Blue and white City
The Club narrowly missed promotion in 1899, but finished bottom of the league in 1903/4. This was the first season they wore the traditional kit of blue shirts and white shorts.
Ex-player Jimmy Blessington was appointed as the Club’s first-ever team manager in January 1907.
Filbert Street was upgraded in 1907/08. There was a new boundary wall, the Kop’s earth bank was developed and the Main Stand was partially rebuilt and extended.
Flying up the league
Averaging crowds of nearly 13,000, and captained by ex-England centre half Billy Bannister, Fosse were finally promoted to the top division in 1908.
The Fosse players were awarded gold medals for being promoted. This one was awarded to full back Harry Thorpe. Tragically, he caught influenza towards the end of the season and died in September 1908.
The Fosse team of 1907/8 included Fosse’s record goalscorer Fred Shinton.
There was also room for England goalkeeper (and future Olympic gold medalist) HP Bailey.
Hopes for Fosse’s only 1st Division season were high. This contemporary commemorative postcard wishes the Club 'a prosperous future, 'till the Championship they gain'.
To prepare for the 1st Division, the famous football stadium architect Archibald Leitch was consulted. Improvements included putting a bath and shower in the away changing room.
One to remember
To commemorate the Club’s season in the top division, this postcard depicted some of the Fosse players (together with the secretary Johnson), and a contemporary view of Filbert Street in the background.
The team sheet for Fosse’s first ever game in the top division, a 1-1 home draw against Sheffield Wednesday, in front of 16,000 fans. This document was written the day before the game.
Peel Croft Stand
In October, Fosse played under lights for the first time. This was at Burton United’s Peel Croft ground in a benefit match against Blackburn Rovers for the Moira Colliery Disaster Fund.
Following this creditable 1-1 draw at Villa Park, Fosse lost 13 of their next 17 games, winning only one. Relegation became unavoidable despite the arrival of the Scotland and Newcastle United star Andy Aitken as captain and player-manager.
Fosse also fared badly in the FA Cup that season. This mock funeral card refers to Fosse’s defeat to Derby, even though some of the match details described are inaccurate!
Worse was to follow, a 0-12 defeat by Forest. A League enquiry established that the players had been suffering from a hangover following the wedding of ex-team mate, Everton’s Bob ’Leggy’ Turner the day before.
With Leicester Fosse heading for relegation, these Directors’ Minutes from April 1909 highlight the Club’s critical financial state. The £500 overdraft would be the equivalent of £50,000 today.