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Leicester City Baby Squad 1984

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In British football culture history, certain clubs are synonymous not only with their on-field prowess but also with the culture and support of some of their fans. Leicester City Football Club is one such club, known for its passionate fan base and the indomitable spirit of the Baby Squad – a football firm that has left an indelible mark on the club’s identity and culture and that of British football culture.

Leicester City Baby Squad
© Steve Pyke

It’s thought that The Baby Squad emerged in the late 1970s, during an era when football firms were prominent across England. Comprising a dedicated group of younger supporters, the Baby Squad earned its reputation through its dedication and loyalty to Leicester City and its willingness to defend the club’s honour both at home and away matches which saw the firm grow in prominence into the 1980s.

The Baby Squad is not only characterised by its close-knit camaraderie, fierce loyalty, and unyielding passion for Leicester City, but also for their sense of fashion and style – adopting a smart casual look that became synonymous with Football Casuals. Despite its relatively smaller size compared to some of the more notorious football firms, the Baby Squad garnered respect for its tenacity and dedication to supporting the team through thick and thin.

Leicester City Baby Squad
© Steve Pyke
Leicester City Baby Squad
© Steve Pyke
Leicester City Baby Squad
© Steve Pyke
Leicester City Baby Squad
© Steve Pyke

Like many football firms of its time, the Baby Squad was involved in occasional clashes with rival supporters, particularly during heated derby matches. While incidents of hooliganism tarnished the reputation of football firms in general, the Baby Squad remained steadfast in its support of Leicester City, even as the landscape of football fandom evolved.

Baby Squad 1984 is a series of photographs by celebrated photographer Steve Pyke MBE that follow Leicester City’s casual football firm, the Baby Squad, on a night out in 1984. The limited edition A5 photo zine contains 17 full colour photographs across 32 pages, accompanied with a first hand essay written by Chris Burkham.

It was the 1980s, and football’s terrace culture was at its peak. This was the evening of Friday 31st of August, the night before Leicester City travel to rivals Coventry City for their Division 1 midlands clash.

Peacocking, plotting and scheming ahead of the next day’s fixture, the then infamous Leicester City Baby Squad were out on the town. For these football fans, appearance mattered. It wasn’t about club colours, it was about the latest fashions, trending labels and tattoos. Style and reputation mattered in equal measure.

The question in hand, how to evade police detection the next day…

“The air is alive with sexual tension, heavy with the smell of cheap scent. All of a sudden, a half-dozen enter wearing the same t-shirts; All emblazoned with the slogan… CHOOSE WHAM!” Chris Burkham 

Leicester City Baby Squad
© Steve Pyke
Leicester City Baby Squad
© Steve Pyke
Leicester City Baby Squad
© Steve Pyke
Leicester City Baby Squad
© Steve Pyke
Leicester City Baby Squad
© Steve Pyke
Leicester City Baby Squad
© Steve Pyke
Leicester City Baby Squad
© Steve Pyke
Baby Squad | Leicester City - Steve Pyke
Baby Squad 1984 | Leicester City. © Steve Pyke | Lower Block

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