Leicester City 1908/1909 postcard

Foxes Firsts: The Club's First-Ever Promotion

In a new series, Assistant Club Historian, Elsie Flynn, recounts those occasions in the Foxes' history when Leicester Fosse or Leicester City experienced an event for the very first time.

Securing promotion. It’s the pinnacle of the game, for many clubs. The outpouring of sheer elation come the final whistle of the season; the sigh of relief buried beneath the ‘I-always-knew-we’d-do-it’ post-match chatter; the dream of the unknown and the endless possibilities of a new challenge. 

There isn’t a feeling quite like it. But they say nothing good comes easy, and climbing up a league is no mean feat; when it’s reached, however, the feeling is euphoric. 

Leicester City have had their fair share of promotions in their rich history. Take the 1954 season when, after a 15-year hiatus, City shoved their way back into the top flight and secured champion status by 0.03 of a goal. Or the exhilarating record-breaking season of 1956/57.

Little needs to be said for the 2013/14 season, and what happened next. 

It was in 1908, around 24 years following their creation, that Leicester Fosse were promoted for the first time in their history. And like any good coming-of-age story, it hadn’t been an easy ride. 

They had been confined to Division Two ever since their election from the Midland League to the Football League in 1894. For the most part, it had been a largely disappointing 14 years. After finishing a point off a promotion spot in 1899, a series of bottom-half finishes followed up until 1905.

After that, a steady incline: the Club boosted their finances, invested in some quality players, and with it their league finishes crept up. On 27 April, 1908, in a 1-0 away win at Stoke, Leicester Fosse secured promotion on the final day of the season. 

None of the Fosse party travelling home that evening could have foreseen the reception waiting for them - after all, this was a first – but what greeted them at 10.25pm on that Monday evening was thousands of Fosse fans packed on London Road.

The local paper, providing commentary of the occasion, described how the atmosphere was thick with excitement, filled with the sound of a merry march played by a brass band and outcries of ‘Good old Fosse’.

Celebrations continued outside the Grand Hotel and long into the night – Auld Lang Syne bellowed, alongside ‘we won’t go home ‘til morning’. Football has evolved over the years, this much is certainly true. But the thrill of a promotion – well, whether it is 1908 or 2014, it’s always been a pretty big deal. 

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