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Leicester City F.C.

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Leicester City crest.svg
Full name Leicester City Football Club
Nickname(s) The Foxes, (The Blues, City [locally]), trad. The Filberts
Founded 1884; 132 years ago (1884)
(as Leicester Fosse FC)
Ground King Power Stadium
Ground Capacity 32,312[1]
Owner King Power International Group
Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha
Manager Claudio Ranieri
League Premier League
2015–16 Premier League, 1st (champions)
Website Club home page
Current season

Leicester City Football Club (/ˌlɛstər ˈsɪti/), also known as the Foxes, is an English professional football club based at the King Power Stadium in Leicester.[2] They play in the Premier League, having been promoted as champions of the Football League Championship in 2013–14. This signaled a return to the top flight of English football after a decade away.

The club was founded in 1884 as Leicester Fosse F.C.,[3] playing on a field near Fosse Road. They moved to Filbert Street in 1891, were elected to the Football League in 1894 and adopted the name Leicester City in 1919. They moved to the nearby Walkers Stadium in 2002,[4] which was renamed the King Power Stadium after a change of ownership in 2011.

Leicester won the 2015–16 Premier League, their first top-level football championship. By some measures it was the greatest sporting upset ever: multiple bookmakers had never paid out at such long odds for any sport.[5][6][7] Their previous highest ever finish was second place in the top flight, in Division One in 1928–29. Throughout Leicester's history, they have spent all but one season within the top two tiers of English football. The club holds a joint-highest seven second-tier titles (six Second Division and one Championship).

The club have been FA Cup finalists four times, in 1948-49, 1960-61, 1962-63 and 1968-69. This is a tournament record for the most defeats in the final without having won the competition. City have several promotions to their name, two play off final wins, and one League One title. In 1971, they won the FA Community Shield, and in 2016, they were runners up. They have also won the League Cup three times in 1964, 1997 & 2000, as well as being runners up in 1964-65 & 1999. Leicester will make their UEFA Champions League debut in 2016–17, their fourth appearance in European football.

History[edit]

The Leicester Fosse team of 1892

Founding[edit]

Formed in 1884 by a group of old boys of Wyggeston School as "Leicester Fosse", the club joined the Football Association in 1890.[8] 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.[9] The club also joined the Midland League in 1891, and were 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.[3] 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.[3][10]

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,[11] they won the Division Two title in 1924–25[12] and recorded their second-highest league finish in 1928–29 as runners-up by a single point to Sheffield Wednesday.[8] However the 1930s saw a downturn in fortunes, with the club relegated in 1934–35[13] and, after promotion in 1936–37,[14] another relegation in 1938–39 would see them finish the decade in Division Two.[3][15]

Historical league positions of Leicester City in the Football League

Post-World War II[edit]

City reached the FA Cup final for the first time in their history in 1949,[3][16] 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.[17][18] Leicester won the Division Two championship in 1954,[19] 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,[20] with Rowley scoring a club record 44 goals in one season.[11] Leicester remained in Division One until 1969,[21] 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.[3] 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.[3] Leicester also reached the League Cup final the following year, but lost 3–2 on aggregate to Chelsea. Gillies and Johnson received praise for their version of the "whirl" and the "switch" system, a system that had previously been used by the Austrian and Hungarian national teams.[22] 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.

Robbie Savage in action against Barnsley during the 1997–98 season.

In 1971, Leicester were promoted back to Division One, and won the Charity Shield for the only time.[3] 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[3] thanks to a goal by Steve Whitworth.[23] 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.[24]

Frank McLintock, a noted player for seven years for Leicester in a successful period from the late Fifties to the mid Sixties, succeeded Jimmy Bloomfield in 1977. City were 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.[25] 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.[3]

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.[3] 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 the First Division to take charge of Wolverhampton Wanderers.[26] McGhee was replaced by Martin O'Neill.[3] Under O'Neill, Leicester qualified for the 1996 Football League play-offs and beat Crystal Palace 2–1 in the final through a 120th minute Steve Claridge goal to gain promotion to the Premier League. Following promotion, Leicester established themselves in the Premier League 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 left Leicester City to take over as manager of Celtic.

Decline in the early 21st Century[edit]

O'Neill was replaced by former England U-21 coach Peter Taylor. During this time, one of Leicester's European appearances ended in a 3–1 defeat to Red Star Belgrade on 28 September 2000 in the 2001 UEFA Cup.[27] 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.

The East Stand, King Power Stadium

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.[28] 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.[29] Adams was banned from the transfer market for most of the season, even after the club was rescued with a takeover by a consortium led by Gary Lineker.[3] 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.[3]

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.[30] 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.

Pearson and Mandarić after winning the Football League One title.

On 22 November, Ian Holloway was appointed manager, and he became the first Leicester manager in over 50 years to win his first league game in charge, beating Bristol City 2–0.[31] This initial success did not last, and Leicester were relegated from the Championship at the end of the 2007–08 season.

2009–2016: Third tier to English Champions[edit]

2008–09 was Leicester's first ever season outside the top two levels of English football, but the appointment of Nigel Pearson to replace Holloway, who left by mutual consent a few weeks after relegation was confirmed, sparked a rebuilding of the club that would culminate in the fastest rise to the peak of the English football league system since Ipswich Town F.C. in 1962.[32] Leicester returned to the Championship league at the first attempt, finishing as champions of League One after a 2–0 win at Southend United, with two games in hand. The 2009–2010 season saw Leicester's revival under Pearson continue, as the club finished fifth and reached the Championship play-offs in their first season back in the second tier. Though 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. At the end of the season Pearson left Leicester to become the manager of Hull City, claiming that 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, Sousa was confirmed as Pearson's replacement.[33]

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 Thai-led consortium Asian Football Investments (AFI) fronted by King Power Group's Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.[34] Mandarić, an investor in AFI,[35] was retained as club chairman.[36] 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.[37] 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.[38] 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.[39]

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.[40] Three weeks later Nigel Pearson returned 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 offs. Leicester lost the playoff semifinal 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.[41]

In 2014, Leicester's march up the league system hit a breakthrough. Their 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. 5 May 2014 saw 35,000 fans in Leicester line the streets for a parade, in celebration of the team's success.[42]

2014 Return to Premier League[edit]

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.[43] The Foxes then claimed their first Premier League win since May 2004, with a 1–0 win at Stoke City.[44] 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 the league's launch in 1992.[45]

Jamie Vardy broke the Premier League record for consecutive games scored in, by scoring 13 goals in 11 games for Leicester in 2015.

During the 2014–15 season, a dismal run of form saw the team slip to the bottom of the league table with only 19 points from 29 games. By 3 April 2015 they were 7 points adrift from safety. This could have brought a sudden end to Leicester's seven-year rise, but seven wins from their final nine 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. Their upturn in results was described as one of the Premier League's greatest ever escapes from relegation.[46][47] They also became only the third team in Premier League history to survive after being bottom at Christmas (the others were West Brom in 2005 and Sunderland in 2014), and no team with fewer than 20 points from 29 games had previously stayed up.

2015–16 Premier League champions[edit]

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 a number of PR issues involving Pearson throughout the season, with the final straw involving his son James' role in a racist sex tape made by three Leicester City reserve players in Thailand during a post-season goodwill tour.[48][49][50] Leicester City reacted by appointing former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri as their new manager for the new 2015–16 Premier League season.[51] Under Ranieri, the club made an exceptional start to the season. Striker Jamie Vardy scored 13 goals over 11 consecutive games from August to November, breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy's Premier League record of scoring in 10 consecutive games.[52] On 19 December, Leicester defeated Everton 3–2 at Goodison Park to top the Premier League on Christmas Day, having been bottom exactly 12 months earlier.[53] A 2–0 victory at Sunderland on 10 April, coupled with Tottenham's 3–0 win over Manchester United, ensured Leicester's qualification for the Champions League for the first time in their history.[54]

The usual starting line-up of the Premier League winning team [55]

Leicester won the Premier League on 2 May 2016, after Tottenham Hotspur failed to secure a win against Chelsea after only drawing the match 2–2.[56][57] This completed the fastest seven-year rise to the title except for Ipswich Town in 1962, and Leicester faced a far more unequal top tier than Ipswich did back then.[32][58] Nottingham Forest also won the title in 1978 in their first season after promotion. Bookmakers thought Leicester's victory was so unlikely that Ladbrokes and William Hill offered odds of 5,000-1 for it at the start of the season. Neither bookmaker had ever paid out such long odds, and the trophy resulted in the largest payout in British sporting history with total winnings of £25 million.[59][60][61] The scale of the surprise attracted global attention for the club and the city of Leicester.[62][63] The Economist declared it would be 'pored over for management lessons'.[64] Several commentators have viewed it as an inspiration to other clubs and as fundamentally transforming the expectations similar sized clubs face in English football.[65] The Executive Chairman of the Premier League, Richard Scudamore, pointed out, 'if this was a once in every 5,000 year event, then we've effectively got another 5,000 years of hope ahead of us'.[66] A film has even been planned of the story, centred on Jamie Vardy.[67] On 16 May 2016, over 240,000 Leicester City fans turned out on the streets of Leicester and Victoria Park to celebrate their team's historic achievement.[68]
Just ahead of the opening match of the 2016-2017 season, Ranieri cautioned against excessive hope of City retaining the title arguing that the other clubs now understood Leicester's break tactics. His principle objective, as last season, was to avoid relegation. He also warned against overconfidence against relegation favourites -by implication their next opponents newly promoted Hull City.[69] His view on Leicester's chances were shared by Gary Lineker who said that Kante had been Leicester's most important player and essential to Ranieri's system.[70]

Colours, crest and traditions[edit]

Leicester City's first home colours worn from 1884 to 1886.
This shirt, worn in 1948, was the first to bear a club badge.

The club's home colours of royal blue and white have been used for the team's kits throughout most of its history.[71] 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.

The Leicester City badge before its revision in 2009 worn from 1992.
Leicester City's badge for the 2009–10 season to commemorate 125 years as a football club.

An image of a fox was first incorporated into the club crest in 1948, as Leicestershire is known for foxes and fox hunting.[72] 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". On 11 June 2016, the club announced they were looking for young supporters to design a new mascot, to be alongside "Filbert Fox" at home games.[73] The current shirt badge has been used since 1992 and features a fox's head overlaid onto a Cinquefoil, the Cinquefoil is similar to the one used on the coat of arms of Leicester. In the 2009–10 season which was the 125th 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.[74]

In 1941, the club adopted the playing of the Post Horn Galop prior to home matches.[75] It was played over the PA system as the teams came out of the tunnel at all home games. The club since replaced it with a modern version, which is now played as teams emerge for the second half. For the first half, the post horn has been played live on pitch by Paul Hing since 2009.[76] 'Foxes Never Quit' is the club's motto, which is placed above the tunnel entrance as the teams head out onto the pitch.

8 July 2016 saw the club launch their new 3rd away kit for the 2016-17 Premier League season. It will feature in their 2016-17 UEFA Champions League campaign, and will also be in use for Leicester's debut match in the competition. The design took inspiration from the 1983/84 kit, and boasts a clean white design with thin blue pinstripes on the shirt, as well as a textured form stripe design across both the shirt and shorts.

Kit manufacturers and sponsors[edit]

Since 2012 Leicester City's kit has been manufactured by Puma.[77] Previous manufacturers have included Bukta (1962–64, 1990–92), Admiral (1976–79, 1983–88), Umbro (1979–83), Scoreline (1988–90), Fox Leisure (1992–2000), Le Coq Sportif (2000–05), JJB (2005–07), Jako (2007–09), Joma (2009–10), and Burrda (2010–12).[78] The current shirt sponsors are King Power, a company also owned by the club's owners. 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. Other sponsors have included John Bull (1986–87), LG (2001–03), Alliance & Leicester (2003–07), Topps Tiles (2007–09), Jessops (2009–10), and Loros (2009–10).

Stadium[edit]

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,[79] 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.[79] 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.[79]

The "Double Decker" Stand at Filbert Street

Some improvements by noted football architect Archibald Leitch occurred in the Edwardian era, and in 1927 a new two tier stand was built,[79] 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.[80]

The club moved away from Filbert Street in 2002 to a new 32,500 all-seater stadium.[81] The stadium was originally named Walkers Stadium in a deal with food manufacturers Walkers, whose brand logo used to be found at various points around the outside of the stadium.[82] 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,[83] and the first competitive match was a 2–0 victory against Watford.[84] 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. 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 King Power Stadium.

The King Power Stadium, formerly known as the Walker's Stadium, has been Leicester's home ground since 2002

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.[85] On 7 July 2011, Leicester City confirmed that the Walkers Stadium would now be known as the King Power Stadium. In 2015, vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha stated that plans were in place to increase the capacity of the stadium to around 42,000.[86] Relocation to a bigger stadium has also been considered.[87]

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.[88]

Support[edit]

The club's anthem is When You're Smiling. The supporters, who are often referred to as the Blue Army, travel in numbers both home and away to watch their team. According to Football League attendance statistics, the 2009-10 season showed Leicester had the 3rd best home & away support in the Championship. In the same league two seasons later, the 2011-12 campaign showed Leicester had the 3rd best home support, and the 4th best away support. 2013-14 showed to have the same attendance figures as 2011-12.[89][90] As a result of the attendance data, it means the club, within a five-year period before Premier League promotion, were consistently in the top five of the most well followed clubs home and away out of all three Football League divisions.

At home matches, Leicester have gained notability for their passionate crowd & vocal atmosphere.[91][92] Since 2010, their 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.[93] Since City moved to their new stadium in 2002 following the exit of Filbert Street, average home gates have never dropped below 20,000, even when they were relegated to League One in 2008 for the first time in the club's history.

The club have several supporter groups in England,[94] and alongside the support in the UK, Leicester City also have fans around the world. Since being bought by the King Power group in 2011, Leicester have developed a following in Thailand, the home of their owners,[95] and in Algeria, the nation of 2015–16 title winner Riyad Mahrez.[96] In Thailand, Singha Corporation is an Official Club Partner. Leicester also have a good following in New York, USA. So much so, that there is a dedicated supporter group called The New York Foxes, where fans of the club can gather together to support the team for both home and away matches. The group were established in 2011, and have been featured on UK media.[97][98][99]

Rival clubs[edit]

Main articles: Leicester City F.C. and Nottingham Forest F.C. rivalry, Derby County F.C. and Leicester City F.C. rivalry, M69 derby

Leicester fans consider Nottingham Forest to be their main rivals. The club's other rivals are Derby County. An East Midlands Derby is any match involving two of these three clubs.[100]

Leicester also have a rivalry with Coventry City, 24 miles away. The game between the two clubs has become known as the M69 derby after the motorway connecting the two cities.[101]

European record[edit]

Leicester score first, to the left. Opposition score to the right.

Season Competition Round Club 1st Leg 2nd Leg Aggregate
1961–62 European Cup Winners' Cup PR Northern Ireland Glenavon 4–1 3–1 7–2
1R Spain Atlético Madrid 1–1 0–2 1–3
1997–98 UEFA Cup 1R Spain Atlético Madrid 1–2 0–2 1–4
2000–01 UEFA Cup 1R Serbia Red Star Belgrade 1–1 1–3 2–4
2016–17 UEFA Champions League GS TBD
TBD
TBD
Notes
  • PR: Preliminary round
  • 1R: First round
  • GS: Group stage

Honours[edit]

Leicester City players lifting the trophy after 2015/16 season.

Domestic competitions[edit]

League[edit]

Cup[edit]

Regional competitions[edit]

Managerial history[edit]

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".[103]

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).[104]

Managers[edit]

(Note: During the 1986–87 season both Gordon Milne and Bryan Hamilton shared managerial duties with Milne assuming the title "General Manager" and Hamilton assuming the title "Team Manager")

Dates Name Notes
1919–1926 Scotland Peter Hodge Football League Second Division Champions 1924–1925
1926–1934 Scotland William Orr
1932–1934 Scotland Peter Hodge
1934–1936 Scotland Arthur Lochhead
1936–1939 England Frank Womack Football League Second Division Champions 1936–37
1939–1945 England Tom Bromilow
1945–1946 England Tom Mather
1946–1949 Scotland Johnny Duncan
1949–1955 England Norman Bullock Football League Second Division Champions 1953–54
1955–1958 Scotland David Halliday Football League Second Division Champions 1956–57
1958–1968 Scotland Matt Gillies Longest serving full manager. Managed the most games in the club's history. Football League Cup Winner 1964
1968–1971 Republic of Ireland Frank O'Farrell Football League Second Division Champions 1970–1971
1971–1977 England Jimmy Bloomfield Charity shields cup 1971.[23]
1977–1978 Scotland Frank McLintock
1978–1982 Scotland Jock Wallace Football League Second Division Champions 1979–80
1982–1986 England Gordon Milne Promoted to the Football League First Division 1982–83
1986–1987 England Gordon Milne and
Northern Ireland Bryan Hamilton
1987 Northern Ireland Bryan Hamilton
1987–1991 England David Pleat
1991–1994 England Brian Little Promoted to the Premier League 1993–94
1994–1995 Scotland Mark McGhee
1995–2000 Northern Ireland Martin O'Neill Promoted to the Premier League 1995–96.
Football League Cup winner 1997 and 2000
2000–2001 England Peter Taylor
2001–2002 England Dave Bassett
2002–2004 England Micky Adams
2004–2006 Scotland Craig Levein
2006–2007 England Rob Kelly
2007 England Martin Allen
2007 England Gary Megson
2007–2008 England Ian Holloway
2008–2010 England Nigel Pearson Football League One Champions 2008–09.
2010 Portugal Paulo Sousa
2010–2011 Sweden Sven-Göran Eriksson
2011–2015 England Nigel Pearson Football League Championship Champions 2013–14.
2015– Italy Claudio Ranieri Premier League Champions 2015–16, Runners Up 2016 FA Community Shield

Records and statistics[edit]

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.[105]

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.[8] The most goals managed in a single season for the club is 44 by Arthur Rowley, in the 1956–57 season.[8] 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.[106] Jamie Vardy broke the Premier League record for most consecutive league games with a goal (11 games) in the 2015/16 season.

The record transfer fee paid by Leicester City for a player was around £16 million for CSKA Moscow striker Ahmed Musa[107] with second highest being that for Nampalys Mendy, a midfielder, from OGC Nice for a fee of around £13 million.[108] The highest transfer fee received for a Leicester City player was approximately £30 million from Chelsea for midfielder N'Golo Kanté.[109]

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, was 32,242 for a competitive match against Sunderland on 8 August 2015. The highest ever attendance for a non-competitive Football game of 32,188, was seen at a pre-season friendly against Spanish giants Real Madrid on 30 July 2011.[110]

Leicester's highest ever league finish is 1st in the Premier League in 2015–16. Their lowest ever league finish was 1st in Football League One in 2008–09. Leicester City are joint equal with Manchester City for having won the most English second tier titles (7). The club has reached four FA Cup finals, yet lost them all.[8] This is the record for the most FA Cup final appearances without winning the trophy.

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.[111] (This was their only ever season in the third tier of English football). Their longest run of consecutive victories in the league is 9, which they achieved between 21 December 2013 and 1 February 2014 (in The Championship).

League history[edit]

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)

Players[edit]

First-team squad[edit]

As of 10 August 2016[112]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Denmark GK Kasper Schmeichel (vice-captain)
2 Spain DF Luis Hernández
3 England DF Ben Chilwell
4 England MF Danny Drinkwater
5 Jamaica DF Wes Morgan (captain)
6 Germany DF Robert Huth
7 Nigeria FW Ahmed Musa
8 England MF Matty James
9 England FW Jamie Vardy
10 Wales MF Andy King
11 England MF Marc Albrighton
13 Ghana MF Daniel Amartey
No. Position Player
14 Poland MF Bartosz Kapustka
15 Ghana DF Jeff Schlupp
17 England DF Danny Simpson
20 Japan FW Shinji Okazaki
21 Germany GK Ron-Robert Zieler
22 England MF Demarai Gray
23 Argentina FW Leonardo Ulloa
24 France MF Nampalys Mendy
26 Algeria MF Riyad Mahrez
27 Poland DF Marcin Wasilewski
28 Austria DF Christian Fuchs

First-team players without designated numbers[edit]

As of 10 August 2016[113]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
England GK Ben Hamer
Tunisia DF Yohan Benalouane
No. Position Player
Switzerland MF Gökhan Inler
Wales FW Tom Lawrence

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Australia DF Callum Elder (at Brentford until the end of the 2016-17 season[114])
England MF Michael Cain (at Blackpool until the end of the 2016-17 season[115])
England MF Hamza Choudhury (at Burton Albion until the end of the 2016-17 season[116])

Academy[edit]

Past players[edit]

Club staff[edit]

As of 8 August 2015 [117][118]

Board Members & Directors
Role Person
Chairman Thailand Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha
Vice Chairman Thailand Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha
Chief Executive Republic of Ireland Susan Whelan
Executive Director Thailand Supornthip Choungrangsee
Executive Director Scotland Malcolm Stewart-Smith
Director of Football England Jon Rudkin
Football Operations Director England Andrew Neville
Finance Director England Simon Capper
Operations Director England Kevin Barclay
First Team Management
Role Person
First Team Manager Italy Claudio Ranieri
Assistant Manager Italy Paolo Benetti
Assistant Manager England Craig Shakespeare
Goalkeeping Coach & First Team Coach England Mike Stowell
Head Scout England David Mills
Academy Director England Jon Rudkin
Head Physiotherapist England Dave Rennie

Player statistics[edit]

Captains[edit]

Dates Name
1987–1992 Scotland Ally Mauchlen
1992–1993 England Steve Walsh
1993–1994 England Gary Mills
1995–1996 England Garry Parker
1996–1999 England Steve Walsh
1999–2005 Scotland Matt Elliott
2005–2006 Australia Danny Tiatto
2006–2007 Republic of Ireland Paddy McCarthy
2007–2008 England Stephen Clemence
2008–2011 England Matt Oakley
2011–2012 England Matt Mills
2012– Jamaica Wes Morgan

Player of the Year[edit]

Leicester City's Player of the Year award is voted for by the club's supporters at the end of every season.[103]

Year Winner
1987–88 England Steve Walsh
1988–89 England Alan Paris
1989–90 England Gary Mills
1990–91 England Tony James
1991–92 England Gary Mills
1992–93 Northern Ireland Colin Hill
1993–94 England Simon Grayson
1994–95 England Kevin Poole
1995–96 England Garry Parker
1996–97 England Simon Grayson
1997–98 Scotland Matt Elliott
1998–99 England Tony Cottee
1999–2000 Northern Ireland Gerry Taggart
2000–01 Wales Robbie Savage
 
Year Winner
2001–02 Wales Robbie Savage
2002–03 Scotland Paul Dickov
2003–04 England Les Ferdinand
2004–05 Australia Danny Tiatto
2005–06 Iceland Joey Guðjónsson
2006–07 Canada Iain Hume
2007–08 England Richard Stearman
2008–09 Scotland Steve Howard
2009–10 England Jack Hobbs
2010–11 England Richie Wellens
2011–12 Denmark Kasper Schmeichel
2012–13 Jamaica Wes Morgan
2013–14 England Danny Drinkwater
2014–15 Argentina Esteban Cambiasso
 
Year Winner
2015–16 Algeria Riyad Mahrez

English Hall of Fame members[edit]

The following have played for Leicester and have been inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame:

Football League 100 Legends[edit]

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.[124] It also included Premier League players, and the following former Leicester City players were included:

World Cup players[edit]

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[edit]

Includes competitive appearances only. Current players in bold.[103][105]

     

Players with 50 or more goals for Leicester[edit]

Includes competitive appearances only. Current players in bold.[103][125][126]

     

Personnel honours and awards[edit]

European Footballer of the Year nominee[edit]

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:

PFA Player of the Year[edit]

The following players have been named the PFA Player of the Year whilst playing for Leicester:

FWA Footballer of the Year[edit]

The following players have been named the FWA Footballer of the Year whilst playing for Leicester:

English Golden Boot[edit]

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[edit]

The following players have won the golden boot for being the top goalscorer in the second tier of English football while at Leicester:[131]

Football League Awards Player of the Year[edit]

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[edit]

The following managers have been named the LMA Manager of the Year or won their division award while at Leicester:

PFA Team of the Year[edit]

The following players have been named the PFA Team of the Year while at Leicester:

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Further reading[edit]

  • Dave Smith and Paul Taylor, Of Fossils and Foxes: The Official Definitive History of Leicester City Football Club (2001) (ISBN 978-1-899538-21-8)
  • Dave Smith and Paul Taylor, The Foxes Alphabet: Complete Who's Who of Leicester City Football Club (1995) (ISBN 978-1-899538-06-5)
  • Leicester City FC, The Official History of Leicester City Football Club DVD (2003) (Out of print)
  • John Hutchinson, From Shed to Stadium: Illustrated history of LCFC. (2014) ISBN 978-1-909872-18-9
  • John Hutchinson, Neil Plumb, Rob O'Donnell, Leicester City Classic Shirts 1949-2016 (2015) ISBN 978-1-909872-76-9

External links[edit]