For many years, Leicester City did not have a crest on their shirts. In the earliest days of the Club, Leicester Fosse teams did sometimes sport the town of Leicester’s coat of arms on their shirts.
This consisted of a wyvern placed above the cinquefoil. These derived from the heraldic crests of the Earls of Leicester in the 12th and 13th centuries. After the 1890s, in the years leading up to the demise of Leicester Fosse in 1919, the Club wore a variety of home kits, none of which had a shirt crest.
After Leicester Fosse became Leicester City in 1919, there was no formalised crest either until 1948/49. This was when the fox’s head was introduced. Old football magazines, from the 1920s, such as Football & Sports Favourite and All Sports Weekly refer to Leicester City as the ‘Knuts’ (alluding to filbert nuts), and the ‘Citizens’.
From the 1920s onwards the most commonly used nickname for the Club was ‘The City’. The directors’ minutes book from July 1948 provides the first documentary evidence linking Leicester City with foxes. A single sentence states: “The design for the new jersey crest was approved.”
This design was based on a fox’s head. The Club’s archives contain the artist’s original drawings upon which the fox head crest was centred. The drawings were based on the head (or ‘mask’) of a fox killed by the Atherstone Hunt in 1922. Unfortunately, the artist’s name is now unknown.
These drawings are owned by Jane Palmer. Jane’s father, Sid Needham, was one of the directors who approved this design. A fox would come to feature on every single Leicester City crest from that point onwards.
The original crest based on this design was on the shirts of the team in the 1949 FA Cup Final against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
1949-1973 & 1979-1983
This crest included crops beneath the fox’s head, within a shield. Although there were several tweaks to the inside design, it remained fundamentally unchanged until 1983. It was the crest worn in the FA Cup Finals in 1961, 1963 and 1969 and in the League Cup Finals in 1964 and 1965.
The fox and crops were placed inside a roundel for six years too. Depending on which colour shirt the crest was set upon, the background colour would change to adapt. A circular badge would return in 1992.
In 1983, the crest was replaced by a running fox motif, which lasted until 1992. This graced the shirts of players such as Gary Lineker, Alan Smith, Steve Lynex, John O’Neill, Paul Ramsey and Mark Wallington among others. Its appearance in 1983 coincided with the Club’s first-ever sponsored shirt. Its final appearance was in the 1992 old First Division play-off final against Blackburn Rovers for a place in the new Premier League.
In 1992, a crest recognisable to the one of today introduced a city element in the shape of the cinquefoil from Leicester’s coat of arms. This was placed behind the fox’s head. The fox was retained to represent the county element of the Club’s support and to provide a link with past badges.
The Club's move to a new stadium, now called King Power Stadium, motivated some subtle changes to the design, with thicker typography and border lines as the major new additions. City won promotion in their first season with this crest and played Premier League football with it in 2003/04.
It was amended further, for one year only across the 2009/10 season, to mark the Club's 125th anniversary. Leicester City's home shirt was also devoid of a major sponsor to mark the occasion.
The modern-day crest, introduced in 2010, features a fox with white cheeks, while the design of the font for the words ‘Leicester City Football Club’ surrounding the fox head was changed. This was the crest adorned during the Club's most successful-ever era - featuring on shirts as the Foxes won the Premier League, Emirates FA Cup and FA Community Shield, while also appearing in European competitions over several seasons.