Students from across the globe have been catching Leicester City fever after getting to experience the heart of the celebrations while studying at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).
Hundreds of people studying at the university have spread their newly-discovered love of the Foxes around the world, to their friends and families in China, India and America to name a few.
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In turn, many international students have been getting calls and messages from acquaintances back home, green with envy over how close they have been to the unfolding story and the opportunities available to experience life at Leicester City through DMU’s partnership with the club.
Many students got to meet and ask questions of City defender Christian Fuchs just days after he and the team had lifted the Premier League trophy at the King Power Stadium, at an exclusive Q&A held on campus.
Over the last few months, the world’s attention has turned towards the Foxes as they drew closer to a 5000-1 Premier League title win. The spirit of their underdog charge gripped people – fans or not – everywhere, revitalising a belief in the power of teamwork, passion and joy over simply money and status as the recipe for sporting success.
The team have recently touched down in Bangkok, to a champions’ welcome from Thai fans as they begin a victory tour of the country.
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Thai PhD student Nuntamon Kutalad, studying Design Management in Museums, said: “I don’t have to explain where Leicester is anymore! Football is an extremely popular sport in Thailand, my dad loves watching and my uncle is a loyal fan of Liverpool. Everybody at home follows teams like Manchester United, now they follow Leicester City too.”
Nuntamon, known as Noma, got a scholarship from her country in the field of Museum Studies: “I had never heard of Leicester before I came here, but my supervisor in Thailand suggested it was a good place to go.”
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Leicester City’s owners and shirt sponsors are King Power, the biggest travel retailer in Thailand, and Noma's friends encouraged her to watch a match “because a very famous Thai businessman had bought the team”.
She’s seen games against Tottenham, Southampton and Bournemouth at the King Power Stadium: “I can call myself a Foxes fan – since I study here I should support Leicester. It was a good experience and I really enjoyed cheering them on to score.”
In her home city of Bangkok they’re taking a special interest in the team’s fortunes: “Nobody used to walk in the club shop very much, but now it’s sold out. We’re really pleased how well the team is doing.”
DMU Engineering Management student Griddipong Boontharig, who is also president of the Thai Students’ Society of Leicester, said: “I come from Chiang Mai and people there feel very proud to be a part of the Foxes success in the Premier League.
“When I walk around my city I see people wearing Leicester City shirts or key chains. When I mention studying in Leicester, they ask about the football team.”
The win drew media from around the globe and many interviews, articles and live broadcasts took place on DMU’s campus, giving staff and students a real front seat for the biggest sporting story ever told.
They were also in prime position to walk the few yards from campus to join the hundreds of thousands of other Leicester fans to line the parade route and cheer the team as they made a victorious tour of the city, showing off the trophy, before appearing on stage in front of a festival-sized crowd of fans at Victoria Park.
DMU has recently signed a new partnership agreement with the Champions, building on four years of working together.
It includes work placements for up to 100 students a year at the King Power Stadium covering all aspects of running a Premier League football club, DMU branding inside and outside the stadium and promotions at UK Government trade events in Thailand.
At the same time DMU has agreed to work closely with Leicester City’s owners and shirt sponsors King Power, the biggest travel retailer in Thailand, to look at introducing DMU/King Power scholarships for Thai students, DMU scholarships for King Power employees and #DMUglobal visits for students to work with King Power charities in Asia.
DMU student football trials will take place at the Club’s state-of-the-art facilities and international Foxes players will be offered English lessons at DMU – such as those enjoyed recently by striker Shinji Okazaki.
Posted on Wednesday 18th May 2016