Leicester’s picture perfect year, shot by shot

Michael Regan is a photographer with international agency Getty. He has been the official England photographer for 10 years, travelling everywhere with the national team. But this season, with something special building down the road from his home, Getty tended to send this lifelong Leicester fan to the King Power Stadium. Here he selects five of his favourite shots from a year he’ll never forget...

1. I didn’t miss the Mahrez magic

I actually missed the Vardy goal. The 30-yarder against Liverpool. Ballsed it up. It was then when you thought, if Jamie Vardy is walloping in 30-yarders against Liverpool, something is going on. I just didn’t think he was going to hit it. It’s not Jamie Vardy to hit one from 30 yards.

A lot of the other photographers got it. Maybe because they weren’t Leicester fans, they were expecting a bit more from it that I was. For a moment I did think,’ I don’t care, we’re 1-0 up’, which I’m a bit ashamed about. But later I was disgusted I missed it.

But the Mahrez goal against Chelsea, to make it 2-0 was another special moment. The faces on the Chelsea players really tell the story of how great the goal was, stunning.

2. Ulloa ignites the King Power

Leicester’s picture perfect year, shot by shot

My first game was 1988. We lost 1-0 to Bournemouth. There were many of those.

Leicester fans have never dreamt of this. We’ve never asked for this, winning the Premier League.

Winning the FA Cup is what Leicester fans dream of. So winning the Premier League is kind of incomprehensible. Noone’s even imagined it.

I think it helps the atmosphere. The stadium was always positive. I get to a lot of stadiums and at Leicester there’s never that snarling sense of entitlement that you get at a lot of Premier League clubs, like maybe Tottenham. Where fans feel like they deserve a league title. That puts pressure on the players. Ours was just positive and grateful.

This picture is after Ulloa equalised with the penalty in the dying seconds against West Ham, just when everything seemed to be turning against them.

The ballboy makes this picture.

3. Believing in Claudio

Leicester’s picture perfect year, shot by shot

This is Claudio looking pleased with himself during the win over Mourinho’s Chelsea. With all the history between the two, this summed up the situation on the night.

Being a pessimistic Leicester fan, the closer we got to the end, you’re more nervous about how big a capitulation it’s going to be. But they started to grind out results. It’s nerve-racking sitting there. Going 1-0 up and then sitting back and absorbing it. It wasn’t ideal for a photographer. You either have the picture of the goal or you’re dead in the water. But they knew what they were doing. Ranieri is Italian. It’s all about game management. It was all part of the plan.

4. Okazaki puts it on the line

Leicester’s picture perfect year, shot by shot

With the ball in midfield, you kind of drift into watching the match. As a photographer, you get used to the crowd noises and they are your triggers to go ‘something’s happening here’. Even when Leicester are scoring important goals, you’re kind of concentrating on what you’re doing. You just go quiet. You shoot the celebrations, then do a bit of a shout afterwards.

This is my favourite action picture of the season. It was our toughest match of the season, at Arsenal, and Okazaki is getting in there where it hurts.

5. Picturing the finishing post

Leicester’s picture perfect year, shot by shot

I did 23 games. The office put me on a lot of the games because I support them and I live just down the road. Last week, I saw on Facebook that someone had started a mural on an obscure wall in the city centre. When I got down there it was well on the way to be finished. It was two days before the Manchester United game where Leicester could seal the title. It seemed appropriate it wasn’t finished. Ranieri was days away from becoming a Leicester City legend.


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