Leicester City F.C.

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Leicester City
Full nameLeicester City Football Club
Nickname(s)The Foxes
Founded1884; 140 years ago (1884)
(as Leicester Fosse F.C.)
StadiumKing Power Stadium
Capacity32,262
OwnerKing Power
ChairmanAiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha
ManagerEnzo Maresca
LeagueEFL Championship
2022–23Premier League, 18th of 20 (relegated)
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Leicester City Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Leicester, East Midlands. They compete in the EFL Championship, the second level of the English football league system.

The club was founded in 1884 as Leicester Fosse F.C, and became known as Leicester City in 1919.[1] They moved to Filbert Street in 1891, were elected to the Football League in 1894 and moved to the nearby King Power Stadium in 2002.[2][3]

Leicester City have notably won one Premier League, one FA Cup, three League Cups and two FA Community Shields. The club's 2015–16 Premier League title win attracted global attention, and they became one of seven clubs to have won the Premier League since its inception in 1992.[4][5] Prior to this, Leicester's highest league finish was second place in the top flight in 1928–29.

The club have competed in the FA Cup final five times, winning their first title in 2021. They won the League Cup in 1964, 1997 and 2000 respectively, and were finalists in 1964–65 and 1998–99. Leicester have also played in seven European competitions to date, notably reaching the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in 2016–17 and the UEFA Europa Conference League semi-finals in 2021–22.

History[edit]

The Leicester Fosse team of 1892

Founding and early years (1884–1949)[edit]

Formed in 1884 by a group of old boys of Wyggeston School as "Leicester Fosse", the club joined The Football Association (FA) in 1890.[6] 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 Cycle and Cricket Ground.[7] 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 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 team's largest win to date, a 13–0 victory over Notts Olympic in an FA Cup qualifying game.[1] 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 was relegated after a single season which included the team's record defeat, a 12–0 loss against Nottingham Forest.[1][8]

In 1919, when league football resumed after World War I, Leicester Fosse ceased trading due to financial difficulties. 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,[9] they won the Division Two title in 1924–25[10] and recorded their second-highest league finish in 1928–29 as runners-up by a single point to The Wednesday.[6] However, the 1930s saw a downturn in fortunes, with the club relegated in 1934–35[11] and, after promotion in 1936–37,[12] another relegation in 1938–39 would see them finish the decade in Division Two.[1][13]

Post-World War II (1949–2000)[edit]

Leicester reached the FA Cup final for the first time in their history in 1949,[1][14] losing 3–1 to Wolverhampton Wanderers. The club, however, was celebrating a week later when a draw on the last day of the season ensured survival in Division Two.[15][16] Leicester won the Division Two championship in 1954,[17] 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,[18] with Rowley scoring a club record 44 goals in one season.[9] Leicester remained in Division One until 1969,[19] their longest period 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.[1] As they lost to double winners Tottenham Hotspur 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 team became nicknamed the "Ice Kings" and eventually finished fourth, the club's best post-war finish. Gillies guided Leicester to their first piece of silverware in 1964, when Leicester beat Stoke City 4–3 on aggregate to win the League Cup for the first time.[1] 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.[20] 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, losing to Manchester City 1–0.

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

In 1971, Leicester were promoted back to the First Division, and won the Charity Shield for the first time.[1] Due to double winners Arsenal's commitments in European competition, Second Division winners Leicester were invited to play FA Cup runners-up Liverpool, beating them 1–0[1] thanks to a goal by Steve Whitworth.[21] Jimmy Bloomfield was appointed for the new season, and his team remained in the First Division for his tenure. Leicester reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1973–74.[22]

Frank McLintock, a noted player for seven years for Leicester in a successful period from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s, succeeded Bloomfield in 1977. The club 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 Second Division championship in 1980.[23] Wallace was unable to keep Leicester in the First Division, 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; 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.[1]

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 Premier League, but lost to Blackburn Rovers by way of 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, Leicester were promoted from the playoffs, beating Derby County 2–1 in the final.[1] 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, while Leicester were top of the First Division, to take charge of Wolverhampton Wanderers.[24] McGhee was replaced by Martin O'Neill.[1] 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 (2000–2008)[edit]

Martin O'Neill was replaced by former England under-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 UEFA Cup.[25] 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 poor 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 matches all season.

The East Stand, King Power Stadium

Leicester moved into the new 32,314-seat Walkers Stadium at the start of the 2002–03 season, ending 111 years at Filbert Street. Walkers, the Leicester-based crisp manufacturers, acquired the naming rights for a ten-year period.[26] 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 cost of the new stadium.[27] 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.[1] Adams guided Leicester to the runners-up spot in Division One and automatic promotion back to the Premier League with more than 90 points. However, Leicester lasted only 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 matches, 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.[1]

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.[28] 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 Milton Keynes Dons manager Martin Allen as their new manager with a three-year contract. Allen's relationship with Mandarić became tense and after only four matches, 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 match in charge, beating Bristol City 2–0.[29] However, this success did not last, and Leicester were relegated from the Championship at the end of the 2007–08 season. Holloway left by mutual consent after less than a season at the club, being replaced by Nigel Pearson.

Rise back to Premier League and new ownership (2008–2015)[edit]

The 2008–09 campaign was Leicester's first season outside the top two levels of English football, but they hit this nadir only seven years before becoming the 2015–16 Premier League champions – one of the fastest rises to the top of the English football league system.[30] Following relegation to the third tier the previous season, Leicester returned to the Championship at the first attempt in 2008–09, finishing as champions of League One after a 2–0 win at Southend United, with two matches in hand. The 2009–10 season saw Leicester's revival under manager Nigel 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 he felt 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 7 July 2010, Sousa was confirmed as Pearson's replacement.[31]

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 and his son Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha.[32] Mandarić, an investor in AFI,[33] was retained as club chairman.[34] On 1 October 2010, after a poor start that saw Leicester bottom of the Championship with only one win out of the first nine league matches, Paulo Sousa was sacked by the club with immediate effect.[35] 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.[36][37] On 10 February 2011, Vichai, 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.[38]

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 matches, Eriksson left the club by mutual consent.[39] Three weeks later, Nigel Pearson returned to the club as Eriksson's successor. Pearson would go on to lead The Foxes to a sixth-place finish in the 2012–13 season, ensuring Leicester were in the Championship play-offs. However, Leicester lost the playoff semi-final 3–2 on aggregate to Watford after Manuel Almunia made a double save from an Anthony Knockaert late penalty and Troy Deeney scored at the other end following a swift counterattack.[40]

In 2014, Leicester's march up the league system hit a breakthrough. Their 2–1 home win over Sheffield Wednesday, combined with losses by Queens Park Rangers and Derby County, allowed Leicester City to clinch promotion to the Premier League after a ten-year absence. Later that month, a win at Bolton Wanderers saw Leicester become champions of the 2013–14 Championship for a joint record 7th time.

Leicester started their first season in the Premier League since 2004 with a good run of results in their first five league matches, starting with a 2–2 draw on the opening day against Everton.[41] The Foxes then claimed their first Premier League win since May 2004, with a 1–0 win at Stoke City.[42] On 21 September 2014, Leicester went on to produce one of the greatest comebacks in Premier League history, beating Manchester United 5–3 at King Power Stadium. They made Premier League history by becoming the first team to beat Manchester United from a two-goal deficit since the league's launch in 1992.[43]

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 matches. By 3 April 2015, they were seven 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 matches meant 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, and Leicester's upturn in results was described as one of the Premier League's greatest escapes from relegation.[44][45] They also became only the third team in Premier League history to survive after being bottom at Christmas (the other two being West Bromwich Albion in 2005 and Sunderland in 2014), and no team with fewer than 20 points from 29 matches had previously stayed up.

Premier League champions and following years (2015–2020)[edit]

The usual starting line-up of the Premier League winning team[46]

On 30 June 2015, Nigel Pearson was sacked, with the club stating "the working relationship is no longer viable." The sacking was linked to a number of public relations issues involving Pearson throughout the season, with the final straw involving his son James' role in a "racist sex tape" made by three Leicester reserve players in Thailand during a post-season goodwill tour.[47][48][49] Leicester reacted by appointing former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri as their new manager for the new 2015–16 Premier League season.[50] Despite an initially sceptical reaction to Ranieri's appointment, the club made an exceptional start to the season.[51] Striker Jamie Vardy scored 13 goals over 11 consecutive matches from August to November, breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy's Premier League record of scoring in 10 consecutive matches.[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 Hotspur's 3–0 win over Manchester United, ensured Leicester's qualification for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history.[54]

Leicester won the Premier League on 2 May 2016 after Tottenham lost a 2–0 lead against Chelsea, drawing 2–2 at the "Battle of Stamford Bridge".[55][56] 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, which subsequently resulted in the largest payout in British sporting history with total winnings of £25 million.[57][58][59] A number of newspapers described Leicester's title win as the greatest sporting shock; multiple bookmakers including Ladbrokes and William Hill had never paid out at such long odds for any sport.[60][61][62] One book was titled "The Unbelievables", a spin-off harking back to Arsenal's undefeated team "The Invincibles".[63] The scale of the surprise title victory attracted global attention for the club and the city of Leicester.[64][5] The Economist declared it would be "pored over for management lessons."[65] Several commentators viewed it as an inspiration to other clubs and fundamentally transforming expectations.[66]

Leicester became known for their counterattacking style of play, "incredible pace in the areas it is most essential" and defensive solidarity.[67] Former boss Nigel Pearson was credited by pundits and fans as having laid the foundations for Leicester's title winning season.[68] Reacting to the title win, then executive chairman of the Premier League Richard Scudamore said:

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.

Leicester, while performing well in the UEFA Champions League, struggled domestically during 2016–17, spending much of the first few months in the bottom half of the Premier League table. In December 2016, Ranieri was awarded coach of the year and Leicester team of the year at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.[69] However, on 23 February 2017, Ranieri was dismissed due to the club's continuing poor form, resulting in them being only one point above the relegation zone. The sacking was met with significant upset and anger from sections of the media, with Gary Lineker calling the sacking "very sad" and "inexplicable",[70] while Manchester United manager José Mourinho blamed it on "selfish players".[70] Rumours began emerging some days later that players had been meeting with the owners to discuss Ranieri's sacking without Ranieri knowing, which sparked widespread outrage over social media, but these were never proven.[71] Craig Shakespeare took over as caretaker manager, and in his first match in charge, Leicester won 3–1 against 5th placed Liverpool.[72] In his second match as caretaker, Shakespeare led Leicester to another 3–1 victory over Hull City.[73] Following those two results, it was decided on 12 March 2017 that Shakespeare would become manager until the end of the season.[74]

The 2016–17 campaign was also the first season in 15 years that Leicester qualified for European football. Leicester were placed in Group G of the 2016–17 UEFA Champions League, alongside Porto, Copenhagen and Club Brugge. In their inaugural Champions League campaign, they went undefeated in their first five matches to progress to the knockout stages as group winners.[75] The Foxes then faced La Liga club Sevilla in the round of 16 and defeated the Spanish side 2–0 on the night, and 3–2 on aggregate to advance to the quarter-finals.[76] There they faced Atlético Madrid, and drew 1–1 in the second leg, but lost 2–1 on aggregate after losing 1–0 in the first leg. This put an end to Leicester's 2016–17 European campaign, and they finished as Champions League quarter-finalists.[77] Despite the loss, Leicester remained unbeaten at home in the 2016–17 Champions League.

Craig Shakespeare, having impressed during his caretaker spell, was appointed full-time on a three-year contract.[78] However, following a poor start to the season he was sacked in October 2017 after four months officially in charge, with Leicester in 18th place in the table.[79] He was replaced by former Southampton boss Claude Puel on 25 October 2017. By Christmas, Leicester were in 8th place in the Premier League and finished 9th at the end of the season.

On 27 October 2018, a Leonardo AW169 helicopter carrying chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others malfunctioned and crashed outside the club's stadium, shortly after taking off from the pitch. This followed a home match against West Ham United, and all five people on board the helicopter died. Following the crash, the club announced plans for a permanent memorial in the form of a statue. One year later, The Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Memorial Garden officially opened on 27 October 2019, before The Khun Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Statue was unveiled on 4 April 2022, which would have been Srivaddhanaprabha's 64th birthday.[80][81][82]

Brendan Rodgers

Leicester suffered a poor run of results in 2019 which included four successive home defeats, and following a 4–1 home defeat to Crystal Palace, manager Claude Puel was sacked on 24 February 2019 with the club in 12th place.[83] Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was appointed as his replacement,[84] and the club finished the season again in 9th place.

The 2019–20 season started with the team picking up 38 points from their first 16 matches, which included a record eight-game winning streak from 19 October to 8 December. On 25 October 2019, Leicester recorded a 0–9 away win at Southampton, the joint-largest win in Premier League history and the largest away win in English top-flight history.[85] In the same season, the club reached the semi-final stage of the League Cup but lost out to Aston Villa over two legs.[86] Despite being in the top four for most of the season, Leicester suffered a drop-off in form at the end of the season, winning only two of their nine games following the resumption of league play due to the coronavirus pandemic. Three defeats in their last four matches saw them slide into fifth, the second-highest Premier League finish in their history, securing a place in the UEFA Europa League for the following season.[87]

FA Cup winners and following years (2021–present)[edit]

On 15 May 2021, Leicester won its first FA Cup, having lost all of their previous four finals, in the process securing a second major trophy in the space of five years; Youri Tielemans scored the only goal against Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.[88] They also won the 2021 FA Community Shield, the second in their history.[89] After finishing 5th again in the 2020–21 Premier League, Leicester qualified for the Europa League for the second consecutive year. In its 2021–22 UEFA Europa League campaign, Leicester came third in its group and was transferred to the newly established UEFA Europa Conference League. It went on to reach its first European semi-final, losing to eventual winners A.S. Roma over two legs.[90] In the Premier League, the club finished in 8th place.[91]

The club's finances were heavily affected by the COVID pandemic, with the parent company King Power International Group being in the travel retail (DF&TR) sector.[92][93] As a consequence, the club were restricted in their spending in the 2022 summer transfer market, amid additional concerns over breaching Financial Fair Play regulations. At the same time, the club were also continuing to invest in the infrastructure to better compete with the 'big six' in the longer term.[94][95][96]

Rodgers left the club on 2 April 2023 via mutual consent, with ten games remaining and the team in the relegation zone.[97] Dean Smith was appointed as his replacement until the end of the season.[98] On 28 May, despite a 2–1 home win over West Ham United, Leicester City were relegated as a consequence of Everton's 1–0 home victory over AFC Bournemouth.[99] This ended the club's nine-year stint in the Premier League, making them only the second former Premier League champions to be relegated from the league since it began in 1992–93, following Blackburn Rovers in 1998–99.[100]

On 16 June 2023, Enzo Maresca was appointed as the club's new manager ahead of the 2023–24 EFL Championship season.[101] Leicester went on to make their best start to a league season, and the best since the league became known as the Championship in 2004–05.[102]

Club identity[edit]

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

The club's traditional home colours of royal blue shirts, white shorts and either white or blue socks have been used for the team's kits throughout most of its history. In more recent times, the club have alternated between either white or blue shorts.

An image of a fox was first incorporated into the club crest in 1948. Since 1992, the club's badge has featured a fox's head overlaid onto a Cinquefoil; the Cinquefoil is similar to the one used on the coat of arms of Leicester.[103][104]

Leicester City's badge for the 2009–10 season to commemorate 125 years as a football club

The club's stadium move in 2002 prompted some changes to the crest, and the design has since evolved further.[105] For the 2009–10 season, the club's 125th anniversary year, a special edition crest was worn on the home and away kits.[106] For this season's away kit, there was also a return to the first colours worn by the club (originally Leicester Fosse), albeit with black shorts as opposed to the original white.[107][105] This kit returned once again for the 2023–24 season, having also featured during the 2004–05 season.[108]

In 1941, the club adopted the playing of the Post Horn Galop at home matches, to signal both teams entering the pitch.[109] To the present day, the tune is usually played live on the pitch for the first half, while a modern version of the tune is played over the PA system for the second half.[110] The club also play a modern version of their anthem When You're Smiling before kick-off on home matchdays, with the connection to the song believed to have first originated in the late 1970's.[111] Foxes Never Quit is the club's motto, with these words placed above the tunnel inside the stadium.

Kit suppliers and shirt sponsors[edit]

Source:[112]

Year Kit Manufacturer Primary Shirt Sponsor Sleeve Sponsor
1962–1964 Bukta None None
1976–1979 Admiral
1979–1983 Umbro
1983–1986 Admiral Ind Coope
1986–1987 John Bull
1987–1988 Walkers Crisps
1988–1990 Scoreline
1990–1992 Bukta
1992–2000 Fox Leisure
2000–2001 Le Coq Sportif
2001–2003 LG
2003–2005 Alliance & Leicester
2005–2007 JJB Sports
2007–2009 Jako Topps Tiles
2009–2010 Joma LOROS Hospice Care
2010–2012 Burrda King Power
2012–2016 Puma
2017–2018 Siam Commercial Bank
2018–2020 Adidas Bia Saigon
2020–2021 King Power and Tourism Authority of Thailand
2021–2023 FBS (international brokerage company)
2023– King Power

Since 2018, Leicester City's kit has been manufactured by German sportswear company Adidas.[113] 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), Burrda (2010–12),[114] and Puma (2012–18).[115]

The club's current main shirt sponsor is King Power, the company of the club's owners.[116] The first sponsorship logo to appear on a Leicester shirt was that of Ind Coope in 1983.[104] British snack food manufacturer Walkers Crisps are the club's official snack partner.[117] Walkers Crisps have held a long association with the club, sponsoring their shirts from 1987 to 2001 and the stadium from 2002 to 2011.[104][3] Other sponsors have included John Bull (1986–87),[104] LG (2001–03),[104] Alliance & Leicester (2003–07),[104] Topps Tiles (2007–09),[104] Jessops (2009–10),[citation needed] Loros (2009–10), Tourism Authority of Thailand (2020–21) and FBS (2021–23).[118][107] Siam Commercial Bank became the club's first sleeve sponsor, and the deal was valid for the 2017–18 season.[119] Since the 2018–19 season, the sleeve sponsor has been Bia Saigon.[120]

Stadium and training ground[edit]

The "Double Decker" Stand at Filbert Street

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 Fosse Road,[121] hence the original club name Leicester Fosse. They moved from there to Victoria Park, and subsequently to Belgrave Road. Upon turning professional the club moved to Mill Lane.[121] 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 land by Filbert Street and moved there in 1891.[121]

Some improvements by noted football architect Archibald Leitch occurred in the Edwardian era, and in 1927 a new two-tier stand was built,[121] nicknamed "the Double Decker", which would persist until the ground's closure in 2002. With the exception of the addition of compulsory seating, the ground saw no further development until 1993, when the Main Stand was demolished and replaced by the new Carling Stand. The addition of the new stand, while the rest of the ground had been untouched since the 1920s, led manager Martin O'Neill to joke that he used to "lead new signings out backwards" so they only saw the Carling Stand.[122]

King Power Stadium, formerly known as the Walkers Stadium, has been the home of Leicester City since 2002

The club moved away from Filbert Street in 2002, to a new 32,500-capacity all-seater stadium located less than 300 yards away.[123][124] The current site was known as the Walkers Stadium until 2011 in a deal with Leicester-based food manufacturers Walkers.[125] The first match hosted at the stadium was a 1–1 friendly draw against Athletic Bilbao, with Bilbao's Tiko being the first scorer at the stadium and Jordan Stewart being the first Leicester player to score.[126] The first competitive match was a 2–0 victory against Watford.[127]

On 19 August 2010, it emerged that the new owners King Power wanted to rename the stadium King Power Stadium, and had plans to increase the capacity to 42,000 should Leicester secure promotion.[128] On 5 July 2011, Leicester City confirmed the Walkers Stadium would now be known as King Power Stadium.[129] The stadium currently has an all-seated capacity of 32,262, with plans formally approved in December 2023 to extend this to 40,000.[130][131] In 2020, the club moved into a new state-of-the-art training complex in the Leicestershire village of Seagrave, described as being "one of the world's most advanced training facilities." The club's former training ground Belvoir Drive now serves as the training ground for Leicester City Women.[132]

Rivalries[edit]

The club's main rivals are considered to be Nottingham Forest, Derby County and Coventry City.[133][134][135] Leicester were widely considered to be Nottingham Forest's main rivals prior to the mid-1970s. However, when Brian Clough was appointed as Forest manager in 1975, much to the dismay of Derby fans, the rivalry between Forest and Derby quickly intensified.

European record[edit]

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
1961–62 European Cup Winners' Cup PR Northern Ireland Glenavon 3–1 4–1 7–2
1R Spain Atlético Madrid 1–1 0–2 1–3
1997–98 UEFA Cup 1R Spain Atlético Madrid 0–2 1–2 1–4
2000–01 UEFA Cup 1R Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Red Star Belgrade 1–1 1–3 [nb 1] 2–4
2016–17 UEFA Champions League GS Portugal Porto 1–0 0–5 1st
Belgium Club Brugge 2–1 3–0
Denmark Copenhagen 1–0 0–0
R16 Spain Sevilla 2–0 1–2 3–2
QF Spain Atlético Madrid 1–1 0–1 1–2
2020–21 UEFA Europa League GS Portugal Braga 4–0 3–3 1st
Greece AEK Athens 2–0 2–1
Ukraine Zorya Luhansk 3–0 0–1
R32 Czech Republic Slavia Prague 0–2 0–0 0–2
2021–22 UEFA Europa League GS Italy Napoli 2–2 2–3 3rd
Russia Spartak Moscow 1–1 4–3
Poland Legia Warsaw 3–1 0–1
UEFA Conference League KPO Denmark Randers 4–1 3–1 7–2
R16 France Rennes 2–0 1–2 3–2
QF Netherlands PSV Eindhoven 0–0 2–1 2–1
SF Italy Roma 1–1 0–1 1–2
Notes
  • LCFC goals listed first
  • PR: Preliminary round
  • 1R: First round
  • GS: Group stage
  • R32: Round of 32
  • R16: Round of 16
  • QF: Quarter-final
  • SF: Semi-final

Managerial history[edit]

Leicester City's current manager is Enzo Maresca, the club's 50th permanent manager.[136] Nigel Pearson and Peter Hodge have both had two separate spells in charge of the club. Dave Bassett also had a second spell as caretaker manager after his spell as permanent manager.[137] 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."[138]

Records and statistics[edit]

Historical league positions of Leicester City in the Football League

Graham Cross holds the record for the most Leicester appearances, with the defender playing 600 games between 1960 and 1976, increased from 599 following the club's decision to incorporate the 1971 Charity Shield into official records.[139] However, Adam Black holds the record for the most appearances in the league with 528 between 1920 and 1935.[140]

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.[6] The most goals managed in a single season for the club is 44 by Arthur Rowley, in the 1956–57 season.[6] 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.[141]

Jamie Vardy broke the Premier League record by scoring in 11 consecutive Premier League games, scoring 13 in the process during the 2015–16 Premier League season.[142] Vardy is also the ninth player to score 20 top-flight goals in a season, following Arthur Chandler, Ernie Hine, Arthur Rowley, Jimmy Walsh, Ken Keyworth, Jackie Sinclair, Frank Worthington and Gary Lineker.[citation needed] Vardy's goal at Sunderland on 10 April 2016 saw him become the first player since Gary Lineker in 1984–85 to score 20 top flight goals for the club, having already become Leicester's highest Premier League scorer in a single season.[143]

The record transfer fee paid by Leicester for a player was in the region of £32-to-40 million for midfielder Youri Tielemans from AS Monaco.[144] The highest transfer fee received for a Leicester player was approximately £80 million from Manchester United for Harry Maguire; at the time of the transfer this was the eleventh-highest-ever fee, the highest-ever move between two English teams, and the highest-ever for a defender.[145][additional citation(s) needed]

The club's record home attendance is 47,298, for a fifth-round FA Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur at Filbert Street in 1928.[146] The current record home attendance at the current stadium is 32,242, for a Premier League match against Sunderland on 8 August 2015.[147] The highest-ever attendance for a non-competitive football match at King Power Stadium stands at 32,188, for a pre-season friendly against Real Madrid on 30 July 2011.[148]

Leicester's highest league finish is first in the Premier League in 2015–16. Their lowest league finish was first in League One in 2008–09.[citation needed] The club currently hold the joint all-time record for second tier titles, sharing a total of seven with Manchester City.[149]

Leicester's longest unbeaten run in the league was between 1 November 2008 and 7 March 2009, in which the team remained unbeaten for 23 games on their way to the League One title.[150] The club's longest run of consecutive victories in league football is currently nine, which the team achieved between 21 December 2013 and 1 February 2014 in the EFL Championship.

In the 2015–16 season, Leicester achieved many new club records in what The Daily Telegraph described as "one of the most astonishing league titles of all-time".[151] They recorded the fewest losses in any of the club's previous Premier League seasons, the fewest away defeats in any top-flight season, and the most consecutive wins in the top flight. Those consecutive victories came against Watford, Newcastle United, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Sunderland. Coincidentally, Leicester kept a record of five straight clean sheets against each of the same five opponents. The King Power Stadium's home crowds in 2015–16 saw their team beaten just once in the Premier League all season.[143]

Leicester made their UEFA Champions League debut in the 2016–17 season, their fourth appearance in European football. The club became the third English team to win on their Champions League debut, after Manchester United in 1994 and Newcastle United in 1997. They also became the first English team to win away on their Champions League debut, and win all three of their opening games in the competition.[152][153] Leicester are currently the first and only team in Champions League history to keep clean sheets in each of their opening four games in the competition.[154] In March 2017, the club became the 50th to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.

On 25 October 2019, the Leicester team set the record for the highest margin of away victory in English top-flight history, defeating Southampton 9–0 at St Mary's Stadium. In doing so they also tied the record for the highest margin of victory in Premier League history, equalling Manchester United's 9–0 home victory over Ipswich Town in 1995.[155] As a result, Leicester City hold the all-time top tier records for the biggest defeat, biggest away win, and highest-scoring draw.

In the 2023–24 EFL Championship season, the club made its best start to a league season, and the best in the competition's history (since being known as the Championship).[156] During this period, the club also set a new record of six straight away wins, matched the all-time record of nine consecutive league wins home and away, and went four home matches without conceding for the first time since 1973.[157]

League history[edit]

Since their election to the Football League in 1894, Leicester City have spent all but one season within the top two tiers of English football. During the 2008–09 season, they played in League One, the third tier of English football, after the club's relegation from the Championship in the previous season. However, the club made an instant return to the second tier and were promoted as 2008–09 League One champions.

Source[91]
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: 55
  • Seasons spent at Level 2 of the football league system: 62
  • Seasons spent at Level 3 of the football league system: 1

(up to and including 2022–23)

Players[edit]

First-team squad[edit]

As of 22 January 2024[158]

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK Wales WAL Danny Ward
2 DF England ENG James Justin
3 DF Belgium BEL Wout Faes
4 DF England ENG Conor Coady
5 DF England ENG Callum Doyle (on loan from Manchester City)
8 MF England ENG Harry Winks
9 FW England ENG Jamie Vardy (captain[159])
10 FW England ENG Stephy Mavididi
11 MF England ENG Marc Albrighton
14 FW Nigeria NGA Kelechi Iheanacho
15 DF Australia AUS Harry Souttar
17 MF England ENG Hamza Choudhury
18 FW Ghana GHA Abdul Fatawu (on loan from Sporting)
No. Pos. Nation Player
20 FW Zambia ZAM Patson Daka
21 DF Portugal POR Ricardo Pereira
22 MF England ENG Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall
23 DF Denmark DEN Jannik Vestergaard
25 MF Nigeria NGA Wilfred Ndidi
26 MF Belgium BEL Dennis Praet
28 FW Republic of Ireland IRL Tom Cannon
29 MF Turkey TUR Yunus Akgün (on loan from Galatasaray)
30 GK Denmark DEN Mads Hermansen
35 MF England ENG Kasey McAteer
40 MF Portugal POR Wanya Marçal
41 GK Poland POL Jakub Stolarczyk
45 DF England ENG Ben Nelson

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. Pos. Nation Player
16 DF Denmark DEN Victor Kristiansen (at Bologna until the end of the 2023–24 season)[160]
24 MF France FRA Boubakary Soumaré (at Sevilla until the end of the 2023–24 season)[161]
No. Pos. Nation Player
31 GK Denmark DEN Daniel Iversen (at Stoke City until the end of the 2023–24 season)[162]
33 DF England ENG Luke Thomas (at Middlesbrough until the end of the 2023–24 season)[163]

Under-21s and Academy[edit]

Former players[edit]

Club staff[edit]

As of 9 July 2023[164][165][166][167][168][169][170][171]

Directors & Senior Management
Role Person
Chairman Thailand Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha
Vice Chairman Thailand Apichet Srivaddhanaprabha
Chief Executive Republic of Ireland Susan Whelan
Finance Director England Simon Capper
Director of Football England Jon Rudkin
Football Operations Director England Andrew Neville
Operations Director England Anthony Mundy
Strategy Director England Nick Oakley
Communications Director England Anthony Herlihy
HR Director England Liam Dolan-Barr
Commercial Director England Dan Barnett
General Counsel England Matthew Phillips
Management Staff
Role Person
First Team Manager Italy Enzo Maresca
First Team Assistant Manager Argentina Willy Caballero
First Team Coach England Danny Walker
First Team Goalkeeping Coach Italy Michele De Bernardin
Head of Fitness & Conditioning England Matt Reeves
First Team Fitness Coach Spain Marcos Alvarez
First Team Analyst Spain Javier Molina Caballero
First Team Physiotherapist England Gary Silk
Kit Manager England Paul McAndrew
Head of Senior Player Recruitment England Martyn Glover
Loans Manager Germany Robert Huth
Academy Director England Jon Rudkin

Player statistics[edit]

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.[138]

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.[178] It also included Premier League players, and the following former Leicester City players were included:[178]

Players with over 300 appearances for Leicester[edit]

Includes competitive appearances only. Current players in bold.

As of 04 March 2024[138][140]

Players with 50 or more goals for Leicester[edit]

Includes competitive appearances only. Current players in bold.

As of 05 March 2024[138][179][180]

Honours[edit]

Leicester City players lifting the 2015–16 Premier League trophy

Leicester City are currently one of five clubs, including Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool, to have won the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup in the 21st century. Since the start of the millennium, they are the 6th most successful club in English football and one of 14 clubs to have won all four major domestic competitions.[181]

League

Cup

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 'Away' leg held at the Gerhard Hanappi Stadium, Vienna, Austria

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Further reading[edit]

  • Smith, Dave; Taylor, Paul (2001). Of Fossils and Foxes: The Official Definitive History of Leicester City Football Club. ISBN 978-1-899538-21-8.
  • Smith, Dave; Taylor, Paul (1995). The Foxes Alphabet: Complete Who's Who of Leicester City Football Club. ISBN 978-1-899538-06-5.
  • Leicester City FC, The Official History of Leicester City Football Club DVD (2003) (out of print). EAN 5035593200013.
  • Hutchinson, John (2014). From Shed to Stadium: Illustrated history of LCFC. ISBN 978-1-909872-18-9.
  • Hutchinson, John; Plumb, Neil; O'Donnell, Rob (2015). Leicester City Classic Shirts 1949–2016. ISBN 978-1-909872-76-9.

External links[edit]