Why Leicester Fosse?

History will be made today when the present Premier League champions take to the field for what is their first ever FA Cup tie at Goodison Park. The 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 chosen because the old Roman Road, known as the Fosse Way, had once passed through the area and a military encampment was constructed to protect it from attack near to the spot where it forded the River Soar. 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 a certain Miss Westland, as local folklore has it, suggested they constructed an enclosure at a site  on Walnut Street which, in turn, became Filbert Street.

Leicester Fosse Football Club first played in the Midland League before being elected in 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 by two goals to nil. Leicester Fosse, who found life difficult in Division One, were relegated at the end of the season and had become Leicester City when, in 1925, First Division football again returned to Filbert Street.

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 on the home of the local non-league club at Silver Lands, while their cup-tie hosts prepared quietly at home. Two excursion trains brought around one thousand travelling Everton fans to the East Midland textile town, and they helped swell the attendance to 21,000 people while £1,700 was taken at the gate.  The visitors were led by their record-breaking captain W.R. ‘Dixie’ Dean, and it took him just two minutes to give his side the lead. The home side were missing their record goal scorer Adam Chandler, but his replacement John Campbell, equalised five minutes later. Nevertheless, a goal from Jimmy Stein had restored the Everton lead when the game reached the interval.

Campbell again brought the tie level on fifty-two 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 at Wembley. The senior fans of both clubs, may remember when the two sides met for their second FA Cup tie on 30 March 1968, on a perfect playing surface at Filbert Street. They produced a memorable game that was won by three goals to one, by an Everton side who again went on to reach Wembley, but were beaten 1-0 by West Bromwich Albion.

By Tony Onslow

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