The last – and only – occasion when Leicester City won the Community Shield was in 1971, 45 years ago. Double winners Arsenal were unable to attend due to a lazily planned pre-season schedule meaning FA Cup runners-up Liverpool would face Second Division champions Leicester instead.
Played at Filbert Street, the Foxes’ former home, in front of a crowd of just 25,104, Steve Witworth’s 25th minute strike for the hosts was enough to defeat Bill Shankly’s men. Having never won the FA Cup, the Shield has held pride of place in the Leicester trophy cabinet alongside their three League Cups and seven second-tier titles.
Their remarkable march to the Premier League title under Claudio Ranieri last season has since painted the East Midlands club’s entire history in a different hue. No longer nearly men, Leicester’s very appearance at Wembley this afternoon, to face Manchester United, is a reminder of their electric, unfathomable rise to the top.
That Shield victory in ’71 is one of just 12 major pieces of silverware in Leicester’s cabinet – if you generously include second and third tier triumphs in that tally. United, by contrast, have won a record 20 top flight titles, a shared record 12 FA Cups, four League Cups, 20 Community Shields and three European Cups.
The David and Goliath element to the Leicester City story remains. But instead of being offended by the occasionally patronising question here, the often stooping comment there, Ranieri wears their underdog status like winners’ rosette, his breast puffed out. “I have spoken with the players and I have told them that I know them very well and I want more from them,” Ranieri said, demanding that Leicester use their title success as a springboard.
The latest leap into the dark comes today at Wembley. Against Jose Mourinho’s lavishly assembled United crop, the odds will be stacked against them once more.
What time does it start?
Manchester United vs Leicester City kicks off at 16:00 BST on Sunday 7 August at Wembley Stadium.
Where can I watch it?
Coverage starts on BT Sport 1 at 15:15pm while The Independent will provide a live blog of the match.
What they say
United manager Mourinho: “In this country we want every club to share the amount of money that is on the table. The consequence of this is the high competition we have here, which allows a club like Leicester to be champions.
“That’s a great achievement for them and also the football organisation of a country that allows a medium-sized club to compete with the big ones.”
Leicester manager Ranieri: “We give the maximum and I think also Manchester will give the maximum. The two teams want to win it. I’m very excited. It’s good because when I was in the final of the FA Cup, Wembley was being rebuilt, so we played in Cardiff – Chelsea against Arsenal – and that is the first time.”
Leicester City to win: 16/5
Manchester United to win: 19/20
(All odd after 90 minutes only provided by BetVictor)
Leicester City: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs; Mahrez, Mendy, Drinkwater, Musa; Okazaki, Vardy.
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Shaw; Carrick, Herrera; Mkhitaryan, Rooney, Martial; Ibrahimovic.