Ellis Genge will make his final Mattioli Woods Welford Road appearance as a Leicester Tigers player in Saturday's Gallagher Premiership semi-final and, ahead of the showdown with Northampton Saints, the club captain chats about the relationship between players and fans, inspiring his team-mates and East Midlands derbies.
"I have been here almost seven years now ... it has been up and down. I have had for the most part a great relationship with the fans. They are a great set of fans," the Tigers skipper told journalists during the club's weekly press session.
"We went through that low period where the relationship wasn’t great between players and fans, for obvious reasons. We weren’t performing so they put us under a lot of heat.
"I feel like we have come out the other side and the stadium is bouncing again and you can really feel that player-fan bond walking around.
"It is quite personal, hearing them shouting your name, standing ovations when the boys come off the pitch. It’s excellent. Even internationally it’s one of the top stadiums I’ve played in. It’s a special place"
Speaking about his role in leading the side, Genge said: "You have got to beat the drum when the time is right. You don't want to do it early in the week because you have got to get your detail down first."
"If you start going nuts and spitting flames then you are not going to learn much during the week.
"I just want to completely empty the tank for the supporters who have been there throughout."
Genge is among several Tigers players yet to feature in an East Midlands Derby during the current campaign, having been away on international duty, and is pleased he won't miss the opportunity this season with Saturday's semi-final seeing the rivals meet for the 249th time.
"The academy boys are called Leicester skins, and I always wanted to be a Leicester skin," said Genge.
"I would like to think I’ve blooded myself in my own way and left my mark there. It didn’t mean much to start with. I remember when I first turned up to the club we had Racing at the Nottingham Forest football stadium (2016) and then after we were away at Franklin’s Gardens and I went ... it was brilliant to watch.
"From there, seeing guys like Matt Smith and the other boys who weren’t even playing in tears from us beating Saints it showed me.
"I have had a few derbies in my time from all different levels of rugby, but the East Midlands is one that’s up there as the most prolific."