Leicester City In The 21st Century: 2001/02
New additions at Filbert Street
Leicester City's 2001/02 first team squad was bolstered by the arrivals of Dennis Wise (£1.6M from Chelsea), Ian Walker (£2.5M from Tottenham Hotspur) and James Scowcroft (£3M from Ipswich Town) ahead of the new season.
A difficult opening
Despite a comprehensive summer spending spree and increased expectation for the Club's final year at Filbert Street, the 2001/02 campaign could hardly have got off to a worse start as newly-promoted Bolton Wanderers left Leicester with a 5-0 victory on the opening day of the season.
Walkers Stadium plans underway
Whatever happened during the season, though, it was not enough to dampen the excitement for the Club's move to their new home. Intriguingly, the venue was originally planned to be named the Walkers Bowl, as part of a partnership with long-time shirt sponsors Walkers Crisps. However, after fans protested against the 'bowl' element of the prospective title, Walkers Stadium was eventually settled on.
A move was needed
Despite the great affection which the Blue Army reserved for Filbert Street it was becoming clear that, in order to achieve the Club's objectives, a move was necessary. Both the Carling Stand and Double Decker Stand offered expansive views, but both the North Stand, pictured here, and the East Stand were decidedly low, modest areas of the ground.
The lack of height on the East Stand wasn't all bad news, though, as punters at the nearby Bentley bar could climb to the roof and watch the Foxes in action, all without the need to even buy a match ticket.
City's torrid start to the season continued and, following a fifth defeat in their opening eight games at Charlton, Peter Taylor left the Club and was replaced by a management team of Dave Bassett and Micky Adams. While Adams was a long-term option in the manager's hotseat, Bassett would be the main man for much of the season.
The form of Club record signing Ade Akinbiyi was becoming a real talking point with the former Wolves striker not scoring in the opening nine Premier League games.
Open days at the new ground
Despite City's fans beginning to accept they may inaugurate their new home in the First Division, thousands still attended several open days at the Walkers Stadium as building work continued on the new 32,000-capacity venue, which was sited just a stone's throw away from Filbert Street.
Relief for Akinbiyi
At the 10th attempt, Akinbiyi got off the mark in triumphant fashion, scoring a close-range goal to secure a 1-0 victory over Sunderland at Filbert Street on Saturday 3 November, 2001. The images of his celebration still resonate with the Foxes faithful as a defining moment of the Club's final season at their home of 111 years.
O'Neill's Celtic visit Leicester
Iconic former Foxes manager Martin O'Neill, the predecessor to Peter Taylor, returned to Filbert Street in April 2002 for a friendly fixture between his Celtic outfit and the Foxes. Over 10,000 Bhoys supporters made the trip south to witness their side win 1-0 as O'Neill took up an unfamiliar vantage point in the away dugout.
A piece of history
Ahead of City's last-ever game at Filbert Street, fans were invited to secure themselves a section of the famous turf as a memento of the Club's rich history there.
A 1-0 home defeat by Manchester United, courtesy of a strike from Ole Gunnar Solskjær, condemned Leicester to relegation on Saturday 6 April. Dave Bassett, meanwhile, would stand down as manager and become director of football, paving the way for Micky Adams to step up. Before the United game, Sir Alex Ferguson presented Bassett with a commemorative vase to mark his 1,000th game in management.
The last-ever game
Tottenham Hotspur were the visitors on 11 May as the Foxes played the final competitive fixture at Filbert Street. Before the game, Club Ambassador Alan 'The Birch' Birchenall embarked on just the latest of his annual end of season runs, raising thousands for local charities, in a tradition which extends to the present day.
The end of an era
Despite City knowing relegation had been confirmed, a party atmosphere awaited Leicester for the game itself with the Blue Army determined to give Filbert Street a fitting farewell.
The final goal
The players, too, rose to the occasion, with Academy graduate Matt Piper scoring the last goal to ever be scored at Filbert Street - the winner in a 2-1 success over Spurs.
A full house
Naturally, Filbert Street was packed out for its last-ever match, with a crowd of 21,716 in attendance for the game.
Past and present collide
This photo was taken from the skies during the game itself. You can see the players on the Filbert Street turf, while just a short distance away, the Club's new home waits on the horizon.
Farewell, Filbert Street
A painful sight as demolishing work continues on Filbert Street, the place where Leicester fans enjoyed some of the best moments of their lives cheering on the Foxes.
A new chapter begins
The new stadium was opened the following summer and, even though the Club suffered administration, Leicester were promoted back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. The move to Filbert Way also provided City with the foundations to build for the future. Fourteen years later, the Foxes won the Premier League title.