1999/00 - Elliott's day in the sun at Wembley
The two goals which eventually sealed glory for the Foxes on 27 February, 2000 - a year after losing the showpiece to Tottenham Hotspur - were strikingly similar. Steve Guppy corners, headed home, one via the crossbar, the other tucked away into the bottom corner, by City’s captain fantastic, Matt Elliott.
Despite facing Tranmere Rovers, a division below Martin O'Neill's established Premier League outfit, it was a tense affair at Wembley Stadium.
After Elliott’s first, Tranmere had Clint Hill sent off in the capital, but losing numerical parity on the pitch didn’t prevent former Fox David Kelly from levelling matters in the second half.
A nightmare scenario of losing the final to lower-league opposition, shortly after a tabloid scandal, could so easily have become a reality for Leicester, but they were too experienced.
The day belonged to Elliott, who holds a special place in Leicester City’s history as the man who sealed the Club’s first and, to date, only Wembley cup final triumph.
Many of the standout memories for Elliott involve his father. “I saw him after the game,” the ex-Scotland defender recalls. “He was the same as me, he was just shaking his head, saying: ‘I can’t believe this, I can’t believe this. Where’s all this come from?’
“I was like: ‘I don’t really know myself, dad, but let’s just enjoy it, eh!’ He was an inspiration to me, as is the case with a lot of sons and fathers. I absolutely loved him to bits. My youngest son was due to be born that day… his mum was thinking I was going to go to the hospital if he was born that day and miss the final… which was never going to happen!
“Thankfully, he waited three days, so I could enjoy the celebrations of winning the cup. It was just a special day really.”
1996/97 - Claridge sends the Foxes into Europe!
Middlesbrough, Leicester's opponents in the 1997 final, had failed to win a trophy in 121 years. While City's barren spell was only 33 years, that previous success, back in 1964, was the one trophy the Club had ever lifted outside of a solitary Charity Shield, in 1971, and the 1941 Wartime Cup.
City would meet Boro at Wembley on 6 April, 1997. Juninho, Emerson and Fabrizio Ravanelli all started for the North East outfit, who had systematically pulled Leicester apart in a 3-1 win at Filbert Street just a month earlier. The margin on the scoresheet was flattering to City.
After a goalless 90 minutes, Ravanelli rocketed Bryan Robson’s men in front early on in extra-time and, for the second time in as many years, Foxes fans were watching the clock. The prize for the victors was a place in the UEFA Cup, but the Blue Army were seeing the opportunity pass them by.
With two minutes of the extra 30 remaining, City knew all they could salvage was a replay, as shootouts were yet to be introduced to League Cup finals. A long ball was lofted upfield, Steve Walsh nodded it down to Mark Robins and the former Norwich City man sent it into the area.
Walsh, now in the area, headed the ball back to where it had came from, locating Heskey, whose header cannoned back off the bar. Desperate to scramble the ball over the line in whatever way possible, Claridge and Heskey tussled with Gianluca Festa in the six-yard box. It was Heskey who rescued a replay.
Generous ticket allocations and the close proximity of Hillsborough’s stands to the pitch resulted in a cacophonous atmosphere in the replay. A wall of noise greeted the two sides as captains Nigel Pearson and Steve Walsh led their teams out. Once again, Middlesbrough were favourites.
A tight, tactical battle unfolded. The Boro fans roared ‘boring, boring Leicester’ in protest at the Foxes’ defensive rear-guard. Heskey hit the post. Keller saved from Juninho. Ravanelli was unlucky not to defy the American stopper again. It was goalless, however, at full-time.
As the scoreboard switched from two digits to three, in the 100th minute, Mike Whitlow's deep free-kick was won by Walsh, who headed it to Claridge. He had the intelligence to be in the right place at the right time, too, and his finish was absolutely perfect, into the corner. A second major trophy was theirs.
1963/64 - A maiden major piece of silverware
When Leicester City won the League Cup in 1964, it was the first time that the Club had won a major national cup competition. They were only the fourth team to win this trophy, which had been inaugurated just three seasons earlier.
For the first six years of its existence, the League Cup Final was contested over two legs before it was moved to Wembley in 1967. To reach the 1964 final, Leicester City defeated Aldershot, Tranmere Rovers, Gillingham and Norwich City before beating a strong West Ham United side.
The first leg of the semi-final at Filbert Street was a thrilling game which saw Leicester emerge as 4-3 winners. This was followed by a 2-0 victory in the second leg at Upton Park with goals from Frank McLintock and Bobby Roberts. West Ham's side included Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst.
The first leg of the showpiece, on 15 April, 1964, was against Stoke City at their waterlogged Victoria Ground.
The home side dominated the play and Leicester were lucky to escape with a 1-1 draw. The visitors’ defence, with Gordon Banks making several world-class saves, held firm until the 62nd minute when Keith Bebbington scored. Davie Gibson, though, equalised 12 minutes from time for the Foxes.
The second leg of the final was at Filbert Street a week later. Mike Stringfellow opened the scoring for City after six minutes. Dennis Viollet levelled the scoreline, however, soon after half-time, but second half goals from Davie Gibson and Howard Riley gave the home side a 3-1 lead.
George Kinnell scored for Stoke City in injury time, making the aggregate score 4-3 to Leicester City.
After the game, the 25,000 strong Filbert Street crowd saw skipper Colin Appleton receive the League Cup. The victorious players each received a tankard rather than the traditional medal. The tankards presented to Howard Riley and Graham Cross are on display at King Power Stadium.