Leicester City Football Club started life as Leicester Fosse Football Club in 1884 in the East Midlands of England. The Club became known for being the winner of the Premier League in the 2015-16 Season, but experienced tragedy as well as triumph in 135 years of its history, as this Entry will explain.
Leicester Fosse Football Club was founded in 1884 by a group of amateur footballers. Initially the group arranged friendly matches against other local teams but by 1887 so many local lads were interested in playing the game, the Leicestershire Football Association was founded and a Challenge Cup Competition was established. Leicester Fosse, nicknamed The Fossils, entered the competition but lost in the second round.
England's Football League was founded in 1888 but Leicester Fosse were not one of the 12 clubs selected for it. That year Leicester Fosse recruited their first professional footballer, Harry Webb, and paid him 2s 6d per week.
Leicester Fosse won the Leicester Senior Cup in 1890 and 1891 and joined the Midland League in May 1891. They entered the FA Cup but lost in the first round.
In the League
Leicester Fosse were elected to the Second Division of the Football League in 1894 - the team only won one of their first six games in the League, but found their form and finished the season in fourth position in the League Table.
The 1897/8 season was turbulent for the Club. Money was raised by holding baseball games, athletics events and even a bazaar and Leicester Fosse became a Limited Company. Two players were selected to play for the Wales national team and the Club finished third in the Second Division. However, a number of players were expelled for bad behaviour. New players were brought in, but the Football Association investigated the deals. As a result, the chairman and a director resigned, the secretary was suspended and the Club had to pay a fine.
The team was depeleted in 1903 - as well as some players encountering the usual footballing injuries (including broken bones), their striker caught typhoid fever. The trainer added himself to the team for one match and scored the goal that won the game and saved the Club from having to apply for re-election to the Second Division. They did have to apply in 1903/4 when they finished bottom of the Second Division, but were successfuly re-elected.
Ups and Downs
Leicester Fosse were promoted to the First Division in 1908, but returned to the Second Division in 1909. The team suffered a record 12-0 defeat after celebrating a former team-mate's wedding the night before the match and experiencing a 'collective hangover', as the report of the subsequent investigation put it.
The Football Leagues were suspended during the Great War, but local friendly matches took place when footballers were home on leave from the armed forces. Matches between retired players also took place, and teams could borrow players from other clubs if necessary to make up a team of 11.
A New Era
As well as experiencing ups and downs in the Football League, the Club's financial fortunes also varied. 1911/12 had been a difficult season - players had to be sold, amateur players were recruited to keep the wage bill low, and the Club even had to ask for donations from supporters - but they were able to stay solvent. However, in 1919 the Club had no way to repay a debt of £3150 so it went into liquidation.
The Club was taken over by a new Board of Directors and was named Leicester City FC in honour of Leicester having been granted City status in June 1919. LCFC gained its new nickname, 'The Foxes', in 1922. More ups and downs ensued.
The team won the Second Division in 1924/5 and was promoted to the First Division again. They secured a record win of 10-0 over Portsmouth in 1928 - Arthur Chandler scored a double hat trick (six goals). In 1934 they reached the FA Cup Semi Final, but were relegated to the Second Division. They secured promotion again in 1936/7, but were relegated again in 1938/9.
The Football Leagues were suspended during the Second World War
Leicester Fosse played in various places in the early years, including Leicester's racecourse and cricket ground. On 7 November, 1891 they played their first match at Filbert Street, which would be the home of the Club until 2002 when a new stadium was built on Filbert Way. Originally known as the Walkers Stadium after its crisp-manufacturing sponsor, it was renamed the King Power Stadium in 2011 after the Thai company whose CEO had become Chairman of Leicester City Football Club.Linekergoalkeeperaway supporteretiquette for football spectatorsclassic football moments
One of the players, Harry Thorpe, died in March 1909 of influenza.
In the 1910/11 season, a new player, Ted 'Cock' Pheasant, died of peritonitis at the age of 33.
The chairman was killed in a helicopter crash in 2018.