recognised with such distinction.
The Club has always been committed to and aimed to be representative of the wider county of Leicestershire, embracing the significant proportion of its supporters that emanate from the boroughs and towns outside of the city. Several have provided the setting for a number of our players and staff to set up homes for their families and bases for their careers, embedding themselves in Leicestershire life and building an affinity with both the Club and its surroundings.
The Borough of Charnwood in particular, has been an ally to the Club in that sense. Villages such as Mountsorrel, Quorn and Rothley have provided that endearing sense of home to a great number of our personnel over the years, including LCFC Women, whose formative years in Quorn laid the foundations for their recent ascent to the FA Women’s Super League.
And, in Loughborough’s Hamza Choudhury and Syston’s Luke Thomas, we have two young players at the heart of our First Team squad, born and raised right here in the borough.
So when we began exploring plans to develop a new, world-leading training facility in Seagrave, we knew we would be coming into an environment that was already very much part of Leicester City life. Not only that, but a setting that has been active in Leicestershire’s tradition for sporting excellence, to which previous recipients of this very honour would testify. Continuing to develop and attract world-class sporting talent in Leicestershire is a central pillar of the Club’s long-term vision, boosted by the region’s longstanding reputation for nurturing some of the most gifted sportsmen and sportswomen in the world.
In the Borough of Charnwood, we have found stakeholders, working partners and communities that share our passion and belief in the inspirational power of sport. We’re extremely proud to be adding to that tradition, building the foundations for the Club’s and the city’s future sporting success, every day within the borough and deepening our connection with its residents.
In that sense, we intend to make this recognition of ‘eminent services to the Borough and its people’ just the beginning.
Thank you all, once more.”