Emile Heskey has revealed the crucial and hitherto unknown role he has played in saving Leicester City from the depths of administration. Heskey began his career with Leicester City and impressed to such an extent that Liverpool made him their then-record signing for 11 million pounds in 2000.
It was while Heskey was playing with Liverpool in 2002 that he donated a massive £100,000 to his former side to save them from administration. Leicester were in the Championship that season, and following the collapse of ITV digital and the financial burden of a new stadium, the club had racked up debts of around £30million. As the club faced the prospect of administration and a points deduction, Heskey rode to their aid, by pledging £100,000 of his own money to the club.
Heskey explained the reasoning behind his generosity to the Daily Star:
You’ve got to remember I was at this club from the age of nine.
I was there all that time and then made my debut at 17. I’m from the city and I still come back a lot to see my family.
If it wasn’t for this club would I be what I am or have done what I have achieved? Everything that happened for me is down to me starting here as a little kid.
I just felt it was something I had to do and, in all fairness, I thought a few more people would do it as well. But maybe they just didn’t have the same deep feeling as me.”
I just gave it unconditionally because of my love for the club. They were in a bad way. It was desperate. It was sad to see the club I played for and went to cup finals with in such a terrible state.
I was a ball boy at Filbert Street and I went to playing at the old Wembley with my parents watching. Everything about what happened for me – the 5-1 win with England in Germany - was all down to starting here.
The club was going down a road nobody wanted to see. It was something I had to do. I wasn’t looking for anything from it.
A very impressive gesture by Heskey, and the rewards are currently being reaped.
We are not sure what Liverpool will think about all of this, however, given they were paying Heskey's wages at the time. Still, it's good to see the club's investment has helped someone win the Premier League, even if it's not the club themselves.