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Andy King interview in Bristol Post


JonDolman
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Midfielder Andy King has arrived at Ashton Gate and he finds himself as something of a dichotomy.

King is in the strange position of arriving with something to prove but also nothing. He won the League One, Championship and Premier League titles in 2009, 2014 and 2016 respectively, making him the first and only player to win the top three divisions with the same team (Leicester City) in the Premier League era, and he also has 50 caps for Wales.

But after playing mere minutes in the last two seasons following moves to Belgium and Rangers failing to work out, with a stint at Huddersfield Town in between, the Ashton Gate faithful may take some winning over.

Even from one of their own. We travelled to the Robins High Performance Centre recently to speak to the new recruit, who could reprise a Foxes midfield with Matty James beside him, to ask how things are going and on the last few years.

Of course, Bristol City is a club that King knows all too well having stood in the Dolman Stand as a young supporter previously. It's fair to say that he is beaming at how things have worked out in the last weeks. A fresh start but at a familiar location.

"I came in the week before with some of the lads who had been injured over the summer to have a look around and do some training, and then we had the tests and from day one of pre-season it's been absolutely brilliant," King said.

"I've absolutely loved every minute of it being back in England playing in a competition I know and at a club that means so much to me as well. I've got a smile on my face. Even my wife at home says, 'I've never seen you so happy' and stuff."

King is hugely impressed the new training facility that will become his office for the terms of the next year, with the option of a further year if things go well.

 

He of course knows Nigel Pearson well and his "eyes lit up" when he knew of the interest, while in Belgium needing to wait for the end of the season, and the possibility of playing for the club he supports and under a manager he knows intrinsically.

"The last year or so of my career has been a bit of a disaster to be honest," adds King. "You have such highs of winning the league, playing in the Champions League and then football doesn't just always go up and up and up.

"If I look back at my journey in football it started in the academy at Leicester and until probably 18 months ago it was just an upward trajectory of success and enjoyment and everything like that.

"Now I've had maybe 18 months where things haven't gone so well it's made me really, really hungry to be successful again," he explains.

Brexit meant visa and permit delays as King signed for Jupiler Pro League team OH Leuven last season where Leicester City have a relationship with their fellow King Power (the Thai travel retail group) side.

"I obviously went there because it was King Power's other team so it was more of a King Power signing," explains King. "I don't think the manager - and I don't think I'm speaking out of turn here - was a fan.

"The owner had put me in there to help the team, and the manager didn't feel like I was his player, more like the owner's player.

"Therefore he tried to make a point. He had Filip Benkovic there, who I know played here as well, and he was in the same boat. He didn't play a minute.

"He was there another guy from Leicester, and I think the manager really had an issue with people from Leicester being over there," says King.

King wants to put that to bed and there may now be an increased hunger that Bristol City can make good use of: the wish to make up for lost time.

The 32-year-old says that he is more appreciative of what he has now, a great set of lads, a manager he knows so well and a team that really means something to him.

His family keep messaging him about the move to City. Their team. King watched from the Dolman but wasn't a season ticket holder as from the age of seven he played in Chelsea's academy, while living around Maidenhead.

His dad and brother (who went to university here) are season ticket holders though, and King's first game was Liverpool at home in the FA Cup in January 1994, at the age of five, leaving after just 45 minutes being so young.

A gold and blue away City kit is still in his possession.

"We went to the Football League Trophy final [2003 at the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff] and I remember Brentford away one time. I remember Leroy Lita scoring down at Griffin Park and us all piling down to the bottom of the stand," he recalls, with a glow in his eye.

"The away atmosphere is always good. I was there for the playoff final [in 2004] when they lost to Brighton, at Cardiff's Millenium Stadium. Leon Knight scored a penalty - I was at that one. It wasn't a good one obviously," he adds.

Pulling on that Bristol City shirt will really mean something to King over the next days. With hopefully more good ones to come.

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Ye read this just now JD. Obviously still a quality footballer who’s career has stagnated of late. But with Nigel Pearson in charge and him and his family being Bristol City fans I’m confident he can rekindle his desire and ability. Looking forward to seeing him in the red and white 

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13 minutes ago, Red Army 75 said:

Ye read this just now JD. Obviously still a quality footballer who’s career has stagnated of late. But with Nigel Pearson in charge and him and his family being Bristol City fans I’m confident he can rekindle his desire and ability. Looking forward to seeing him in the red and white 

Yep. I like it that he explained what went wrong in Belgium. Makes complete sense now if that was why he didn't play.

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30 minutes ago, Davefevs said:

I suggested it was a King Power thing when he signed.

Oh right can't remember that. Still the Rangers and Huddersfield moves didn't seem to go brilliantly either. We will soon see, really hoping he does well here.

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2 minutes ago, JonDolman said:

Oh right can't remember that. Still the Rangers and Huddersfield moves didn't seem to go brilliantly either. We will soon see, really hoping he does well here.

Nope, but at 32, not past it, lightly used you could argue.  Full pre-season too.  Fingers crossed.

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12 minutes ago, redsapper said:

He probably does not drink in the Heartcliff Inn!

Quite so. 

Both massive City fans but from rather different eras regarding what it means to be a dedicated professional athlete.

King has less miles on the clock and a far better manager to work under, too. No disrespect intended but facts is facts.

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