Leicester Fosse 1890/91

The Club's Shirt Crests: A History

Club Historian John Hutchinson provides a detailed look at the history of the crests worn on Leicester Fosse and Leicester City’s strips.

Leicester Fosse, 1884 to 1919

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1893/94
1893/94

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.

These can be seen on some early team photographs in the 1890s (pictured in main image of article) and it also appeared on the cover of some season tickets in the 1890s (pictured above). These are currently on display in the reception area of King Power Stadium

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.

Leicester City, 1919 to 1948


When Leicester Fosse became Leicester City in 1919, the Club, after three seasons of wearing a blue and white vertical striped shirt, reverted to the traditional blue shirt, with the exception of 1972/73 when they wore an all-white strip.

None of these strips had a crest on until 1948/49 season.

1948 to 1983

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Original fox head drawings
Original fox head drawings

This was when the fox’s head was introduced.

Until then, there had never been a connection between the Football Club and foxes. Old football magazines, from the 1920s, such as ‘Football and 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 based (pictured above). 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.

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1948 to 1949
1948 to 1949

The original crest based on this design (pictured above) was on the shirts of the team in the 1949 FA Cup Final against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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1949 to 1983
1949 to 1983

A second version appeared in the early 1950s. (pictured above). This included crops beneath the fox’s head. Although there were several tweaks to the 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’s head was usually placed within shield but between 1973 and 1979 in was placed in a roundel.

1983 to 1992

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1983 to 1992
1983 to 1992

In 1983, the crest was replaced by a running fox motif (pictured above), 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 amongst others. Its appearance in 1983 coincided with the Club’s first ever sponsored shirt (the Ind Coope brewery). Its final appearance was in the 1992 play-off final against Blackburn Rovers for a place in the new Premier League.

1992 to present day

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1992 to 2007
1992 to 2007

The Running Fox was replaced for the 1992/93 season with the original version of the current crest (pictured above).

The design was intended to signal a new direction for the Club. It 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. Any graphic connection with hunting was avoided as it was a controversial political issue at the time.

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2008/09 onwards
2008/09 onwards

The present crest is a similar design but it has been tweaked a few times, most notably in  between 2007 and 2009 when the crest was placed into a shield design and in 2009/10 when the current version of the design was introduced (pictured above). In this version the fox has white cheeks and the design of the font for the words ‘Leicester City Football Club’ surrounding the fox head was changed.

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