Leicester City were formed in 1884 under their previous name Leicester Fosse. The name derived from “Fosse Way”, an ancient Roman road which spread across half the length of England and passed through the Leicestershire county, also inspiring the names of various streets and landmarks in the area. Leicester moved around a lot in their early years before finally settling down at Filbert Street. They would play their home games there for the next 111 years before finally moving into the newly constructed Walkers Stadium at the turn of the century. Naming rights were subsequently sold in 2011 and the ground became known under its current name, the King Power Stadium.
Leicester were once known as “The Fossils” during their time as Leicester Fosse, “The Filberts” upon moving into Filbert Street and finally “The Foxes”, which has stuck. They are still known today as The Foxes, a name inspired by the rich historic tradition of fox-hunting in the Leicestershire area. Their badge is still adorned with the image of a fox to this day.
The club became a fully fledged member of the Football League in 1894. At the beginning of the following century, after a couple of mediocre seasons in the Second Division, they were promoted to the First Division in 1908. However, their first season in the big time proved to be an epic disaster. Not only were they immediately relegated back to the Second Division, but they also suffered a 12-0 thrashing against their greatest rivals Nottingham Forest, a scoreline which remains their biggest ever defeat. Leicester have played out many a memorable East Midlands Derby against Forest, but this was certainly one to forget. A decade later, due to a financial scandal the club was reformed as Leicester City in 1919 and that is how they continue to be known today.
Throughout the 20th Century, Leicester City were either an average to below average top flight outfit or a Second Division side. During those decades, they did win the Second Division seven times, as they yo-yo’d back and forth between the leagues. In 1964, they won their first piece of major silverware when they captured the League Cup. They would go on to win that same cup twice more in 1997 and 2000. In 2014, Leicester won their most recent second tier title when they won the Championship and achieved promotion back to the Premier League.
The following season saw The Foxes predictably embroiled in a bitter relegation battle. However, despite the club being marooned at the bottom of the table for four-and-a-half months between late November and mid-April, Leicester - under the control of coach Nigel Pearson - somehow managed to put together a run of seven wins from their last nine fixtures to escape relegation.
A year later came the club’s most defining moment to date. In 2016, Pearson was replaced by Claudio Ranieri. The appointment of the infamous “Tinkerman” - a journeyman coach who enjoyed a respectable but not spectacular spell at Chelsea more than a decade prior - was not met with great fanfare. Many pundits predicted The Foxes would go down. Ranieri, with a team made up of mostly the same players who barely survived relegation the season prior, did the unthinkable and won the Premier League. Leicester City became the first new Champions of England in 38 years. With a squad costing a combined £54m, one million pounds less than what Manchester City paid for Kevin De Bruyne alone, Leicester made history and left the entire sporting world in utter shock and disbelief.
Many of the greats from that squad, including the likes of N’Golo Kante, Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez, have since left the club. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t worry the Leicester faithful too much. Brendan Rodgers has built another fantastic squad from hungry, talented players like James Maddison and Harvey Barnes and can still rely on the goalscoring exploits of the incomparable Jamie Vardy. Last season The Foxes narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification and many expect them to challenge for the title once more this season. Could the greatest miracle in the history of sport be repeated? Almost every neutral football fan in England and indeed the world will hope so.