Leicester Fosse 1886/87

Foxes Firsts: Printed Newspaper Match Report

Assistant Club Historian Elsie Flynn looks back to the first-ever documented newspaper clipping covering a Leicester Fosse fixture in 1884.
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It’s a modern-day grievance to have to wait more than 10 seconds for the news to refresh on your smartphone. We’re accustomed to having the world at our fingertips. 

It hasn’t always been this easy. Back before you could scroll, refresh, and know the latest score in seconds, you’d be stuck at work, a family occasion or a social event with friends without an idea of what was going on at Filbert Street. 

If you could sneak out, you’d queue up outside your local newsagent, alongside every other eager City fan, and purchase the 6pm Sports Mercury. It was then you’d experience the elation, or heartbreak, or even the complete indifference, that came with the print in front of you. 

Newspapers have always played an important part in football culture. Albeit, its role has evolved over the years. Football is plastered across the back pages nowadays. When something exceptional happens, it’s all over the front, too. 

But in the late 19th century, when Leicester Fosse made their way into the local press for the very first time, the reporting of football was pragmatic, matter of fact. Their match against Syston Fosse on 1 November, 1884 was the first documented. Incidentally, it was the first match played in the Club's history, too. 

They appeared in the Melton Mowbray Mercury after a comprehensive 5-0 win against Syston Fosse. The reporter described the first half as ‘pretty even’ before the second saw H. Johnson, A. West and B. Lewitt ‘show up well’ for the Fosse.

The scoreline reads that Leicester won emphatically. The tone suggests otherwise. 

This report, nestled within the court orders and adverts, indicates how the coverage of Leicester Fosse and Leicester City has evolved over the years. From dry match reports, to the Sports Mercury, to the intricate, snappy full-blown analysis we have 24/7 access to today. 

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