Roman times, Leicester was a famous place; more famous then than it will
ever be today. They even had a Roman Road lead to it (it was one
which didn't lead to Rome), called the Fosse Way. So that is why
the first team that was formed in the town was known as Leicester
Fosse. Formed by some Sunday School students and kids from Wyggeston School who used to play
football in the road, their nimble skills were honed by avoiding horses
and carts as they travelled to London. At their first meeting they
collected 9d (4p) to buy a football and the same amount in membership
fees. To this day, Leicester still have the cheapest season
tickets in the country as they have not converted to decimalisation like
the rest of the UK did in 1971.
club took on the nickname of "The Foxes", because the glove
puppet Basil Brush was operated by a man who was a big Leicester City
fan. He tried to take over at Filbert Street once, but they didn't
want him pulling the strings at the club. The nickname also links
to the proliferation of hound and hare activity in the area. They
plumped for the nickname above rather than be named after a bunch of
Webb was the club's first professional, who signed for 2 shillings and
6d (13p), much the same as they had to shell out for Stan Collymore
recently. There were early investigations during their existence
when they lost 0-12 to Nottingham Forest in 1909. The poor
performance was not anything to do with the quality of their play, but
they had been out celebrating a former colleague - "Legless"
Turner's wedding the night before and
all were stoned drunk (allegedly). The same happened a week later,
when they were out celebrating the fact that there was a "y"
in the day. Stan Collymore realised that this was the club for him
!! Ten years later they changed their name to Leicester City to
escape the shame of the drunken slur. Funnily enough, no questions
were asked when they beat Portsmouth 10-0 in 1928 !! That was a
bit rum, I must say. It was that season that a ground capacity
record of 47,298 was set in a match against Tottenham Hotspur.
The club entered
the league in 1894 and have never been out of the top two
divisions. However, they have also failed to win the top title,
despite racking up six Second Division championships. The closest
they came to the top prize was in 1928-29, when they finished
second. They also had the unenviable record of failing to gain
promotion through four successive play-off finals from 1987, adding to
the theory that Wembley is their unlucky ground, where they had also
lost four FA Cup finals (one to Spurs in 1961). This can be confirmed by their success in
the League Cup competition, where they won the first two away from
Wembley (once when the final was a two-legged affair) and then in a
replay in 1997. It was only in 2000, after losing at Wembley again
in 1999 to Tottenham Hotspur, that they beat their hoodoo. The
final being played in Cardiff in 2001 should have been good news for the
Foxes, but they got knocked out at home to Crystal Palace.
After the war,
they enjoyed some small success under the guiding hand of Adam Black,
who of course was the captain.
The club's first
experience in Europe came when Spurs won the Double and took part in the
European Cup, leaving Leicester to take part in the secondary
competition of the European Cup Winners Cup, but this only lasted two
rounds. Much the same has happened on the other occasions that
club has qualified to go abroad to play.
Seventies were a time for Leicester to become the footballing capital of
the world. Keith Weller sported white tights and gloves, while Peter
Shilton took over from the legendary Gordon Banks in goal at Leicester
and introduced the white goalkeeper's shirt. This was highly
unpopular for two reasons; firstly, it allowed forwards to see exactly
where the goalkeeper was, thus making it easier to put the ball wide of
him and secondly, because the laundry women at the club found it almost
impossible to rid it of those difficult stains !! Keeper Mark Wallington
played every game during his two spells for the club between 1975-1981
and 1982-1983. Nobody had told him he could miss a game if he was
injured. Indeed, so keen was he to preserve his record that during
one FA Cup game against Shrewsbury Town, he started in goal, was
replaced by Alan Young, who in turn was covered by Steve Lynex.
His durability meant he was back before the next game to maintain his
proud run of starts for the club. It was during this time that
Leicester introduced a strange inflatable bubble that kept people off
the pitch, in scenes reminiscent of the cult 1960's TV programme
has been a notable feature of the side over the years. Arthur
Chandler scored in 16 consecutive games, while Arthur Rowley scored 44
goals in one season !! Arthur Sixpence once turned very sharply to
score a goal and coined the phrase "To turn on a sixpence".
Leicester are up there with the big boys in the Premier League.
Transfers of £100,000 are commonplace as they cement their place among
the elite. The new stand fits in superbly with the low rise,
shanty style hotch-potch of the older stands and many a grateful young
Leicester urchin can run happily home with a new football after another
clearance goes over the old stand.
Just when it all
was falling into place, with the new Walkers Crisp stadium giving a new
flavour to the football experience, the team were relegated to the
Championship and then, under the new chairmanship of Milan Mandaric, he
has lead them out of that league ... straight into League One !!
Third tier football for the first time in the club's history came after
appointing six new managers in the space of just over a year, leaving
the players unsure of who is giving them instructions.
More changes of
manager and management of the club led to new energy being pumped into
the Foxes by King Power the new owners, who hope returning boss Nigel
Pearson might be able to get them back up to the top flight.
PLAYERS : - Mark Wallington, Frank Worthington, Berty Belvoir, Denis
Rofe, Don Revie, Cliff
Richard, John Sjoberg, Gordon Banks, Peter Whaddon, Steve
"unlucky" Chalmers, Arthur Rowley.
FAMOUS FANS : - Julian Barnes (Novelist), Gary
Lineker (Former footballer now TV sports presenter - Match of the
Day), Bill Maynard (Actor - "The Gaffer", "Oh, No,
It's Selwyn Froggitt" and Greengrass in "Emmerdale"), Mark
Morrison (Singer), Willie Thorne (Snooker player), Gary
Newbon (Radio [Talksport] and TV [Sky Sports] sports presenter),