Leicester in dreamland

Iconic Shirt Numbers: Magical Foxes No.5s

The No.5 shirt has been adorned by some of the most famous and admired players to ever feature for Leicester City Football Club.
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In 1952, former medical student and RAF recruit, Matt Gillies signed for Norman Bullock's City, starting a 16-year association with the Filbert Street club.

The £9,500 capture from Bolton Wanderers boosted Leicester's defensive ranks, while his excellent air of authority eventually led to him owning the captain's armband too.

As Foxes skipper, Gillies led his team-mates to the Second Division title in 1954, when Leicester finished level on points with Everton, but took the championship on goals ratio.

After making 111 appearances for the Club, with Jack Froggatt emerging as a fine replacement, the Scot took up a position on City's backroom team, despite work offers from Italy.

By 1958, following the departure of David Halliday, the Loganlea-born former defender took his seat in the manager's office at Leicester's Belvoir Drive training ground.

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Matt Gillies
Matt Gillies

After a spell as captain, Gillies also became the Club's manager.

It was Gillies who signed future World Cup winner Gordon Banks for £7,000 from Chesterfield, while also bringing in the likes of Dave Gibson, Lenny Glover, Derek Dougan and Mike Stringfellow.

Later on, meanwhile, Peter Shilton came through the Academy ranks, while Frank McLintock, Graham Cross and David Nish also joined as City embarked on a vintage mid-20th century era.

As manager, Gillies guided the Foxes to winning their first League Cup in 1964, reaching another final one year later, while also competing in the FA Cup Final on two occasions.

Fellow Scotsman, Ian King, on the other hand, followed in Froggatt's footsteps to cement a place in City's backline, playing for Gillies' Leicester between 1957 and 1965. 

Initially signing at Filbert Street on a part-time basis after being released by Hearts, King combined his schedule of training with work shifts at the Desford Colliery in Leicestershire.

After only three appearances for the Club's reserves, Halliday entrusted King with a promotion to the first team squad, but he was always in competition with Tony Knapp for the No.5 shirt. 

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Ian King
Ian King

King was among the most accomplished defenders in England during his time as a Fox.

Of the four cup finals mentioned earlier, however, King only missed the second leg of the lost League Cup showpiece against Chelsea in 1965, before eventually losing his position to John Sjoberg.

Another Scot, Sjoberg in fact lined up alongside King in the Foxes' team for much of their time together in Leicester's set-up, becoming a linchpin of City's much-celebrated cup teams as a right-back.

In the run-in to the 1965 final, Sjoberg scored the winning goal in Leicester's League Cup Semi-Final triumph over Plymouth Argyle at Home Park, until the arrival of Peter Rodrigues, sparking a change in roles.

Indeed, many of the Aberdeen local's 413 appearances for the Foxes came as Cross' centre-back partner, and he was even tested, by Gillies, as a makeshift centre-forward on one occasion in 1967/68.

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John Sjoberg
John Sjoberg

Sjoberg competes with Huddersfield's Frank Worthington, who'd later join Leicester himself.

One of Sjoberg's final contributions at Filbert Street came as one part of a side which registered the Club's fifth Second Division title in 1970, as Frank O'Farrell's men conceded just 39 goals.

Leicester's sixth second tier success, meanwhile, was booked in 1980, with Larry May, wearing No.5, scoring on the final day of the season at Leyton Orient to secure Jock Wallace's men the league title.

When the play-offs were introduced to the Football League, however, one man would write his name into the Club's folklore and secure a place in the hearts of all supporters - Steve Walsh.

The centre-back joined City from Wigan Athletic in 1986, remaining at Filbert Street until 2000, making him the longest-serving player at the Club by a long stretch at the time.

As the never-say-die embodiment of what Leicester fans expected from their players, Walsh's defensive prowess - and ability to play upfront also - quickly endeared him to the Blue Army.

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Steve Walsh
Steve Walsh

Walsh leads the celebrations after beating Derby at Wembley.

As Brian Little's captain in 1992/93, meanwhile, Walsh was indeed utilised most commonly as a striker, netting 15 goals, including one effort in the subsequently lost play-off final against Swindon Town.

That heartbreak, though, would eventually be replaced by joy as, in 1994, Walsh netted both of Leicester's goals in a 2-1 success over Derby County to secure the Club's place in the Premier League.

While City's stay in the top flight was limited to just one season, Walsh was there again, now under Martin O'Neill's management, as the Foxes returned in the early summer of 1996.

His role in that success, before four consecutive top-10 finishes in the Premier League, two League Cup triumphs and as many forays in European football, added to Walsh's status as a Leicester icon.

In total, Walsh made 449 appearances for the Club in all competitions, 11 of which came in play-off fixtures, outlining perfectly why Wembley was often referred to as a 'second home' across the 1990s.

The same legendary status must surely be afforded to the current incumbent of the No.5 shirt, centre-back Wes Morgan - the first player to ever lift the Premier League trophy as a Fox in May 2016.

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Wes Morgan
Wes Morgan

Morgan lifts the Premier League trophy to the sky.

Procured by Nigel Pearson from Nottingham Forest in 2012, Morgan arrived in Leicester with a solid reputation as one of the best defenders in the entire Football League.

Once promotion to the top flight was secured in 2014, with the Jamaica international installed as Club captain, Morgan was able to finally unleash his fearsome defensive abilities onto a higher level. 

Incredibly, Morgan played in 88 consecutive top-flight fixtures between 2014 and 2017, a passage of time which included the 'Great Escape' from relegation and the title win under Claudio Ranieri a year later.

Scoring key goals also became a forte of Morgan's at the Club, none more so than his euphoric second-leg opener in a 3-2 aggregate UEFA Champions League Round of 16 triumph over FC Sevilla in 2017.

To this day, under Brendan Rodgers, the Nottingham-born defender's experience and expertise are vitally important resources for the Club, with the Foxes currently lying third in the Premier League.

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