Over the last three decades, Filbert has appeared on matchdays at Filbert Street and King Power Stadium - over 1,000 matches - loyally cheering the Foxes on from the sidelines and entertaining the crowd.
On 19 September, 1992, Filbert Fox made his first-ever appearance as the Club’s new mascot. He was introduced to the Filbert Street crowd in the First Division (now Championship) game against Brentford, when he appeared on the pitch with Alan ‘The Birch’ Birchenall and Gary Lineker, who were presenting a cheque for £5,000 to the winner of the Club’s lottery. Filbert was one of the first modern football mascots.
He followed a tradition of earlier Leicester mascots which included boys in schoolcaps with labels hung around their neck naming a favourite player in the 1920s and a gentleman who wore a long white coat and a blue and white top hat carrying a blue and white walking stick.
The tradition of using schoolboys as mascots, dressed in homemade Leicester City kits, continued after the Second World War. A schoolboy mascot was at the 1949 FA Cup Semi-Final. Another, named James Burfoot, was the official mascot in the 1950s.
He also wore a homemade kit and rang a miner’s bell which had been painted blue and white.
The matchday programme for the Brentford game in 1992 featured Filbert Fox as its leading story. The first published words ever written about Filbert were: 'Here’s the newest addition to the Filbert Street family. The new Leicester City Fox. And in CITY Matchday Magazine we’re running a great competition to find a new name for our fox. All you have to do is come up with a winning name and you’ll win a Leicester City playing kit of your choice'.
In those pre-internet days, entries had to be dropped into the ‘special fox box’ in the store at Filbert Street.
The winning entry was announced in the programme for the game against Barnsley a couple of weeks later. Under the headline, ‘It’s Filbert the Fox’, it was announced: ‘Our new Leicester City mascot has been christened Filbert the Fox by popular demand. We received an overwhelming response to name the new fox, and hundreds of you plumped for Filbert. We put all the entries for Filbert into a draw and the lucky winner was Mr T. Pearce’.
A wide range of names had been suggested. These included Septimus (after the famous pre-war Leicester City player Sep Smith), Englebert, Felix, Fearless Fred, and Bluey the Brush. Two entries paid tribute to manager Brian Little, who had guided Leicester City to the Wembley play-off final for a place in the Premier League four months earlier, and was to repeat the feat for the following two seasons.
These were 'B.L.U.E' (Brian Little’s Ultimate Exponent) and 'Brilliantte' (an anagram of Brian Little).
Filbert spent his first season resplendent in the Club’s new all-blue strip, which sported the Club’s new crest, a fox head on a white cinquefoil. This had replaced the running fox crest. The new badge was introduced in Filbert’s first season and was the basis of the present-day crest.
Over the next 30 years, Filbert has been a constant presence on matchdays, cheering on the team from the sidelines and entertaining the crowd with his antics. In the late 1990s, he was accompanied by Vicky Vixen and Cousin Dennis.
He has outlasted 19 managers and hundreds of players. He has made numerous visits to schools and to a whole variety of organisations around the city and county. He has also visited the United States of America, Sweden, India, Belgium, Hong Kong, Denmark and Spain representing the Club.
His biggest occasions were promotions to the Premier League, especially those at Wembley, the League 1 title win in 2009, the Championship title in 2014, the Premier League title in 2016, and the visits of Barcelona in 2003 and Real Madrid in 2011.
He even cycled from Leicester to Skegness raising money for The Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Foundation.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, when teams played in front of empty stadia, Filbert had never missed a home match. Over the seasons, Filbert has bumped into the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho.
Thirty years after his introduction to the people of Leicester, he is still going from strength to strength.
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King Power Stadium