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Leicester Fosse (1884-1919)


The club was founded in 1884 as Leicester Fosse because it played on a field by the Fosse Road. Before moving to Filbert Street in 1891, the club played at five different grounds. The club joined the Football Association in 1890. It joined in the Midland League in 1891 and after finishing second was elected to the Division Two of the Football League in 1894. The first ever league game was a 4-3 defeat at Grimsby, but a week later at Filbert Street the club recorded its first league win against Rotherham. The club's largest win to date, 13-0 against Notts Olympic in a FA Cup qualifying game was also recorded in that season.

In 1904 the club successfully re-applied for membership of the Football League. In 1908 the club finished as Second Division runners-up and reached the First Division, but went back down again after just one season.

Leicester City is born (1919-1939)


The club was re-elected to the Football League for the last time to date in 1915, when the League was suspended for four years due to a financial scandal and the First World War. Leicester were playing in a regional league organised for Midlands clubs in this period. Due to financial problems, Leicester Fosse had ceased to exist when the League resumed in 1919. The club was reformed as "Leicester City Football Club", particularly appropriate as the borough of Leicester had recently been given city status.

In 1925 the club were champions of Division Two under the management of Peter Hodge. Hodge's signings included Arthur Chandler, one of City's most famous players from this period, scoring a club record 273 goals between 1923 and 1935 and Adam Black, who has the club record for league appearances, 528. In 1929 the club recorded its highest ever finish in the Football League, finishing second to Sheffield Wednesday. The club's highest ever attendance was in 1928, with 47,298 turning out against Spurs in the FA Cup Fifth Round. The 1930s were less successful, with the club being relegated in 1935, although finishing first in Division Two in 1937, only to be relegated from Division One again in 1939. In 1939, the Football League was suspended due to the Second World War and just like between 1915-1919, City were forced along with other clubs to play in regional leagues.

Citys cup fortunes (1949-1971)


City reached the F.A Cup final for the first time in their history in 1949, losing 3-1 to Wolves. However, the club was celebrating a week later when a draw on the last day of the season ensured survival in Division Two. Leicester won the Division Two championship in 1954, with the help of Arthur Rowley, one of the club's most prolific strikers. Although they were relegated from Division One the next season, they returned in 1957, with Rowley scoring a club record 44 goals in one season. Leicester remained in Division One until 1969, their longest period ever in the top flight.

Under the management of Matt Gillies, one of the club's most successful managers, Leicester reached the FA Cup final another two times, but lost each time in 1961 and 1963. In 1961 they were on the losing side to double winners Spurs and as a result were England's representatives in the 1961-62 UEFA Cup Winners Cup. In 1963, the club reached as high as first place in the First Division, eventually placed fourth, the clubs best post-war finish. Gillies collected silverware in 1964, when Leicester beat Stoke 4-3 on aggregate to win the League Cup for the first time. Leicester also reached the League Cup Final the following year, losing to Chelsea. In 1966, Gordon Banks, who played for seven years at Leicester, represented World Cup winners England. After a bad start to the season, Matt Gillies resigned in November 1968. His successor, Frank O'Farrell was unable to prevent relegation, but the club reached the FA Cup final in 1969 for the last time to date, losing to Manchester City.

Jimmy Bloomfield (1971-1977)


In 1971, Leicester were promoted to Division One, and won the Charity Shield for the first and only time against Liverpool. Unusually, due to Division One champions Arsenals commitments in European competition, Division Two winners Leicester were invited to play FA Cup winners Liverpool, beating them 1-0. Jimmy Bloomfield was appointed for the new season, and his team remained in the First Division for his tenure. It included popular players such as Keith Weller, Frank Worthington and Alan Birchenall, who continues to play a role at the club today being particularly well known for presenting half-time entertainment. Leicester reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1974. No period since Bloomfield has seen the club remain in the top division for so long.

Ups and Downs (1978-1991)


Frank McLintock, a noted Leicester player for seven years during the successful period from the late Fifties to the mid Sixties, succeeded Jimmy Bloomfield in 1977. Due to Citys relegation at the end of the 1977-78 season and McClintocks subsequent resignation, he is regarded as one of Leicester's least successful managers. Jock Wallace resumed the tradition of successful Scottish managers (after Peter Hodge and Matt Gillies) by steering Leicester to the League Two championship in 1980. Unfortunately, Wallace was not able to keep Leicester in Division One, but they reached the FA Cup semi-final for the last time to date in 1982. Under Wallace, City's most famous homegrown player, Gary Lineker, emerged into the first team squad. Leicesters 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 went down, having failed to find a suitable replacement. Milne had left in 1986 and was replaced in 1987 by David Pleat, who oversaw one of the club's most unsuccessful periods in its history. He was sacked in January 1991 after a defeat that left City fourth from bottom.  Gordon Lee was put in charge of the club until the end of the season and Leicester won their final league game which guided them clear of relegation to the third tier of the football league.

The Play-Off Battle (1991-1994)


Brian Little, who had just taken Darlington from the Conference to the Third Division with successive promotions, was given the Managers job at Leicester and in his first season they qualified for the promotion Play-Offs. Leicester beat Cambridge United 6-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals, but lost out on a place in the new Premier League after a 1-0 defeat in the playoff final to Blackburn Rovers, the only goal of the game being scored by Blackburns Mike Newell, a former Leicester player. The goal, a penalty, came after a much disputed foul by Steve Walsh on David Speedie. Speedie became the subject of much hatred amongst Leicester City supporters, but signed for the club a year later.

Leicester suffered another playoff final defeat at the end of the 1992-93 Division One campaign. They managed to draw level with Swindon in the second half after trailing 3-0, only to concede another controversial penalty. In 1993-1994 it was third time lucky for Leicester as they beat East Midlands rivals Derby County 2-1 in the final to secure promotion to the Premiership after seven years outside the top division.

Relegation and Promotion (1994-1996)


Brian 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 Premiership campaign with just six wins from 42 league games. Leicester were flying high at the top of Division One when McGhee left the club unexpectedly in December 1995 to take charge at ‘sleeping giants’ Wolves.


McGhee was replaced by Martin O’Neill who, prior to his brief six-month spell as Norwich City Manager had taken Wycombe from the Conference to Division Two with two successive promotions. Under O'Neill, Leicester qualified for the 1995-96 Division One promotion Play-Offs and beat Crystal Palace 2-1 with a last-gasp Steve Claridge goal which secured an immediate return to the Premiership. O'Neill was recognised for both his ability in the transfer market, signing players like Neil Lennon, Muzzy Izzet, Matt Elliott and Tony Cottee, together with the performances he elicited from the team.

Success in the Top Flight (1996-2000)


Leicester established themselves in the Premiership with four successive top ten finishes. O'Neill was the first manager to win silverware for 26 years, winning the League Cup twice in 1997 and 2000, whilst Leicester were runners-up in 1999. This meant qualification for the UEFA Cup in 1997–98 and 2000–01, the club's first qualification for Europe since they played in the 1961-62 European Cup Winners Cup competition. O'Neill became a sought-after manager, turning down Leeds United in 1999, but in June 2000 he was lured to Celtic. He is regarded today as easily the best manager of recent years and one of the most successful in the clubs history. In April 2000, the club received a record £11 million from Liverpool for striker Emile Heskey.

Downfall and Fight Back (2000–2004)


Martin O'Neill was replaced by the former England U-21 coach Peter Taylor. For most of 2000-01, Leicester looked set to qualify for European competition and they had even topped the Premiership for two weeks in October. The wheels began to come off when they were knocked out of the FA Cup at the Quarter Final stage by Division Two side Wycombe Wanderers, which was followed by nine defeats from their final ten Premiership fixtures seeing them slip to 13th in the table. A terrible start to 2001-02 (a five nil defeat at home to newly promoted Bolton Wanderers) saw Taylor sacked after two months and replaced by Dave Bassett, who was unable to stop Leicesters season from going from bad to worse. In his 15 months at the club, Peter Taylor spent £23 million on transfer fees alone, by far the most of any Leicester manager. Particularly notorious was the club record fee of £5 million for Ade Akinbiyi, who scored 11 goals in 58 league appearances and the signing of Dennis Wise for £1.6 million, a 34 year old who was sacked for assaulting a team-mate. Some also blame former chairman John Elsom for his poor handling of the clubs finances. Just before relegation was confirmed, Bassett resigned to become Director of Football to make way for his assistant Micky Adams, who had quit the manager's job at Brighton six months earlier, to become Bassetts assistant. Leicesters last game of the 2001-02 season was also their last at Filbert Street, beating Spurs 2-1 to secure only their fifth Premiership win of a dismal season.

Leicester moved into the new 32,000-seat Walkers Stadium at the start of the 2002-03 season. Walkers, the locally based crisp manufacturer, became the clubs shirt sponsors and acquired the naming rights for a ten year period. In October 2002, the club went into administration with debts of £30 million. Some of the reasons were the loss of TV money, the large wage bill, lower than expected fees for players transferred to other clubs and the £37 million cost of the new stadium. Adams was banned from the transfer market for most of the season, until the club was rescued by a takeover by a consortium led by Gary Lineker. Adams guided Leicester to runners-up spot in Division One and automatic promotion back to the Premiership with more than 90 points. In reaction to Leicesters restructuring of their debts, the Football League changed their rules and now penalise teams going into administration with a ten point penalty. There was some bitterness from other clubs and a certain Neil Warnock over this point and because Leicester retained some good players from the Premiership (although several were sold). In an interview in mid 2006, Chairman Andrew Taylor stated debt was about £25 million, including a 'mortgage' of £15-18 million on the Walkers Stadium to the company (not the club) that owns it. Leicester were relegated from the Premiership in 2003-04 with 33 points, along with Leeds United and Wolves.

Life in the Championship (2004-2008)


Adams resigned as manager in October 2004 and Dave Bassett began a second (temporary) spell as manager assisted by former FA technical director Howard Wilkinson. The pair remained in charge at Leicester until Craig Levein was appointed Leicester City boss on Friday October 29th 2004. He had previously been manager of Hearts. Levein was unable to attain anything higher than a 15th place finish in the final table, Leicesters lowest for 14 years. Their dismal form continued into the 2005-06 season which saw some fans call for Leveins resignation as the team were near the bottom of the table after ten matches and fell into the relegation zone in January. He was sacked on 25th January 2006, despite a famous televised 3-2 FA Cup win over Premiership club Spurs just 17 days earlier. Many fans agreed that even though Levein didn't get the results on the pitch, his signings and other work off the pitch had left the club in a good position for the future. In particular, he brought many younger players to the club, which many fans thought were lacking under Micky Adams.

After winning three out of four games as caretaker manager and moving the club five places up the league, Rob Kelly was appointed to see out the rest of the season. Kelly steered Leicester to safety and in April 2006 was given the managers job on a permanent basis. Jim McCahill retired as chairman on 1st June 2006 and was replaced by Andrew Taylor.

The club was bought from the existing 55 shareholders by Milan Mandaric in February 2007. By this stage, they were mid-table in the Championship, too low to mount a promotion challenge but seemingly comfortably clear of relegation. However, a run of eight games without a win plunged the club back to the fringes of the relegation battle, prompting Mandaric to sack Kelly on 11th April 2007. Nigel Worthington was appointed as manager for the remaining five games of the season and under his management, a final position of 19th was achieved.

On 25th May 2007 Martin Allen was given a three-year contract to be the new permanent manager. However, his relationship with Milan Mandaric deteriorated rapidly and he left the club by mutual consent in August after just three months at the helm. Jon Rudkin, Steve Beaglehole and Mike Stowell took over as Caretaker Managers until 13th September, when Gary Megson was installed as the new permanent Manager. However, the managerial story took another twist when Megson walked out on the 24th October to take over from the sacked Sammy Lee at Bolton.  Frank Burrows and Gerry Taggart temporarily took charge, until Ian Holloway was appointed as Leicesters third permanent Manager of the season on 22nd October, after resigning from Plymouth.

Relegation to League One and Return to the Championship (2008-2009)


On 4th May 2008, Leicester Citys 0-0 draw at Stoke City was not enough to save the club from relegation due to other results going against them. This meant that Leicester played in League One during the 2008-09 season, the first time that Leicester had played in the third tier of English football. Their fall from grace would also see Holloway leave by mutual consent after less than a season at the club, being replaced by Nigel Pearson. The club returned to the Championship at the first attempt, finishing as champions of League One which was clinched after a 2-0 win at Southend United with 2 games in hand. The 2009-2010 season saw Leicesters revival under Pearson continue, as the club finished 5th and reached the Championship Play-Offs in their first season back in the second tier. Unfortunately, after a battling semi-final performance against Cardiff City coming back from 2-0 down on aggregate to briefly lead 3-2, City eventually lost in a penalty shoot-out.