Paul Gallagher

This Week In History: Speedie, Banks & Real Madrid

The seven days between 27 July and 2 August across Leicester City's recent history included several momentous and landmark moments for the Club.
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Although not this year, due to the elongated nature of the 2019/20 campaign, the final week of July and early days of August are usually reserved for pre-season preparations, with Wayne Clarke joining the Foxes in 1989, midfielder Robbie Savage arriving in 1997 and goalkeeper Tim Flowers signing in 1999.

Another frequent occurrence at this time of year, meanwhile, included Leicester playing host to several showpiece friendly fixtures, but we start this week's nostalgia with a transfer in 1993...

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David Speedie
David Speedie

Despite the contentious nature of his move to Filbert Street, David Speedie contributed to promotion a year later.

Following two Wembley play-off heartbreaks for Brian Little's Foxes, the Club was yet again determined to secure promotion to the newly-established Premier League in the early 1990s.

On 1 August, 1993, Little completed the controversial signing of Scottish striker David Speedie from Southampton after his loan spell at West Ham United came to its conclusion.

Despite Speedie's ability being clear for all to see, the former Chelsea and Liverpool forward enjoyed a complicated relationship with City fans after a dramatic play-off clash with Blackburn Rovers in 1992.

City's first of successive play-off final defeats came after former Fox Mike Newell's second-half penalty, but Leicester supporters had long struggled to forgive Speedie for what they considered a dive.

Little, though, was willing to let bygones be bygones in his bid to end City's top-flight exile and he was eventually rewarded with 12 goals in 37 games from Speedie en route to yet another Wembley outing.

Finally, the Club did return to the top flight, with Steve Walsh netting an iconic brace in a 2-1 victory over Derby County beneath the Twin Towers in London to secure promotion at the third attempt.

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Gordon Banks
Gordon Banks

A moment of elation for Gordon Banks and the country - and a source of great pride for Leicester City.

Twenty-seven years earlier, meanwhile, Leicester City goalkeeper Gordon Banks became the first - and still the only - Foxes player to lift the FIFA World Cup during England's 1966 triumph.

Banks, signed from Chesterfield in 1959, was a pivotal member of Matt Gillies' 'Ice Kings' side of the early 1960s, winning the Club's first League Cup in 1964 and appearing in two FA Cup Finals.

Not only did Banks feature in every minute of the Three Lions' greatest-ever achievement, but he was a star of the campaign for Alf Ramsey's men too, breaking a goalkeeping record in the process.

When Eusébio's penalty beat the Foxes shot-stopper in the semi-finals, it was the first goal Banks had conceded in 721 minutes of regular play for England's national team, stretching back to April.

Banks had to be at his very best during extra-time in the final as West Germany pushed for a winner on 30 July, 1966, but England prevailed, courtesy of a Geoff Hurst hat-trick and Martin Peters' strike.

In an exclusive interview with Club Historian John Hutchinson in 2018, a year before Gordon passed away, Banks said: "It was a wonderful, wonderful day. None of the players there could ever forget it."

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Real Madrid visit Leicester City
Real Madrid visit Leicester City

The Blue Army enjoyed a glimpse of the future as one of the biggest sides in world football visited Filbert Way.

On 30 July, 2011, a new dawn was breaking for Leicester City as their home venue was renamed King Power Stadium during a glamorous pre-season friendly against La Liga giants Real Madrid.

José Mourinho's bejewelled squad of global superstars came to town on a sun-drenched afternoon in Leicester as Sven-Gören Eriksson fine-tuned his side for a promotion bid from the Championship.

New signings Kasper Schmeichel, Matt Mills, David Nugent, Lee Peltier, Paul Konchesky and Neil Danns were among the starters for the Foxes, while Sergio Ramos, Kaká, Karim Benzema started for Madrid.

José Callejón opened the scoring for the Spanish side following a neat pass across goal by Benzema, before the Frenchman added a second after Marcelo's effort came back off the post in the second half.

However, Eriksson's Leicester remained in the game in the baking midsummer heat and they got their reward later on as Lloyd Dyer smashed home a powerful volley inside the area to make it 2-1.

That's how it ended and, although City had suffered a defeat ahead of their 2011/12 campaign, there was plenty of reasons for optimism in the nature of their performance against their illustrious visitors.

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