Foxes Firsts: The Iconic Filbert Street
Filbert Street was Leicester City's first 'proper' home. It was the place in which the Club grew, shaped and moulded into the passionate, competitive Leicester City side we know today.
For 111 years, Leicester fans flooded through the Filbert Street turnstiles to watch the likes of Arthur Rowley, Gordon Banks and Steve Walsh light up the pitch. They witnessed the upturn in financial resources as City gathered momentum and saw the Filbert Street trophy cabinet expand in direct correlation: from the first-ever medals in 1908, to the first-ever major trophy win of the League Cup in 1964.
An aerial view of Filbert Street, where Leicester City played for 111 years.
The fans, and players, were fond of Filbert Street; of that, there is no doubt.
But like in any home, there comes a day when a change is necessary. A time when you can sense you’ve outgrown the four walls around you. A moment in which you must take the first step - no matter how scary it might seem - in a bid to reach your full potential.
City's former stadium played host to some memorable moments for the Blue Army.
And in 2002, Leicester City were lured away from their creaky old house to a swanky new build. Their move wasn’t far - just under 300 yards down the road – to the 32,312-seater home originally named Walkers Stadium, now King Power Stadium. On 23 July that year, Gary Lineker cut the ribbon and declared it open for business.
King Power Stadium
An artistic impression of Leicester City's new stadium ahead of the Football Club's move from Filbert Street.
The Foxes had 12 days to unpack and settle in before their first visitors arrived: Athletic Bilbao, a Spanish side, for a pre-season match. It was in stark contrast to Nottingham Forest, who’d been the first to occupy the away dressing room at Filbert Street in 1891.
Around 20,000 fans meandered down to witness the occasion that day. They watched on - perched on their shiny new seats - as Athletic Bilbao took the lead in the 57th minute, despite only having 10 men on the pitch. And then Jordan Stewart, with one eye on etching his name into the history books, converted City’s first-ever goal in the stadium with a dramatic 90th-minute equaliser.
King Power Stadium
King Power Stadium, then Walkers Stadium, hosts its first game - a friendly with Athletic Bilbao in 2002.
Leicester City’s inaugural season at Walkers Stadium would see them promoted back to the Premier League and then relegated again the following season. If fans had worried that their fondness of Filbert Street wouldn’t translate over to their new home, there was little time to wait before fate would change. From League 1, to the top of the Championship, to Premier League champions, to FA Cup heroes.
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