Leicester City F.C.
|Full name||Leicester City Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The Foxes, The Blues, City, Blue Army|
(as Leicester Fosse)
|Ground||King Power Stadium|
|Owner||King Power International|
|2014–15||Premier League, 14th|
|Website||Club home page|
Leicester City Football Club / /, also known as the Foxes, is an English professional football club based in Leicester at the King Power Stadium. They play in the Premier League, having been promoted as champions of the Football League Championship in 2013–14, signalling a return to the top flight of English football after a decade away.
The club was founded in 1884 as Leicester Fosse, playing on a field near Fosse Road. The name Leicester City was adopted in 1919.
They moved to Filbert Street in 1891 and played there for 111 years, before moving to the nearby Walkers Stadium in 2002. They renamed the stadium the King Power Stadium after a change of ownership in 2013.
Leicester City were elected to the Football League in 1894. The club's highest ever finish was second place in the top flight, in Division One in 1928–29. The club holds a joint-highest seven second tier titles (six Second Division and one Championship), as well as one League One title. They have won the League Cup three times and have been FA Cup runners-up four times, a tournament record for the most defeats in the final without having won the competition. The club has only spent one season outside the top two tiers of English football, which was in the 2008–09 season, when they won the Football League One title.
- 1 History
- 2 Colours, crest and traditions
- 3 Stadium
- 4 Support
- 5 Rival clubs
- 6 European record
- 7 Honours
- 8 Managerial history
- 9 Records & statistics
- 10 League history
- 11 Players
- 12 Club staff
- 13 Player statistics
- 14 Personnel honours & awards
- 15 References
- 16 Further reading
- 17 External links
Formed in 1884 by a group of old boys of Wyggeston School as "Leicester Fosse", the club joined the Football Association in 1890. Before moving to Filbert Street in 1891, the club played at five different grounds, including Victoria Park south-east of the city centre and the Belgrave Road Cricket and Bicycle Grounds. The club also joined the Midland League in 1891, and was elected to Division Two of the Football League in 1894 after finishing second. Leicester's first ever Football League game was a 4–3 defeat at Grimsby Town, with a first League win the following week, against Rotherham United at Filbert Street. The same season also saw the club's largest win to date, a 13–0 victory over Notts Olympic in an FA Cup qualifying game. In 1907–08 the club finished as Second Division runners-up, gaining promotion to the First Division, the highest level of English football. However, the club were relegated after a single season which included the club's record defeat, a 12–0 loss against Nottingham Forest.
In 1919, when League football resumed after World War I, Leicester Fosse ceased trading due to financial difficulties of which little is known. The club was reformed as "Leicester City Football Club", particularly appropriate as the borough of Leicester had recently been given city status. Following the name change, the club enjoyed moderate success in the 1920s; under the management of Peter Hodge, who left in May 1926 to be replaced two months later by Willie Orr, and with record goalscorer Arthur Chandler in the side, they won the Division Two title in 1924–25 and recorded their highest ever league finish in 1928–29 as runners-up by a single point to Sheffield Wednesday. However the 1930s saw a downturn in fortunes, with the club relegated in 1934–35 and, after promotion in 1936–37, another relegation in 1938–39 would see them finish the decade in Division Two.
City reached the FA Cup final for the first time in their history in 1949, losing 3–1 to Wolverhampton Wanderers. However, the club was celebrating a week later when a draw on the last day of the season ensured survival in Division Two. Leicester won the Division Two championship in 1954, with the help of Arthur Rowley, one of the club's most prolific strikers. Although they were relegated from Division One the next season, under Dave Halliday they returned in 1957, with Rowley scoring a club record 44 goals in one season. Leicester remained in Division One until 1969, their longest period ever in the top flight.
Under the management of Matt Gillies and his assistant Bert Johnson, Leicester reached the FA Cup final on another two occasions, but lost in both 1961 and 1963. As they lost to double winners Tottenham in 1961, they were England's representatives in the 1961–62 European Cup Winners' Cup. In the 1962–63 season, the club led the First Division during the winter, thanks to a sensational run of form on icy and frozen pitches the club became nicknamed the "Ice Kings" eventually placed fourth, the club's best post-war finish. Gillies guided Leicester to their first piece of silverware in 1964, when Leicester beat Stoke 4–3 on aggregate to win the League Cup for the first time. Leicester also reached the League Cup final the following year, but lost 3–2 on aggregate to Chelsea. Gillies and Johnson became hugely influential on English football for their version of the "whirl" and the "switch" system which utterly upset the traditional 1–11 formations in England. After a bad start to the season, Matt Gillies resigned in November 1968. His successor, Frank O'Farrell was unable to prevent relegation, but the club reached the FA Cup final in 1969 for the last time to date, losing to Manchester City 1–0.
In 1971, Leicester were promoted back to Division One, and won the Charity Shield for the only time. Unusually, due to Double (association football) winners Arsenal's commitments in European competition, Division Two winners Leicester were invited to play FA Cup runners up Liverpool, beating them 1–0. Jimmy Bloomfield was appointed for the new season, and his team remained in the First Division for his tenure. No period since Bloomfield has seen the club remain in the top division for so long. Leicester reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1973–74.
Frank McLintock, a noted player for seven years for Leicester successful period from the late Fifties to the mid Sixties, succeeded Jimmy Bloomfield in 1977. City was relegated at the end of the 1977–78 season and McLintock resigned. Jock Wallace resumed the tradition of successful Scottish managers (after Peter Hodge and Matt Gillies) by steering Leicester to the Division Two championship in 1980. Unfortunately, Wallace was unable to keep Leicester in Division One, but they reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1982. Under Wallace, one of City's most famous home-grown players, Gary Lineker, emerged into the first team squad. Leicester's next manager was Gordon Milne, who achieved promotion in 1983. Lineker helped Leicester maintain their place in the First Division but was sold to Everton in 1985 and two years later Leicester were relegated, having failed to find a suitable replacement to partner Alan Smith, who was sold to Arsenal after Leicester went down.
Milne left in 1986 and was replaced in 1987 by David Pleat, who was sacked in January 1991 with Leicester in danger of relegation to the Third Division. Gordon Lee was put in charge of the club until the end of the season. Leicester won their final game of the season, which guided them clear of relegation to the third tier of the football league.
Brian Little took over in 1991 and by the end of the 1991–92 season Leicester had reached the playoff final for a place in the new FA Premier League, but lost to Blackburn Rovers and a penalty from former Leicester striker Mike Newell. The club also reached the playoff final the following year, losing 4–3 to Swindon Town, having come back from 3–0 down. In 1993–94 City were promoted from the playoffs, beating Derby County 2–1 in the final. Little quit as Leicester manager the following November to take charge at Aston Villa, and his successor Mark McGhee was unable to save Leicester from finishing second from bottom in the 1994–95 season. McGhee left the club unexpectedly in December 1995 whilst Leicester were top of Division One to take charge of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
McGhee was replaced by Martin O'Neill. Under O'Neill, Leicester qualified for the 1995–96 Division One promotion playoffs and beat Crystal Palace 2–1 with a last-gasp Steve Claridge goal securing an immediate return to the Premiership. Following promotion, Leicester established themselves in the Premiership with four successive top ten finishes. O'Neill ended Leicester's 33-year wait for a major trophy, winning the League Cup twice, in 1997 and 2000, and Leicester were runners-up in 1999. Thus the club qualified for the UEFA Cup in 1997–98 and 2000–01, the club's first European competition since 1961. In June 2000, O'Neill was lured to Celtic.
O'Neill was replaced by former England U-21 coach Peter Taylor. During this time, Leicester's most recent European appearance ended in a 3–1 defeat to Red Star Belgrade on 28 September 2000 in the 2001 UEFA Cup. Leicester began well under Taylor's management, topping the Premier League for two weeks in the autumn and remaining in contention for a European place for most of the campaign, before a late season collapse dragged them down to a 13th-place finish.
Taylor was sacked after a terrible start to the 2001–02 season, and his successor Dave Bassett lasted just six months before being succeeded by his assistant Micky Adams, the change of management being announced just before relegation was confirmed. Leicester won just five league games all season.
Leicester moved into the new 32,500-seat Walkers Stadium at the start of the 2002–03 season, ending 111 years at Filbert Street. Walkers, the Leicestershire-based crisp manufacturers, acquired the naming rights for a ten-year period. In October 2002, the club went into administration with debts of £30 million. Some of the reasons were the loss of TV money (ITV Digital, itself in administration, had promised money to First Division clubs for TV rights), the large wage bill, lower than expected fees for players transferred to other clubs and the £37 million cost of the new stadium. Adams was banned from the transfer market for most of the season, even after the club was rescued by a takeover by a consortium led by Gary Lineker. Adams guided Leicester to runners-up spot in Division One and automatic promotion back to the Premiership with more than 90 points. Leicester only lasted one season in the top flight and were relegated to the newly labelled Championship, previously known as Division One.
When Adams resigned as manager in October 2004 Craig Levein was appointed boss. This would prove to be an unsuccessful period and after 15 months in charge Levein was sacked, having failed to get the Foxes anywhere near the promotion places. Assistant manager Rob Kelly, took over as caretaker manager, and after winning three out of four games was appointed to see out the rest of the season. Kelly steered Leicester to safety and in April 2006 was given the manager's job on a permanent basis.
In October 2006, ex-Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandarić was quoted as saying he was interested in buying the club, reportedly at a price of around £6 million with the current playing squad valued at roughly £4.2 million. The takeover was formally announced on 13 February 2007. On 11 April 2007, Rob Kelly was sacked as manager and Nigel Worthington appointed as caretaker manager until the end of the season. Worthington saved the club from relegation, but was not offered the job on a permanent basis. On 25 May 2007 the club announced former MK Dons manager Martin Allen as their new manager with a three-year contract. Allen's relationship with Mandarić became tense and after only four games Allen left by mutual consent on 29 August 2007. On 13 September 2007, Mandarić announced Gary Megson as the new manager of the club, citing Megson's "wealth of experience" as a deciding factor in the appointment. However, Megson left on 24 October 2007 after only six weeks in charge, following an approach made for his services by Bolton Wanderers. Mandarić placed Frank Burrows and Gerry Taggart in the shared position as caretaker managers until a professional manager was appointed.
On 22 November, Ian Holloway was appointed manager. Holloway made history when he became the first Leicester manager in over 50 years to win his first league game in charge, beating Bristol City 2–0. Despite this, Leicester were relegated from the Championship at the end of the 2007–08 season after drawing 0–0 with Stoke City, marking the 2008–09 season as Leicester's first season outside the top two tiers of English football. Their fall from grace would also see Holloway leave by mutual consent after less than a season at the club, being replaced by Nigel Pearson. The club returned to the Championship at the first attempt, finishing as champions of League One after a 2–0 win at Southend United with 2 games in hand. The 2009–2010 season saw Leicester's revival under Pearson continue, as the club finished 5th and reached the Championship play-offs in their first season back in the second tier. Though after a battling performance coming from 2–0 down on aggregate, away to Cardiff City, to briefly lead 3–2, they eventually lost to a penalty shoot-out in the play-off semi-final. On Tuesday 29 June 2010, it was confirmed that Nigel Pearson had left Leicester to become the manager of Hull City because he felt that the club seemed reluctant to keep him, and that Paulo Sousa had been the club's guest at both play-off games, hinting at a possible replacement. On Wednesday 7 July 2010, Paulo Sousa was confirmed as Pearson's replacement.
In August 2010, following agreement on a three-year shirt sponsorship deal with duty-free retailers the King Power Group, Mandarić sold the club to a Thai-led consortium named Asian Football Investments (AFI) fronted by King Power Group's Vichai Raksriaksorn. Mandarić, an investor in AFI, was retained as club chairman. On 1 October 2010, after a poor start that saw Leicester bottom of the Championship with only one win out of the first 9 league games, Paulo Sousa was sacked by the club with immediate effect. Two days later, Sven-Göran Eriksson, who had been approached by the club after the 6–1 loss to then bottom-of-the-table Portsmouth two weeks earlier, was appointed as his replacement, signing a two-year contract with the club. On 10 February 2011, Vichai Raksriaksorn, part of the Thai-based Asia Football Investments consortium, was appointed new chairman of the club after Mandarić left in November to take over Sheffield Wednesday.
Leicester were viewed as one of the favourites for promotion in the 2011–12 season, but on 24 October 2011, following an inconsistent start with the Foxes winning just 5 out of their first 13 games, Sven-Göran Eriksson left the club by mutual consent. Three weeks later, on 15 November 2011, Nigel Pearson was confirmed to be returning to the club as Eriksson's successor. Pearson would go on to lead The Foxes to a 6th-place finish in the 2012–2013 season, ensuring Leicester City were in the Championship play off's after a last gasp 3–2 away win at local rivals Nottingham Forest. However they would go on to lose out in the play off semi final 3–2 on aggregate to Watford after Anthony Knockaert missed a late penalty and Troy Deeney scored right at the end after a swift counterattack from a Manuel Almunia double save.
In April 2014, a 2–1 win over Sheffield Wednesday, combined with losses by Queens Park Rangers and Derby County, allowed Leicester City to clinch a promotion to the Premier League after a 10-year absence. Later that month, a win at Bolton saw Leicester become the champions of the 2013-14 Football League Championship – the seventh time they had been champions of England's second tier.
Leicester started their first season in the Premier League since 2004 with a good run of results in their first five league games starting with a 2–2 draw on the opening day against Everton. The Foxes then claimed their first Premier League win since May 2004, with a 1–0 win at Stoke City. On 21 September 2014, Leicester went on to produce one of the greatest comebacks in Premier League history to beat Manchester United 5–3 at the King Power Stadium after coming back from 3–1 down with 30 minutes left to score four goals. They also made Premier League history by becoming the first team to beat United from a two-goal deficit since its launch in 1992.
Afterwards though, a dismal run of form saw the team slip to the bottom of the league table with only 19 points from 29 games by April 3rd, and 7 points adrift from safety. It seemed that an immediate return to the Championship was on the cards, but an amazing turn of fortune, with 7 wins from their final 9 league games, meant that the Foxes finished the season in 14th place with 41 points. They finished the season with a 5–1 thrashing of relegated Queens Park Rangers. This completed, mathematically, the best escape from relegation ever seen in the Premier League as no team with less than 20 points from 29 games had previously stayed up. They also became only the third team in Premier League history to survive after being bottom at Christmas (others were West Brom in 2005 and Sunderland in 2014).
On 30 June 2015, however, Pearson was sacked with the club stating that "the working relationship between Nigel and the Board is no longer viable." The sacking was linked to his son James' role in a racist sex tape made by three Leicester City reserve players in Thailand during a post-season tour. Leicester City reacted swiftly by appointing former Chelsea and Greece manager Claudio Ranieri as their new manager for the new 2015–16 Premier League season. Under Ranieri the club made an exceptional start to the season. By 21 November, they were one point clear at the top of the Premier League and were the Premier League's leading goalscorers.
Colours, crest and traditions
The club's home colours of royal blue and white have been used for the team's kits throughout most of its history. The first sponsorship logo to appear on a Leicester shirt was that of Ind Coope in 1983. British snack food manufacturer Walkers Crisps held a long association with the club, sponsoring them from 1987 to 2001.
An image of a fox was first incorporated into the club crest in 1948, as Leicestershire is known for foxes and fox hunting. This is the origin of the nickname "The Foxes". The club mascot is a character called "Filbert Fox". There are also secondary characters "Vickie Vixen" and "Cousin Dennis". The current shirt badge has been used since 1992. In the 2009–10 season which was the 125th year anniversary the home kit featured no sponsor and a new central crest with "125 Years" below. The crest was slightly changed, this change included the fox in the crest to have a white area under its nose. The circles in the crest were also moved around.
In another reference Leicestershire's tradition of hunting, the club adopted the 'Post Horn Gallop' in 1941, although the origin is a 19th-century coachman's tune to signal mail was arriving. It was played over the PA system as the teams came out of the tunnel at all home games. However, the club since replaced it with a jazzed-up modern version, although now it is played live on pitch before the teams emerge from the tunnel.
The club's official anthem 'When You're Smiling' can also be heard at both home and away matches.
|Period||Kit Sponsor||Shirt Sponsor|
|2000–2001||Le Coq Sportif|
|2003–2005||Alliance & Leicester|
|2009–2010||Joma||Jessops (rear of home shirt)
Loros (away shirt only)
In their early years, Leicester played at numerous grounds, but have only played at two since they joined the Football League. When first starting out they played on a field by the Fosse Road, hence the original name Leicester Fosse. They moved from there to Victoria Park, and subsequently to Belgrave Road. Upon turning professional the club moved to Mill Lane. After eviction from Mill Lane the club played at the County Cricket ground while seeking a new ground. The club secured the use of an area of ground by Filbert Street, and moved there in 1891.
Some improvements by noted football architect Archibald Leitch occurred in the Edwardian era, and in 1927 a new two tier stand was built, named the Double Decker, a name it would keep till the ground's closure in 2002. The ground wasn't developed any further, apart from compulsory seating being added, till 1993 when work began on the new Carling Stand. The stand was impressive while the rest of the ground was untouched since at least the 1920s; this led manager Martin O'Neill to say he used to "lead new signings out backwards" so they only saw the Carling Stand.
The club moved away from Filbert Street in 2002 to a new 32,500 all-seater stadium. The stadium was originally named Filbert Way and later renamed to Walkers Stadium in a deal with food manufacturers Walkers whose brand logo can be found at various points around the outside of the stadium. The first match the Walkers hosted was a friendly against Athletic Bilbao, the game was drawn 1–1 with Tiko of Bilbao being the first scorer at the stadium and Jordan Stewart being the first City player to score, and the first competitive match was a 2–0 victory against Watford. The stadium has since hosted an England international against Serbia and Montenegro which finished 2–1 to England, as well as internationals between Brazil and Jamaica, and Jamaica and Ghana. More recently the stadium has been used to host the Heineken Cup European Rugby semi finals for the Leicester Tigers rugby club, itself based within a mile of the Walkers Stadium.
On 19 August 2010, it emerged that the new owners King Power wanted to rename the stadium The King Power Stadium, and had plans to increase the capacity to 42,000 should Leicester secure promotion. On 7 July 2011, Leicester City confirmed that the Walkers Stadium would now be known as the King Power Stadium.
The King Power Stadium has also honoured past greats of the club, by naming suites and lounges inside the stadium after the club's former players Gordon Banks, Adam Black, Arthur Chandler, Gary Lineker, Arthur Rowley, Sep Smith, Keith Weller and former manager Jimmy Bloomfield.
Leicester City have a very good set of supporters with a large fan base. According to attendance stats for the 2013–14 football season, Leicester were rated as having the 3rd best home support, and 4th best away support in the whole of the football league. In recent years, the biggest away following was at an FA Cup match against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground in 2012. 8,000 travelling Foxes fans went to the match, with the scoreline finishing 0–0. A vast majority of Leicester's home and away matches also sell out.
Famous supporters of the club include Engelbert Humperdinck, Former City and England striker and Match of the Day presenter, Gary Lineker, Football League Show and Late Kick Off presenter, Manish Bhasin, Gary Newbon, Kasabian members, Tom Meighan and Serge Pizzorno, singer and The X Factor winner Sam Bailey, as well as actors John Leguizamo, Thomas Law and David Neilson.
- Main articles: Leicester City F.C. and Nottingham Forest F.C. rivalry, Derby County F.C. and Leicester City F.C. rivalry, M69 derby
Despite being based in the West Midlands, Leicester's other rivals in more recent years have been Coventry City, who are based just 24 miles away. The game between the two clubs has become known as the 'M69 derby' taking its name from the motorway connecting the two cities.
|Season||Competition||Round||Club||1st Leg||2nd Leg||Aggregate|
|1961–62||European Cup Winners' Cup||PR||Glenavon||4–1||3–1||7–2|
|1997–98||UEFA Cup||1R||Atlético Madrid||1–2||0–2||1–4|
|2000–01||UEFA Cup||1R||Red Star Belgrade||1–1||1–3||2–4|
- PR: Preliminary round
- 1R: First round
- English second tier (currently Football League Championship)
- War League South
- Champions (1): 1942
- Midland War Cup
- Winners (1): 1941
Up until Peter Hodge was hired after World War I, the club had no official manager. A nominal role of secretary/manager was employed, though the board and the selection committee took control of most team affairs. It was Hodge who instated a system at the club for the manager having complete control over player and staff recruitment, team selection and tactics. Though Hodge was originally also titled "secretary/manager" he has retrospectively been named as the club's first official "manager".
Leicester have had a total of 9 permanent secretary/managers and 34 permanent managers (not including caretakers). Nigel Pearson and Peter Hodge have both had two separate spells in charge the club. Dave Bassett also had a second spell as caretaker manager after his spell as permanent manager. Listed below is Leicester's complete managerial history (permanent managers and secretary/managers only, caretakers are not included).
Records & statistics
Graham Cross holds the record for the most Leicester appearances, with the defender playing 599 games between 1960–1976, although Adam Black holds the record for the most appearances in the league with 528 between 1920–1935.
Striker Arthur Chandler is currently the club's all-time record goal scorer, netting 273 in his 12 years at the club; he also found the net in 8 consecutive matches in the 1924–25 season. The most goals managed in a single season for the club is 44 by Arthur Rowley, in the 1956–57 season. The fastest goal in the club's history was scored by Matty Fryatt, when he netted after just nine seconds against Preston North End in April 2006.
The record transfer fee paid by Leicester City for a player was at an estimated £9 million for HNK Rijeka striker Andrej Kramarić with second highest being that for Leonardo Ulloa, also a striker, from Brighton & Hove Albion.
The club's record attendance is 47,298 against Tottenham Hotspur at Filbert Street, in a fifth round FA Cup clash in 1928. The highest league record at their current home, the King Power Stadium, is 32,148 for a competitive match against Newcastle United on 26 December 2003. However, the highest ever attendance of 32,188, was seen at a pre-season friendly against Spanish giants Real Madrid on 30 July 2011.
Leicester's longest ever unbeaten run in the league was between 1 November 2008 and 7 March 2009, to which they remained unbeaten for 23 games on their way to the League One title. Their longest run of consecutive victories in the league is 9, which they achieved between 21 December 2013 and 1 February 2014.
Since their election to the football league in 1894 Leicester have spent much of their history yo-yoing between the top two tiers in English football. Leicester have played outside the top two tiers only once in their history to date: during the 2008–09 season they played in League One, the third tier of English football, after relegation from the Championship the season prior, but were promptly promoted back as champions. Leicester have never played lower than the third tier of English football.
L1 = Level 1 of the football league system; L2 = Level 2 of the football league system; L3 = Level 3 of the football league system.
- Seasons spent at Level 1 of the football league system: 48
- Seasons spent at Level 2 of the football league system: 62
- Seasons spent at Level 3 of the football league system: 1
- Seasons spent at Level 4 of the football league system: 0
(up to and including 2015-16)
- As of 15 August 2015
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Development squad players with registered numbers
- As of 15 August 2015
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
For a list of notable past players in searchable-table format see List of Leicester City F.C. players
For a list of all Leicester City players with a Wikipedia article see Category:Leicester City F.C. players
Player of the Year
Leicester City's Player of the Year award is voted for by the club's supporters at the end of every season.
English Hall of Fame members
The following have played for Leicester and have been inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame:
Football League 100 Legends
The Football League 100 Legends is a list of "100 legendary football players" produced by The Football League in 1998, to celebrate the 100th season of League football. It also included Premier League players, and the following former Leicester City players were included:
World Cup players
The following players have been selected by their country in the World Cup Finals, while playing for Leicester.
Players with over 300 appearances for Leicester
Players with over 50 goals for Leicester
Personnel honours & awards
European Footballer of the Year nominee
The following players have been nominated for the Ballon d'Or award for European footballer of the year (World footballer of the year since 1995) while playing for Leicester:
English Golden Boot
The following players have won the English Golden Boot for being the country's top goalscorer, while at Leicester (Note: This applies only to players playing in the top tier of English football):
English Second Division Golden Boot
The following players have won the golden boot for being the top goalscorer in the second tier of English football while at Leicester:
Football League Awards Player of the Year
The following players have been named the best player in their division in the Football League Awards while at Leicester:
LMA Manager of the Year
The following managers have been named the LMA Manager of the Year in their division while at Leicester:
PFA Team of the Year
The following players have been named the PFA Team of the Year while at Leicester: