Mocked for supporting Leicester, award-winning cameraman Asraf Dahari has the last laugh now

Award-winning photographer Asraf Dahari is a rare breed among those who support English clubs as he has been a Leicester City fan since the 1960s.

And while he was overjoyed when the Foxes were crowned Premier League champions in 2016, he rates watching them win the Division 2 title in 1980 as “a highlight”.

The 65-year-old Asraf, who worked with Utusan Malaysia, The Star and The New Straits Times (NST), started supporting the club when he watched it play on the Star Soccer programme.

Asraf has been a supporter of Leicester since the 1960s.

For the record, Star Soccer was a weekly football highlights television programme from the United Kingdom, which ran on from 1965 until 1983.

“I also read up about Leicester when my father (former NST assistant group editor Dahari Ali) brought home Shoot and Goal magazines,” said Asraf, whose daughter Amirah is now a sub-editor with NST.

“My love for the club intensified when my father sent me to study at Leicester Polytechnic in 1976 as his friend’s son was staying in the city.

“Leicester were in Division 2 then. We rented a house opposite the (old) stadium at Filbert Street.

“I used to go to a lot of home matches. The most memorable one was on April 12, 1980, when I watched Leicester beat Birmingham 2-1 to all but ensure promotion to the First Division.”

Leicester would later be crowned champions by one point – ahead of Sunderland (54 points) and Birmingham (53).

The Foxes didn’t fare so well in the top flight and were relegated the following season but a highlight was beating Liverpool 2-1 with goals from Pat Byrne and Jim Melrose in January 1981.

It was the Reds’ first home defeat in nearly three years after going unbeaten in 63 matches from February 1978.

The win was of particular joy for Asraf as his brothers are Liverpool fans.

In the early years, Asraf’s favourite players included Frank Worthington, Jon Sammels and Alan Young while now he rates Kasper Schmeichel, Jamie Vardy and Caglar Soyuncu very highly.

Asked how he thinks Leicester would fare this season, he said: “With Brendan Rodgers leading the way, I believe Leicester will be a team to watch.

“Last season they finished fifth and are third now. I see them staying in that position behind Manchester City and Liverpool.”

Leicester plays Leeds on Sunday (10pm).

FIXTURES (Malaysian time)

SATURDAY
Everton vs Newcastle (8.30pm)
Crystal Palace vs Wolves (11pm)
Manchester City vs Sheffield United (11pm)
West Brom vs Fulham (11pm)

SUNDAY
Arsenal vs Manchester United (1.30am)
Southampton vs Aston Villa (4am)
Chelsea vs Burnley (8pm)
Leicester vs Leeds (10pm)

MONDAY
West Ham vs Liverpool (12.30am)
Brighton vs Tottenham (3.15am)