Gary Lineker

This Week In History: Filbert Street Lights Up, Lineker Dazzles & Adams Returns

This week in Leicester City's 135-year history was a typically eventful one, laden with new developments and subplots aplenty.
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A week in time which included a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup clash with Atlético Madrid in 1961, a comeback 3-2 win over Swindon Town in 1988 and manager Gary Megson leaving the Club after just 41 days in 2007, also featured the three following Foxes memories...

First night under the lights

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Floodlights at Filbert Street
Floodlights at Filbert Street

Over the years, Filbert Street hosted many truly memorable matches under floodlights.

On Wednesday 23 October, 1957, the first-ever match under floodlights took place at Filbert Street - a prestige friendly fixture against Borussia Dortmund, which ended in a 1-0 victory for City.

Leicester, back in the old First Division as runaway Second Division champions, won this inaugural game under the lights courtesy of a goal from Sterling-born former striker Willie Gardiner.

The game itself, meanwhile, lived up to the occasion, as the local press enthused: "The new lights blazed and the football often rivalled them at Filbert Street last night."

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Floodlights at Filbert Street
Floodlights at Filbert Street

As a concession to the floodlights, Leicester played in a white strip with a dark blue edging.

As late as early October, Dortmund wrote to Leicester asking for the game to be cancelled, but Leicester’s directors stood firm and the match went ahead as planned, attracting a disappointing crowd of 18,398.

There had been various, sometimes bizarre, experiments with floodlights dating from the 1890s. These Victorian attempts included a spotlight following the ball around, a match at Stockport lit up from lights from the Manchester Ship Canal and a game at Celtic, when the ball kept hitting the wires suspending the lights strung across the pitch. 

Lineker's 29-minute hat-trick

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Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker

Gary Lineker scored 103 goals in Leicester's colours between 1978 and 1985.

During City's second successive campaign in the top flight under the management of Gordon Milne, Gary Lineker ended the campaign as the Club's top goalscorer with 28 strikes to his name.

Three of those efforts came in remarkable circumstances on Saturday 27 October, 1984, with the Academy product netting a stunning hat-trick in just 29 minutes during a 5-0 win over Aston Villa.

Steve Lynex's penalty and a solitary strike from Peter Eastoe added a touch of gloss to the scoreline at Filbert Street, while the Foxes ultimately concluded the 1984/85 season in 15th place.

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Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker

City's strike force was among the most potent in English football.

Between August 1982 and May 1985, the partnership between Lineker, Lynex and Alan Smith produced an incredible 156 goals as City earned a reputation as one of the most entertaining sides in the league.

Following his Second Division title with Leicester in 1980, Lineker later won the Charity Shield (Everton), Copa del Rey and European Cup Winners' Cup (FC Barcelona) and the FA Cup (Tottenham Hotspur).

Manager intrigue in East Midlands derby

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Micky Adams and Craig Levein
Micky Adams and Craig Levein

Micky Adams was Craig Levein's predecessor as manager at Leicester.

On Sunday 23 October, 2005, former Foxes manager Micky Adams returned to Filbert Way in charge of Coventry City to take on Craig Levein's City in the Championship.

Mark de Vries netted for Leicester either side of half-time to help the hosts win a hard-fought Midlands derby match after Coventry had gone ahead in the 24th minute through Gary McSheffrey.

Two De Vries headers ultimately turned the match on its head, while Joey Guðjónsson and Dion Dublin both also went close for Levein's men, being foiled by visiting keeper Clayton Ince.

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Mark de Vries
Mark de Vries

Mark de Vries netted a brace for the Foxes on Filbert Way.

City's starting line-up that day was: Douglas, Stearman, McCarthy, Dublin, Johansson, Sylla, Guðjónsson, Kisnorbo, Hamill, Hume, de Vries.

Levein would later leave the Club in January, with assistant Rob Kelly taking over, as the Foxes eventually finished 15th in the Championship table, losing just four of their final 16 matches.

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