Long live the King

The tentative excitement surrounding the Premier League's long-awaited restart was coloured with sadness on Thursday when the news broke that Andy King's 16-year association with Leicester would be coming to a close at the end of the season.

But what years they've been! King first broke into the squad as a bright young academy graduate, his emergence a rare positive as the club fought in vain against its first ever relegation to the third tier. He leaves it a title winner thrice over, the first player to conquer the top three divisions with the same club in the Premier League era and with the team once again chasing European football. Though his influence has waned over the past few years, it is difficult to overstate King's involvement in that transformation.

Never the trickiest or most physically impressive player in the team, King's discipline, professionalism and composure ensured that he was a regular in the sides that bounced back from League One at the first attempt, twice fell agonisingly short in the Championship play-offs then stormed to the title in 2014. Helpful, too, were the instinctive positioning and assured finishing that have made him the club's record-scoring midfielder.

Promotion to the top flight saw King become a more peripheral figure, yet one whose contribution was keenly felt when it was needed the most. The incredible sprint to safety in 14/15 would not have been possible without his late winner against West Ham in April, the moment when blind faith became true belief. Barely more than a year later, on coronation day in the driving rain, he created the first and scored the second of Leicester's three goals as the club to which he had given so much were crowned champions. There could hardly have been a more fitting end to the tale.

With us all the way from the deepest lows to the most unimaginable highs, Andy King will forever be a Leicester legend.

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