From Leicester Fosse to Leicester City…

The Premier League champions are at Goodison Park this afternoon but did you know that the club played for 25 years after its formation before becoming Leicester City?

Today’s visitors were formed in 1884 by a group of young men from a local evangelical chapel who decided to form a football team that they chose to call Leicester Fosse. This suffix was selected because the old Roman Road, known as the Fosseway, had once passed through the area. The group then all agreed to pay nine old pence membership fee and another nine pence was collected to purchase a football. They then played at several different locations before, according to local folklore, a certain Miss Westland suggested they construct an enclosure at a site on Walnut Street which, in turn, became Filbert Street.

Leicester Fosse first played in the Midland League before being elected to the Football League Division Two in 1893. In 1908 they gained promotion to the top flight and faced Everton for the first time on 19 December 1908. The game took place at Filbert Street where Everton won 2-0. Leicester Fosse, who found life difficult in Division One, were relegated at the end of the season and became Leicester City in 1919 when the borough was granted city status. On 14 January 1933 they faced Everton for the first time in an FA Cup tie. The Everton party spent the week preparing for the game at the spa town of Buxton where they ‘took the waters’, bathed and trained at the home of the local non-league team at Silverlands. Two excursion trains brought around 1,000 travelling Everton fans to Leicester and they helped swell the attendance to 21,000, with £1,700 taken at the gate. Everton were led by Dixie Dean and it took him just two minutes to give his side the lead.

The home side were missing their own record goalscorer, Adam Chandler, but his replacement, John Campbell, equalised five minutes later before a goal from Jimmy Stein had restored the Everton lead before half-time. Campbell again brought the tie level on 52 minutes but a deciding goal, scored by Jimmy Dunn, eventually won the tie for an Everton side who went on to lift the trophy with a 3-0 win over Manchester City in the final at Wembley.

Howard Kendall volleys home the second goal in Everton’s 3-1 FA Cup quarter- final victory over Leicester at Filbert Street in 1968

The senior fans of both clubs today will remember when the two sides met for their second FA Cup tie in March 1968 at Filbert Street. They produced a memorable game that was won 3-1 by Everton who again went on to reach the final, but were beaten 1-0 by West Bromwich Albion. So, if the two previous encounters are anything to go by, we’re in for a good old-fashioned FA Cup tie at Goodison this afternoon. Here’s hoping!

By Lyndon Lloyd

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