2013/14 - Pearson's Leicester end 10-year Premier League exile
As Leicester City approached 2013/14, there was little certainty about how the Foxes would fare after May 2013. The impact of Troy Deeney's right boot - scoring a last-minute winner in the Championship Play-Off Semi-Finals in extraordinary scenes at Vicarage Road - had left a real, emotional mark.
Manager Nigel Pearson retained a resolute faith in the players who had come so close to ending a nine-year absence from the top-flight and that was rewarded with one of the Club's best-ever seasons. Signings, meanwhile, included Marcin Wasilewski, Dean Hammond and, eventually, Kevin Phillips.
Aside from occasional missteps, including when former Fox Yann Kermorgant netted against his old employers in a 2-1 win for Charlton at The Valley, Leicester won 15 games before the New Year. It was a brief hiccup, though, as the Foxes embarked on a historic march towards promotion.
This was a triumph years in the making. Under Chairman Khun Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Club had built the foundations required. It was a side which included the likes of Kasper Schmeichel and Jamie Vardy. Riyad Mahrez would join later too. A truly brilliant team was forming.
Between 21 December, 2013 and 1 February, 2014, the Foxes won a Club-record nine games in a row in a run of form which included fondly-remembered triumphs over Derby County and Leeds United.
By the time Sheffield Wednesday visited King Power Stadium, just a week after a euphoric, but fraught, 2-0 victory at second-placed Burnley, Leicester were on the cusp of achieving their 10-year dream.
That win - courtesy of Anthony Knockaert's free-kick - was Leicester's 27th of the season and meant they'd finally win promotion if third-placed Queens Park Rangers lost at AFC Bournemouth and Derby failed to win at Middlesbrough a day later.
On 5 April, the Rams and the Rangers suffered lost. The Foxes faithful could rejoice. We were back. Finally. New Club landmarks for total points (102), league wins (31), home triumphs (17), consecutive victories (9) and successive away success (5) were secured. However, there was more to come.
1979/80 - Youthful City back in the top tier
In June 1978, Foxes manager Jock Wallace had inherited a demoralised and ageing side from Frank McLintock which had just been relegated from the top flight having only won five of its 42 games.
During the Scotsman's first season in charge (1978/79), Leicester finished in a lowly 17th position in the Second Division, but this was a campaign in which he was building for the future.
He was developing young players like Tommy Williams, John O’Neill, Larry May, Andy Peake, Dave Buchanan and Gary Lineker. He also signed Martin Henderson from Glasgow Rangers and Bobby Smith from Hibernian
Jock’s skill was to encourage and develop these players. He had the knack of making them believe in themselves. This plan came to fruition in 1979/80 when City became Second Division champions for a then-record sixth time.
In time for the start of the 1979/80 season, Wallace signed Alan Young from Oldham Athletic, Pat Byrne from Shelbourne and future Scotland international Ian Wilson from Elgin City. He also utilised the experience of his captain Mark Wallington, Dennis Rofe and Eddie Kelly.
Leicester were in the promotion race throughout the season, although they did suffer the humiliation of being knocked out of the FA Cup in January by Isthmian League side Harlow Town, but by February, they were top of the table.
Despite strong promotion challenges from Chelsea, Sunderland and Birmingham City, Leicester were never below third place for the rest of the season. They won six and drew one of their last seven games of the season, defeating Chelsea and Birmingham in the process.
The team regained the top spot four games from the end of the season following a 1-0 victory at Wrexham.
Promotion and the title were finally confirmed at Brisbane Road on the last afternoon of the season when Larry May’s goal secured a 1-0 victory over Leyton Orient, with Sunderland dropping a point on the same day. The Foxes were back in the big time and Wallace had lofty ambitions.
1970/71 - A late dash to the championship
After 12 seasons in the top flight, Leicester City had been relegated in 1969, three weeks after they had narrowly lost the FA Cup Final to Manchester City.
Manager Frank O’Farrell, who had become City’s manager in December 1968, had almost got them promoted in 1970, but narrowly missed out by two points, finishing third (in those pre play-off days, only the top two teams were promoted).
The team still had some stars from the First Division days such as Peter Shilton, David Nish, John Sjoberg, Graham Cross, Len Glover, Malcolm Manley and Mike Stringfellow. John Farrington, Rodney Fern, Ally Brown and Steve Whitworth were also key members of the side.
O’Farrell, wanting more aggression in midfield, then signed Willie Carlin and Bobby Kellard, whom he referred to as his street fighters. By the end of 1970, Leicester were established at the top of the table but defeats by Middlesbrough and Birmingham City saw them slip down the table.
The team nevertheless went undefeated in the remaining 17 games of the season. They won 10 of these fixtures, and only conceded five goals, with the Foxes back in first place in the table for the last 10 games.
Both promotion and the title were achieved in the penultimate game of the season when top scorer Ally Brown netted in a 1-0 victory at Ashton Gate over Bristol City. The trophy was presented to captain David Nish at the last game of the season at Portsmouth.
Peter Shilton only conceded 23 goals all season and was rewarded with a place in the England side. O’Farrell’s achievement in guiding Leicester to their fifth Second Division title resulted in him being appointed as manager of Manchester United at the end of the season.
Jimmy Bloomfield was appointed as his successor at Filbert Street and a new top flight era for the Club was about to begin.
1956/57 - Rowley fires Leicester to the title
Relegated after one season following the 1953/54 title, Leicester City finished sixth in the Second Division in 1955/56 before becoming Second Division title holders again a year later. The manager was David Halliday and his Foxes outfit won the title in style, breaking many Club records.
These included: most wins (25), most away victories (11), fewest defeats (6) and their highest points tally (61), when there were only two points for a win. City also hit 109 goals, a staggering 44 of which came from one player, Arthur Rowley.
The team went to the top of the table in October 1956, following a 6-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers and stayed there for the rest of the season, apart from two weeks at the end of November and the beginning of December, when they were second.
With five games to go, they defeated promotion rivals Nottingham Forest 2-1 away. This was followed by a 5-3 home victory over West Ham United.
This result secured promotion with the team scoring its 100th goal in a single season for the first time in its history.
The title, meanwhile, was confirmed with three games to go after a 5-1 away victory over Leyton Orient, who then defeated Leicester 4-1 two games later in the last fixture of the season at Filbert Street. In the end, City won the title seven points clear of second placed Nottingham Forest.
Crowds during the season averaged over 30,000. During Halliday's time at the Club, meanwhile, he introduced a strong Scottish element to Filbert Street – 19 of his 31 signings were from Scotland, earning Leicester City the nickname of ‘Leicester Thistle’.
These included Frank McLintock, Dave McLaren, John Ogilvie and the prolific goalscorer Willie Gardiner. His legacy was a strong one. Signings including Frank McLintock, Len Chalmers and Richie Norman, among others, all went on to become crucial members of the successful Leicester era of the 1960s.
1953/54 - The five-year plan pays off... eventually!
In the fifth year of manager Norman Bullock’s five-year plan to get Leicester City back into the top division, the Club's supporters had to endure a nervous wait to see if he would achieve his objective at Filbert Street.
As a result of a 14-match unbeaten run between the third and 16th matches, City were top of the table by the end of October. A month later, they beat Lincoln City 9-2 at Filbert Street, with Derek Hines scoring five goals.
Leicester, top of the table in the New Year, then suffered three league defeats (including a 7-1 reverse at Leeds) before recovering. In March, to boost their final push for promotion, the Foxes signed Portsmouth’s Jack Froggatt, who had played for England both at centre-half and left wing.
By Easter, Leicester’s main promotion rivals were Everton and Blackburn Rovers. City, though, lost 3-0 to Rovers on Good Friday and could only draw with Notts County the next day. Their dream of promotion was looking unlikely as teams around them picked up form.
Two days later, on Easter Monday, the Foxes then overcame Blackburn 4-0 in front of a home crowd of over 40,000. Arthur Rowley and Johnny Morris each scored twice. This was the penultimate game of the season.
Skippered by Matt Gillies, Leicester clinched promotion by winning their last game of the season at Brentford. They were able to beat Everton to the second Division title on goal average (which was used instead of goal difference). The margin was 0.3 of a goal. It was one of the closest title races in history.
Bullock’s philosophy of 'Attack! Attack! Attack!' accounted for the team, spearheaded by Arthur Rowley (30 goals) and Derek Hines (19), scoring a then Club record 97 league goals. Today, Bullock is included in Managers’ Hall of Fame display in the Directors’ Lounge at King Power Stadium.
Few teams in the Club's history have displayed such fearsome attacking prowess.
1936/37 - A simply stunning turnaround in fortunes
At the start of the 1936/37 campaign, City were in their second season back in the Second Division, following their relegation in 1935, after 10 years in the top flight. Their manager, Arthur Lochhead, who had been a star of the successful Leicester side of the late 1920s and early 1930s, had been manager.
He'd been in post for two years following the unexpected death of Peter Hodge in August 1934. Lochhead, though, resigned after the second match of the season due to disagreements with the board. By the start of November, the Foxes had slipped to 21st out of 22 sides in the Second Division.
The Club then appointed Frank Womack, Grimsby Town’s manager. Womack had previously taken Grimsby to fifth position in the top flight in 1935, but what happened next was little short of a miracle.
Womack made two key signings. He brought in Derby County’s ex-England international centre-forward Jack Bowers, for a Club record fee of £7,500, and Nottingham Forest’s outside-left Eric Stubbs.
In a side captained by England international Sep Smith, Bowers scored 12 goals in his first six matches, and netted a total of 33 goals in the remaining 27 fixtures of the season. Leicester rose to second place in February 1937 and stayed there until the start of the last match of the season.
City won all of their last five matches of the campaign too. During this late run. a then Filbert Street record league crowd of 39,127 saw the Foxes beat Aston Villa 1-0. Promotion was secured in the penultimate game, a 2-1 victory at home over Nottingham Forest. It was quite a remarkable achievement.
In the last game of the season, a 4-1 victory over Spurs at Filbert Street, took Leicester to the top spot for the first time all season, thereby enabling the team to become Second Division champions, with Blackpool as runners-up.
As Second Division champions, the Club then embarked on an East European tour, playing matches in Romania, Hungary and Yugoslavia.
1924/25 - A new dawn gathers steam for City
This was the fourth season since Leicester City had been reconstructed following the demise of Leicester Fosse in 1919. In the three campaigns preceding this promotion year, the Club, guided by manager Peter Hodge, had made significant strides forward.
A new Main Stand had been built at Filbert Street in 1921, and the Club had just missed promotion on goal difference in 1923. In this fourth season (1924/25) City were promoted to the top flight by securing the Second Division title for the first time since the formation of Leicester Fosse in 1884.
The core players of the title-winning side included Hodge’s signings of Adam Black, Arthur Chandler, Hugh Adcock, Arthur Lochhead, Billy Newton, Reg Osborne, Jack Bamber, Pat Carrigan, George Carr, and goalkeeper Albert Godderidge, together with new signings Harry Hooper and Howard Wadsworth.
The season started slowly with the Club gaining only three points from the first five matches. By the end of September, Leicester had slipped to 17th position.
However, by Christmas Day 1924, when City beat Port Vale 7-0 with captain Johnny Duncan scoring six of the goals, the Club was in fourth place and fighting for promotion. This festive victory was part of an 18-match undefeated run, a sequence which included 14 wins, seven of which were in succession.
At the end of the run, the team were at the top of the table, a position they maintained until the end of the season, by which time they had only lost once in the previous 25 matches. Crucial to the success were the goals of Arthur Chandler and Johnny Duncan who respectively scored 32 and 30 goals each.
Promotion was finally sealed in the penultimate game of the campaign, a 1-0 home victory over Bradford City. The Second Division championship, on the other hand, was secured by a 4-0 home victory over Stockport County on the last day.
This achievement laid the foundations for the successful years which followed with City finishing third in the top flight in 1928 and runners-up, missing the title by just one point, in 1929.