Iwan Roberts

Premier League Promotion & Plenty Of Goals – Iwan Roberts’ Foxes Journey

Celebrating Iwan Roberts’ standout moments in a Leicester City shirt on his 54th birthday (Sunday 26 June).

A forward who arrived at Filbert Street from Huddersfield Town in November 1993, Roberts became City’s mid-season signing when Brian Little purchased the Wales international for a reported fee of £300,000.

Roberts’ 111 appearances for the Club brought 44 goals and he quickly became a cult hero among the Blue Army, spending three successful years that included two Premier League promotions.

Here’s a look at several highlights from his stellar Leicester career…

Debut delight

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Iwan-Roberts
Iwan-Roberts

Joining the club from Huddersfield Town, Roberts quickly found himself at home in Leicester.

Roberts would make an immediate impact on debut against one of his future clubs, Wolverhampton Wanderers. With City trailing 2-0 to their Midlands rivals at the break, Little threw on his new frontman and he duly came up trumps, scoring twice to rescue a 2-2 draw and immediately endear himself to the Foxes faithful.

He would also score in his second game at Filbert Street, a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace, and then really hit form at the turn of the year, with six strikes in eight appearances.

Hat-trick hero

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Iwan Roberts
Iwan Roberts

The Wales forward netted a total of 44 goals for the Club.

Roberts achieved the much coveted feat of scoring a hat-trick against another Midlands rival, Derby County, in April 1994.

With City chasing promotion to the top-flight for the first time, a whirlwind 28-minute spell brought three goals from Roberts, securing a thrilling 3-3 home draw with the Rams in spectacular style, in front of just over 20,000 at Filbert Street.

The Foxes would not lose another game until the end of the season, going nine unbeaten to finish fourth in the First Division, on 73 points.

Despite being ruled out of the final few weeks of the season due to broken ribs, Roberts was City’s top goalscorer with 13 league goals.

Winning promotion

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Iwan Roberts
Iwan Roberts

Iwan Roberts played in the Premier League for the first time by helping to guide the Foxes through the play-offs.

The play-off lottery rolled around once more and after beating Tranmere Rovers 2-1 on aggregate, Leicester had reached the final for the third consecutive season, having previously fell at the final hurdle against Blackburn Rovers and then Swindon Town.

Facing Derby at Wembley on 30 May, 1994, the match was also Roberts’ return from injury and he went straight back into the starting XI, lining up alongside Steve Walsh and Ian Ormondroyd in attack.

Playing the first 56 minutes, Roberts was then replaced by Julian Joachim, before a late Walsh goal, his second of the game, sealed the Foxes’ top-flight return and Roberts’ first honour as a player.

Top scorer once more

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Iwan Roberts & David Lowe
Iwan Roberts & David Lowe

Roberts celebrates team-mate David Lowe's goal against Nottingham Forest during the 1994/95 Premier League season.

Scoring nine goals in his and Leicester’s maiden Premier League season, and 11 in all competitions, Roberts was the top scoring Fox for a second successive season.

Early season highlights included netting both goals in the 2-2 draw with Coventry City in October – his first two strikes of 1994/95 – and during a 4-3 success over Southampton later that month.

Roberts then brought fresh impetus to Leicester’s survival bid in February 1995, scoring in three consecutive games, starting with the thrilling 4-4 draw at Villa Park, though it would come in relegation as Leicester were unable to prevent an immediate return to the second tier. 

Bouncing back

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Mark Robins & Iwan Roberts
Mark Robins & Iwan Roberts

Roberts and Mark Robins formed an effective partnership in the 1995/96 season.

It would be another fine campaign for the former Watford youngster in 1995/96, as City targeted a promotion push back to the Premier League. Roberts plundered 19 goals to fire Martin O’Neill’s Foxes into the play-offs, once again finishing as the Club’s top goalscorer.

His first three goals of the campaign all came in a 4-2 triumph over Portsmouth in late August and by Christmas he’d already scored 13 times in the league.

A fond farewell

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Iwan Roberts
Iwan Roberts

Roberts moved to Wolves in the summer of 1996 after enjoying three seasons at Filbert Street.

Scoring the winner against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in April proved to be his final goal in a Leicester City shirt, ending with a league record of 41 goals from 100 appearances.

It kept Leicester in contention for a play-off spot and sure enough the Foxes went on run of four straight wins at the end of the campaign to seal a top-six finish.

And after defeating Stoke 1-0 on aggregate in the semi-final, it was against the Eagles that City would claim a Premier League return, though Roberts was injured for the final at Wembley and would make the move across to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer of 1996.

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