A record signing
In July 1980, in preparation for the return to the top division, manager Jock Wallace signed Partick Thistle’s Jim Melrose for a Club record fee of £250,000 to partner Alan Young. However, Wallace’s prediction of a successful season in the top flight proved to be vastly optimistic.
A double over Liverpool
Despite being in 21st position, Leicester won 2-0 at Anfield, ending Liverpool’s undefeated run of 85 home games. This framed picture commemorates that season’s double over Liverpool. It records Andy Peake’s unforgettable long-range goal at Filbert Street.
Cruyff for Leicester City?
In February 1981, Jock Wallace made an unsuccessful attempt to sign Dutch superstar Johan Cruyff. It very nearly happened.
Relegation and another promotion attempt
Following relegation in 1981, Jock Wallace’s side embarked on another promotion-hunting campaign in August 1981. Gary Lineker became an established first teamer. Mark Wallington was captain.
The three-goalkeeper game
In March 1982, Leicester City defeated Shrewsbury 5-2 in a memorable FA Cup Quarter-Final at Filbert Street. Mark Wallington’s incredible six-year ever-present run in the first team ended when he was injured. Forwards Alan Young and then Steve Lynex took over in goal.
FA Cup semi-finalists
Leicester City were defeated 2-0 in the FA Cup Semi-Final against an Ossie Ardiles-inspired Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park. Tommy Williams broke his leg and Ian Wilson scored an own goal. Here, John O’Neill is challenging Spurs goalkeeper Ray Clemence.
O’Neill goes to the World Cup
John O’Neill, a regular in the Northern Ireland side throughout the season, played in the World Cup finals in Spain alongside Martin O’Neill.
Wallace leaves City
In July 1982, after finishing eighth in the league, Jock Wallace shocked Leicester City by leaving to join to Motherwell, despite the best efforts of chairman Terry Shipman to prevent the move.
Milne takes over
The following month, the board appointed ex-Liverpool and England wing-half Gordon Milne as the new manager. He had been manager at Coventry City for the previous seven years.
A formidable striking partnership
Gordon Milne immediately picked Jock Wallace’s last signing, non-league Alvechurch’s Alan Smith, to be Gary Lineker’s strike partner. Over the next three seasons, they scored 122 goals between them.
A key loan signing
Gerry Daly’s loan signing from Gordon Milne’s old club acted as the catalyst for an unbeaten run of 15 games which took Leicester City to the third promotion spot. They thought they needed to win their last game, at home against Burnley, to ensure promotion.
Back in the top flight
Leicester drew 0-0 with Burnley, but promotion rivals Fulham lost at Derby in controversial circumstances when the referee ended the game early because of crowd problems. A Football League enquiry upheld the Fulham result and Leicester City were back in the top flight.
A new shirt logo and design
The 1983/84 season saw the introduction of a ‘running fox’ Club crest, and a new shirt design. This had vertical white stripes and, for the first time, a sponsor’s logo, advertising the Ind Coope Brewery.
City’s first Sunday fixture
Another sign of times changing was Leicester City’s first-ever Sunday afternoon fixture, in December 1983, an away game against Nottingham Forest which Leicester lost 3-2.
In a season when Paul Ramsey won his first caps for Northern Ireland, Gary Lineker, who scored 22 league goals that season, earned his maiden England cap. Both are pictured here later in their careers. Leicester City finished the 1983/84 season in 15th place in the old First Division.
The Club's centenary
In August 1984, many ex-players gathered at Filbert Street to help celebrate the Club’s centenary. A match between past and present Leicester teams acted as a precursor to the main event, a match against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen, who presented the Club with this memento.
In June 1985, after scoring over 100 goals for Leicester City and winning seven England caps, Gary Lineker was sold to league champions Everton for an initial fee of £800,000.
Wallington’s era draws to a close
The close season saw another significant departure when Mark Wallington moved to Third Division side Derby County after playing 460 games for the Foxes. These games included seven ever-present seasons, with six of these in succession.
Mauchlen and McAllister
In August 1985, Gordon Milne signed Motherwell duo Ali Mauchlen and Gary McAllister, who both went on to make a huge impact on Leicester City in the coming seasons.
Hamilton becomes team manager
Wigan Athletic manager Bryan Hamilton was appointed as assistant team manager in June 1986 to work in tandem with Gordon Milne, who became general manager for the next season.
A legend arrives
Bryan Hamilton’s first signing in August 1986 was young central defender Steve Walsh from Wigan Athletic for £100,000. During the next 14 years, Steve went on to become a true Club legend.
A new sponsorship
This centre-page spread from the 1987/88 season’s opening matchday programme records that this was the first of the 14 seasons that Leicester City wore the Walkers Crisps sponsors logo on their shirts.
With Leicester City near the foot of the Second Division table, Bryan Hamilton was sacked in December 1987. Chairman Terry Shipman was delighted to sign David Pleat, two months after his successful spell as Spurs manager had ended. Results improved dramatically. Leicester finished the season in 13th place.
This Leicester City squad, with new signings Alan Paris from Peterborough United and Tony Spearing from Norwich City were favourites for promotion, along with Chelsea. The season turned out to be a huge disappointment, with Leicester City only finishing 15th.
Kelly’s impressive start
Near the March 1990 transfer deadline, David Pleat paid £300,000 for West Ham United’s Republic of Ireland international striker David Kelly. His impact was immediate. He scored seven goals in his first seven games, helping Leicester City achieve a final position of 13th in Pleat's second season.
McAllister becomes an international player
This player profile from 'Free Kick Weekly' notes that Gary McAllister had been called up to the Scottish squad. Gary won his first cap of 57 when he was selected against East Germany on 25 April, 1990.