When Leicester meet Peterborough on Saturday during the nPower Championship’s season opener both will be gunning for three points but for one set of supporters, a victory will mean so much more.
Historically, the Foxes meetings with the Posh have been few and far between with Saturday’s encounter only the 16th competitive
meeting between the two clubs. Typically, Leicester are considered a much bigger club than their Eastern blue counterparts with Leicester traditionally competing in the top two tiers of English Football and Posh in the basement divisions of the Football League. This could explain Leicester fan’s disillusion to the rivalry believing that Peterborough’s history is beneath them. In fact, United’s highest ever finish in the league ladder was 10th place in the 2nd tier (currently the nPower Championship), one place below Leicester’s standing from last season, a season the Foxes faithful considered a failure. But meetings between the two are becoming more and more frequent with 40% of the fixtures between the two being played since 2008.
The first flickers of rivalry arose in the 2008-09 League One season in which both clubs found themselves towards the top of the table with Peterborough finishing runners-up to champions, Leicester. Accompanied by two convincing home wins that season by both clubs (4-0 at Leicester and 2-0 at Peterborough), an on-the-pitch gulf in class was becoming shorter as Posh would go on to spend the two of the next three seasons at Leicester’s side even totting up some shock victories as they became City’s bogey team. Peterborough’s seemingly inability to roll over and die at the feet of Leicester is perhaps the only reason any dislike is felt on the Foxes side whereas Posh fans seem to harbour much more.
Geographically, the cities of Leicester and Peterborough are only 41 miles apart and with Leicester supporters scattered in towns such as Corby, Stamford and Kettering, it is clear to see why there might be friction with the neighbouring Posh fans. Especially as their traditional rivals Cambridge United and Northampton Town seemed to have disintegrated in to Sunday League outfits. However, despite being the closest club to Posh in the Championship, Leicester are not short of rivals in the congested East Midlands with their sights firmly fixated on Derby and Forest. In fact, a football rivalry survey I conducted in March of this year revealed Posh considered the Foxes among their top 3 rivals whereas Peterborough stood a lowly 8th place for Leicester fans behind the likes of Aston Villa and Leeds United.
How Leicester see it
Quotes from FoxesTalk forum;
“Tinpot. Small time. Deluded supporters, a team that no-one really takes much notice of. “
“I like their terrace. But otherwise I don’t think much of them, just another team in the league that we’ll play at some point.”
“Third or fourth tier club who’ve done very well in the past few years, that we unfortunately lose a number of points to, presumably from not treating the game seriously enough/them putting in a good performance.”
“Underestimate anyone at your peril! Of course they don’t have a particularly illustrious history but they seem like a good, albeit old fashioned, football club.”
“It’s a decent day for a drink up plus they have a terrace. Shame their fans don’t make the most of it.”
“Very efficient train station”
The general consensus among Leicester fans seems to be that Posh are not considered rivals. Having stumped up a lowly eighth place in the Foxes rivalry ranking, it is clear that only a very few fans consider Posh to be a rivalry. Of course those roaming the streets of the major Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire towns may look at Posh with a healthy contempt but in reality The Foxes have bigger fish to (Barry) fry.
How Peterborough see it
“Big club, with a big fan base but too over-rated , think they can buy the league and they lose or draw to teams which they should be beating, and we consider them as rivals cus of all the meetings they had in League 1 and Championship”
“I think for some we have lost all rivalry with other clubs due to our rise in leagues so they are looking for a new rival…Leicester is relatively close to Peterborough so for some I think they want to create a rivalry, for others its a money thing”
“Hmm, I know there are a few Posh fans who think Leicester as a rivalry but I reckon it’s more to do with the fact that Leicester got the League One title instead of us! And there’s the obvious geographical but we don’t really class Leicester as rivals. They’re a decent club, and I reckon they could get a top 10 finish this season!”
“I appreciate that the feeling isn’t really mutual, but most Posh fans would love to beat Leicester!”
However for Peterborough fans the fixture seems to be increasingly more important. Evidence for this includes one fan naming Leicester as the team they would most like to beat this season, the chants of ‘If you all hate Leicester clap your hands!’ and ‘Shoot the Leicester scum!’ at the King Power Stadium and an FA Cup tie in which Posh faced Sunderland last season. Reports spread on Twitter at the end of April that Peterborough fans were chanting anti-Leicester songs as they passed through the city on their way to Pride Park to face Derby County and the Peterborough Telegraph even described the opening day fixture as a ‘mouth-watering derby trip’ on the day of the fixtures’ release.
So when the thousands of blue clad supporters descend upon the King Power Stadium this Saturday. It will be a battle for 3 points for one but a fight for pride for the other. But who knows, maybe something extraordinary will happen and we can all enjoy a rivalry that both clubs partake in equally. But given the gulf in the extent of our histories and traditions, I’d say it’s fairly unlikely.
- Obscure Football Rivalries (thechriswhitingshow.wordpress.com)