King Power Stadium

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King Power Stadium
King Power Stadium wide view.jpg
Full nameKing Power Stadium
Former namesWalkers Stadium (2002–2011)
LocationFilbert Way
Leicester
LE2 7FL
Coordinates52°37′13″N 1°8′32″W / 52.62028°N 1.14222°W / 52.62028; -1.14222Coordinates: 52°37′13″N 1°8′32″W / 52.62028°N 1.14222°W / 52.62028; -1.14222
OwnerKing Power
Capacity32,261[1]
Record attendance32,488 (Leicester Tigers v. Bath Rugby, Heineken Cup, 1 April 2006)
Field size105 by 68 metres (114.8 yd × 74.4 yd)[1]
SurfaceDesso GrassMaster
Construction
Built2002
Opened2002
Tenants
Leicester City (2002–present)
Leicester City Women (2021–present)

King Power Stadium (also known as the Leicester City Stadium due to UEFA sponsorship regulations and formerly known as the Walkers Stadium) is a football stadium in Leicester, England.[2] It has been the home of Premier League club Leicester City since 2002 and has an all-seated capacity of 32,261. Since 2021, the stadium has also been the primary home of Leicester City Women.[3]

History[edit]

Background and construction[edit]

Leicester's previous stadium was at nearby Filbert Street, which had been their home since 1891. It was gradually upgraded during the 20th century and with the advent of the Taylor Report in January 1990 requiring all clubs in the top two divisions to have all-seater stadiums by August 1994, Leicester City's directors began to investigate building a new stadium during the early 1990s, but decided to take the redevelopment option by building a new stand on one side of Filbert Street and fitting seats into the remaining standing areas, giving the stadium a 21,500 all-seated capacity by the 1994–95 season.

Filbert Street's conversion to an all-seater stadium coincided with their promotion to the Premier League after a seven-year exile from the top flight, and with their relegation after just one season it appeared the 21,500 capacity would be adequate.

However, success in the late 1990s saw crowds rise, which meant virtually every game at Filbert Street was a sell-out by the end of the decade. Relocation was soon back on the cards; several clubs had relocated to new stadiums around this time, including Leicester's midland rivals Stoke City and Derby County.

Some parts of the ground – the East and North Stands in particular – were also somewhat outdated, which led the manager, Martin O'Neill to joke that when he showed Filbert Street to new signings he led them backwards out of the players tunnel to prevent them from seeing the East Stand.

In early 1998, plans were announced for a 40,000 all-seater stadium to be built at Bede Island South in time for the 2000–01 season, but they were abandoned on 5 January 2000. Chairman John Elsom vowed other options, including relocation to another site or even further redevelopment of Filbert Street, would be considered, hoping either option would have materialised by August 2002.[4]

The relocation option was soon settled upon, as plans were unveiled on 2 November 2000 for a 32,000-seat stadium at nearby Freeman's Wharf, with 2003–04 being the expected completion date, although it was suggested at the time relocation could happen at the start of the 2002–03 season.[5] Work on the stadium began in the summer of 2001, and by 10 October that year it was confirmed the new stadium would be ready for the 2002–03 season.[6]

The stadium was completed on time in the summer of 2002, ready for Leicester to take up residence for the start of the 2002–03 season. However, it was not an easy start at their new stadium as they had just been relegated from the Premier League and were more than £30 million in debt. The stadium is thought to have cost around £37 million to build. The overall record attendance at the stadium is thought to be between 32,488-32,500, for a rugby union match between Leicester Tigers and Bath in 2006. This rugby match took place prior to seats being removed to provide segregation of rival football fans, reducing the capacity of the ground from exactly 32,500 to 32,261.[7]

Opening[edit]

The stadium was officially opened by former Leicester striker Gary Lineker on 23 July 2002. He used a giant pair of scissors to cut a ribbon on the pitch after arriving at the stadium in a Walkers lorry. The first game at the new stadium was a friendly against Basque team Athletic Bilbao, on 4 August 2002. The game finished 1–1, with Tiko scoring the first goal at the stadium, and Jordan Stewart scoring Leicester's first goal. The attendance was approximately 24,000 (no official figure was recorded due to a computer problem). The first competitive match took place six days later and Leicester beat Watford 2–0 in front of a near-capacity crowd of 31,022. Brian Deane scored both goals, including the stadium's first in competitive games. Leicester ended the 2002–03 season promoted back to the Premier League, losing just two home games in the season, despite spending the early part of the season in receivership due to their huge debts, until a takeover deal was completed.

Ownership[edit]

The £37 million cost of the new stadium, combined with relegation from the Premiership, the collapse of the English transfer market due to the introduction of the transfer window and the collapse of ITV Digital meant Leicester went into receivership shortly after moving to the new stadium. Birse Construction who had built the stadium therefore lost a large part of their fee, and they withdrew from football ground construction.[8]

As part of the deal which brought the club out of receivership, the stadium's ownership reverted to American academic retirement fund TIAA–CREF, who had supplied £28 million via a bond scheme towards the stadium's construction, with the club taking a long-term lease while the bond repayments were made.

On 1 March 2013, owners King Power bought the ground through their company K Power Holdings Co, Ltd.[9]

Plans[edit]

In 2015, vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha stated plans were in place to increase the ground's capacity to around 42,000.[10] Relocation to a new stadium has also been a consideration in the past, but the club have since decided to develop the existing site.[11] In April 2018, it was announced that initial planning for the expansion and development of King Power Stadium was underway.[12] On 28th July 2021, Leicester City confirmed that they would reveal plans to the public which included increasing the capacity to 40,000, as well as several development projects in the surrounding area.[13] The club announced on 25 October 2021, that they had submitted a hybrid planning application to the Leicester City Council for the redevelopment of King Power Stadium and the surrounding area. They had also applied for permits in September 2021 to begin early enabling works in preparation for the redevelopment.[14] In September 2022, plans were approved for Leicester to extend King Power Stadium's capacity to 40,000. The other development projects were also provisionally approved.[15]

Helicopter crash[edit]

On 27 October 2018, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's helicopter crashed in a car park outside the stadium, shortly after taking off from the pitch. Four other people were on the helicopter at the time and there were no survivors.[16]

Naming[edit]

The King Power Stadium from the River Soar

In 2002, former Leicester City shirt sponsors Walkers signed a ten-year deal for naming rights. The agreement was superseded halfway through the period, in May 2007, when they again paid a seven-figure sum to extend their sponsorship of the stadium until 2017.[17] Originally the stadium was to have been called the "Walkers Bowl," but the name was dropped after fans objected on the grounds the name was too "American" (referring to the American college football bowl game concept). As a result of a fans' petition, the name was quickly changed to the "Walkers Stadium"; however, some fans at the time were still unhappy the name only referenced the sponsor, with no Leicester City reference, such as "Filbert," "Fosse" or "Foxes".

Naming rights were sold to King Power for the 2011–12 season, and the ground has been known as King Power Stadium ever since. It is sometimes referred to as Filbert Way after the ground's address, or Freeman's Wharf after the area of the city in which the stadium is situated.[18] During the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the stadium was known as the Leicester City Stadium and this is the same for UEFA competitions.[19]

Notable games[edit]

Football[edit]

The first game at the stadium was a friendly against Spanish team Athletic Bilbao, on 4 August 2002. The game finished 1–1, with Tiko scoring the first goal at the stadium, and Jordan Stewart scoring Leicester's first goal.

During their absence from Wembley Stadium, the England national football team played a home friendly game against Serbia and Montenegro at the stadium on 3 June 2003. Goals from Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole gave England a 2–1 victory. On 12 October of the same year, the ground hosted an international friendly match between Brazil and Jamaica, with Roberto Carlos scoring the winner.[20][21]

On 20 May 2006, the stadium hosted the Football Conference play-off final between Hereford United and Halifax Town. A goal in extra time gave Hereford a 3–2 win and promotion to the Football League. Nine days later, the ground was also the venue for another international friendly, with Ghana beating Jamaica 4–1.

On 12 October 2007, it hosted the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group 3 match between England's under-21s and Montenegro's under-21s. The hosts edged out the visitors 1–0 with Matt Derbyshire's goal.

On 30 July 2011, Leicester City played a strong Real Madrid side in the Npower Cup in front of 32,188 fans, with star players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaká playing for Madrid. After falling behind to a first-half goal from José Callejón and a second on the hour from Karim Benzema, Sven-Göran Eriksson's men pulled a goal back a minute from the end through substitute Lloyd Dyer.

On 4 April 2014, Leicester won 2-1 against Sheffield Wednesday. The win put them on the brink of promotion back to the Premier League, and the next day their Premier League status was confirmed as results went in Leicester's favour.[22][23]

On 21 September 2014, Leicester went on to produce one of the greatest comebacks in Premier League history, as they won 5-3 against Manchester United at King Power Stadium. They came back from 3–1 down with 30 minutes left to score four goals.[24]

On 7 May 2016, Leicester City lifted the 2015–16 Premier League trophy following a 3–1 win versus Everton, less than a week after officially becoming champions as Tottenham Hotspur failed to beat Chelsea.[25][26] Andrea Bocelli performed live before the match.

On 27 September 2016, the stadium hosted its first ever European football match since its opening in 2002. Leicester won 1–0 against FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League.[27]

On 14 March 2017, at the stadium the club played its UEFA Champions League last-16 second leg fixture against Sevilla FC. The match finished 2–0 on the night, and 3–2 on aggregate which resulted in Leicester reaching the quarter-finals of the competition.

On 11 September 2018, the stadium hosted a friendly between the England national team and Switzerland. England won 1-0 with a goal from Marcus Rashford, with then Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell making his England debut as a 79th minute substitute at his home stadium.[28]

On 30 July 2022, the stadium hosted the FA Community Shield due to Wembley Stadium hosting the final of UEFA Women's Euro 2022 on the following day.[29] As the holders, Leicester City were invited to host. This made Leicester the only club to host this fixture at two different stadia, following Filbert Street in 1971.

International matches[edit]

3 June 2003 Friendly England  2–1  Serbia and Montenegro Leicester
20:00 BST Gerrard 35'
J. Cole 82'
Jestrović 45'
Vidić Yellow card 81'
Stadium: Walkers Stadium
Attendance: 30,900
Referee: Paul Allaerts
12 October 2003 Friendly Jamaica  0–1  Brazil Leicester
15:00 BST Roberto Carlos 15' Stadium: Walkers Stadium
Attendance: 32,000
Referee: Rob Styles
29 May 2006 Friendly Jamaica  1–4  Ghana Leicester
Euell 58' Muntari 5'
Stewart 19' (o.g.)
Appiah 66'
Amoah 68'
Stadium: Walkers Stadium
Attendance: 32,000
11 September 2018 Friendly England  1–0  Switzerland Leicester
20:00 BST Rashford 54' Stadium: King Power Stadium
Attendance: 30,256
Referee: Clément Turpin

Rugby union[edit]

In 2004 Leicester Tigers considered sharing the stadium with Leicester City as their own 16,815-capacity ground at Welford Road was considered too small to handle the growing popularity of rugby union. The plan would have seen the two clubs form a jointly owned company to buy the stadium from, then owners, Teachers. The deal was abandoned in 2005 as the clubs failed to fully agree terms. Because of the continued parlous state of the football club's finances, rumours groundsharing was still being discussed continued to circulate, with some suggestions Tigers were considering buying the stadium outright from Teachers. In 2007, a permanent groundshare was ruled out as Leicester Tigers received planning consent for a major expansion of their own Welford Road venue with a new 10,500-seat stand taking Welford Road to a capacity of 24,500.

However, Tigers have played six matches at the stadium The first three were either to capitalise on the larger capacity with the greater interest in high-profile games or when competition rules demanded the match be played away from their normal home ground while the other three was due to the demolition of the old Caterpillar Stand at Welford Road.

Date Competition Opponents Result
24 April 2005 2004–05 Heineken Cup Semi-final Toulouse 19 – 27
1 April 2006 2005–06 Heineken Cup Quarter-final Bath 12 – 15
21 April 2007 2006–07 Heineken Cup Semi-final Llanelli Scarlets 33 – 17
11 April 2009 2008–09 Heineken Cup Quarter-final Bath 20 – 15
25 April 2009 2008–09 Guinness Premiership, Round 22 Bristol 73 – 3
9 May 2009 2008–09 Guinness Premiership Semi-final Bath 24 – 10

King Power Stadium has also hosted international rugby, including a match between a World XV and South Africa on 3 December 2006 to mark the centenary of the Springboks' first game abroad.[30] South Africa won 32–7.

The stadium was a host for matches in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The ground hosted three pool matches: ArgentinaTonga, ArgentinaNamibia and CanadaRomania.

Date Stage of Tournament Team 1 Score Team 2 Attendance
4 October 2015 Pool C Argentina  45 – 16  Tonga 29,124[31]
6 October 2015 Pool D Canada  15 – 17  Romania 27,153[32]
11 October 2015 Pool C Argentina  64 – 19  Namibia 30,198[33]

Average league attendances[edit]

Leicester City[edit]

Leicester City Women[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Attendances restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Premier League Handbook 2020/21" (PDF). Premier League. p. 22. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 April 2021. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Leicester rename Walkers Stadium the King Power Stadium". BBC Sport. 5 July 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  3. ^ "LCFC Women To Play Historic First WSL Season At King Power Stadium". LCFC. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  4. ^ "Leicester bin stadium blueprint". The Guardian. London. 6 January 2000.
  5. ^ Prior, David (3 November 2000). "Leicester make plans to move". The Independent. London.
  6. ^ "Leicester City moves into debt". Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  7. ^ "Leicester 12–15 Bath" BBC.co.uk (News), 1 April 2006 (Retrieved: 11 August 2009)
  8. ^ "Birse writes off £5.5m as Leicester City goes broke". Building. 25 October 2002. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  9. ^ "Leicester City Owners buy King Power Stadium". www.LCFC.com. Leicester City F.C. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  10. ^ Tanner, Rob (8 June 2015). "Leicester City could increase capacity at the King Power Stadium to 42,000". Leicester Mercury. Archived from the original on 2 January 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  11. ^ Tanner, Rob (6 May 2016). "Leicester City look at King Power stadium expansion - or may even build new ground". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Vice Chairman Confirms King Power Stadium Expansion Ambitions".
  13. ^ Jordan Blackwell (28 July 2021). "Leicester City announce major King Power Stadium expansion update as capacity revealed". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  14. ^ "King Power Stadium Development: Hybrid Planning Application Submitted". LCFC.com. 25 October 2021.
  15. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-62908016
  16. ^ "Leicester City owner's helicopter crashes". BBC News. 27 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Allen Named New Foxes Manager" Archived 26 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine LCFC.co.uk, 30 May 2007 (Retrieved: 11 August 2009)
  18. ^ Prior, David (3 November 2000). "Leicester make plans to move". The Independent. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  19. ^ "Leicester City Stadium". England Rugby. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  20. ^ "RSSSF Brasil – Seleção Brasileira (Brazilian National Team) 2002–2003". RSSSF Brasil. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  21. ^ "Brazil bring samba to Leicester". IOL. 13 October 2003. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Leicester City 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday". BBC Sport. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Leicester City promoted to Premier League after 10-year absence". BBC Sport. 5 April 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  24. ^ Lewis, Aimee (21 September 2014). "Leicester City 5-3 Manchester United". BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  25. ^ "Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur". www.bbc.co.uk. 2 May 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  26. ^ "Leicester City 3-1 Everton". www.bbc.co.uk. 7 May 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  27. ^ Bate, Adam (28 September 2016). "Leicester 1-0 Porto: Champions League adventure set to go on". Sky Sports. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  28. ^ McNulty, Phil (11 September 2018). "England 1-0 Switzerland: Marcus Rashford secures victory in friendly - BBC Sport". BBC Sport. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  29. ^ "Community Shield 2022: Everything You Need To Know". Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  30. ^ "Marshall to play for World side". BBC Sport. 24 October 2006. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
  31. ^ "Pool C, Leicester City Stadium, Leicester". Rugby World Cup. 4 October 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  32. ^ "Pool D, Leicester City Stadium, Leicester". Rugby World Cup. 6 October 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  33. ^ "Pool C, Leicester City Stadium, Leicester". Rugby World Cup. 11 October 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2016.

External links[edit]