You’ll never guess who dropped in on Sunday...

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri (second left) with Cherry Tree landlord Phil North, Phil's partner Karen Evans (left) and his daughter Jade North (right).
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri (second left) with Cherry Tree landlord Phil North, Phil's partner Karen Evans (left) and his daughter Jade North (right).

They’re pleased as punch ... he’s here for Sunday lunch, Claudio! Claudio!... If you don’t follow football in general, or Leicester City in particular, you might not see how exciting this story is.

But try to imagine Paul McCartney dropping in on your local karaoke night, and you’ll get the idea.

The Cherry Tree pub in Little Bowden, run by a Leicester City fan, was in the middle of a busy lunch session last Sunday, when the current greatest man in Leicestershire appeared.

It was Claudio Ranieri, the charming Italian manager of Leicester City FC, a man who turned last year’s Premiership survivors into this year’s high-scoring, top of the table surprise package. And he’s done it all with calmness and a twinkle in his eye. To say fans love him is like saying Italians like pasta.

“Everyone in the pub was in awe. And I think I’m still skipping round the place today” admitted the landlord’s daughter Jade North, also a Foxes fan.

The unexpected star visit could have gone a bit wrong though.

Jade explained: “He just walked in and said ‘can we eat’? and one of our serving staff said ‘we’re full at the moment’ - which we were.

“I had to chase after him across the car park and say ‘we’ll sort something out for you’. He must have thought I was a bit mad!”

Claudio and three other family members enjoyed their Cherry Tree lunch, before the relaxed City manager smilingly posed for pictures behind the bar with landlord Phil North, the landlord’s partner Karen Evans and Jade.

“He’s such a gentleman, and his family were all so sweet” said Jade.

“None of us could quite believe what was happening. My dad just shook his hand and told him ‘you’ve turned that club around!’”

Jade posted the picture on the pub’s Facebook page after the Ranieri had gone - and has so far had 19,000 hits.

“It’s made our year” said Jade. “And our Facebook page has never been so popular!”