Steve Walsh

Huth & Walsh – Colossal Leicester City Centre-Backs

Leicester City signed two of the Club’s most lauded central defenders on this day (24 June) seven and 36 years ago respectively.

There is little this pair did not win over the course of their Leicester City careers, which covered two defining eras of growth and unprecedented success. Steve Walsh arrived at Filbert Street in 1986, signing from Wigan Athletic for a reported £100,000.

It was money well spent as the Preston-born defender established himself as a key cog in several Foxes managers’ sides over the course of the next 14 years, including Brian Little, who named him captain as City launched an assault on promotion to the newly formed Premier League. It proved to be third time lucky for Walsh and co. under the famous Wembley arch.

Narrowly losing out to Blackburn Rovers in 1992, courtesy of a penalty given against Walsh, Little’s side came back again the following year, only to be beaten by Swindon Town despite coming back from 3-0 down, including a header from Walsh – who was utilised as a striker.

Incredibly, the skipper had netted 15 goals across all competitions during the regular season to be named as City’s top scorer in 1992/93 and help earn a play-off spot, ending the campaign in sixth. It wasn’t enough, though, and Leicester had to go again.

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Steve Walsh
Steve Walsh

An iconic image of Walsh celebrating his Wembley heroics in 1994.

After playing a part in the previous two play-off finals, it would be unfair not to dub the 1994 showpiece as the 'Steve Walsh show'. That was made even more extraordinary by the fact he had been out injured for most of the season and was starting for just the second time in eight months.

Again playing up top, this time in a front three alongside Ian Ormondroyd and Iwan Roberts, Walsh almost single-handedly turned the game on its head after Midlands rivals Derby County took the lead.

His header put Leicester back on level terms four minutes before half-time, and then, with six minutes left of normal time, Walsh tucked home a rebound to send the Foxes faithful into rapture and write his name into club folklore as a Wembley hero.

Following relegation from the Premier League the next season, in which Walsh was hampered by injury, he went on to lift the play-off trophy once more at Wembley in 1995/96, beating Crystal Palace after extra-time.

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Steve Walsh & Steve Claridge
Steve Walsh & Steve Claridge

Walsh was named as Man of the Match in the 1997 League Cup Final Replay triumph at Hillsborough.

The next campaign under Martin O’Neill was even more successful as Leicester established themselves in the top-flight and qualified for Europe by winning the 1997 League Cup. ‘Captain Fantastic’ lifted the trophy having assisted Emile Heskey’s goal in the 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough at Wembley and then set up Steve Claridge’s winner following a replay at Hillsborough.

There were plenty of memorable moments in the Premier League, too, including his injury-time goal and subsequent assist for Matt Elliott’s equaliser in a 3-3 draw at home to Arsenal, despite the Gunners leading 3-1 after 90 minutes. 

A month later, he lead the team out in a UEFA Cup tie against Atlético Madrid, but the Foxes lost out to the Spanish giants over two legs and there was heartbreak in the 1999 League Cup Final, defeated by Tottenham Hotspur.

Despite not featuring in the 2000 League Cup Final win over Tranmere Rovers, Walsh’s three appearances and one goal had contributed to another historic domestic cup success. His time at the Club came to an end at the turn of the century, with his standing as a Leicester City icon assured.

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Robert Huth
Robert Huth

Scoring in an emphatic victory at Manchester City on the way to the Premier League title.

The imposing Huth, meanwhile, was already an established Premier League defender upon his arrival to King Power Stadium, having played over 250 games in England for Chelsea, Middlesbrough and Stoke City.

A part of back-to-back league trophy lifts during his time at Stamford Bridge under José Mourinho, he would soon add a third title to his name. However, when he initially joined the Club on loan in February 2015, City sat bottom of the Premier League standings.

Coming in from the Potters, the German centre-back featured in all but one of the remaining league fixtures, scoring once, as Nigel Pearson’s side made their ascent up the table, ensuring survival with a game to spare.

Huth was a key part of that late season flourish, which included four straight victories and built the foundations for the following campaign’s Premier League title success under Claudio Ranieri. A permanent move was sanctioned that summer and his partnership with City captain Wes Morgan soon continued to blossom.

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Robert Huth
Robert Huth

Lifting the trophy aloft at King Power Stadium.

Arguably his most memorable day in a City shirt came at Etihad Stadium in February 2016 when the defender's two goals helped Leicester beat title hopefuls Manchester City 3-1 and go six points clear at the top of the table.

He also played a pivotal role Leicester’s first foray into the UEFA Champions League during 2016/17, playing eight times in the competition, including the first leg of the quarter-final tie against Atlético Madrid.

But far from just a positive influence on the pitch, Huth is often credited for his personality within the dressing room, and while injuries kept him out of the squad during his final season, he was still an impactful figure at Belvoir Drive.

His successful three-and-a-half-year spell at the Club, and his playing career, came to an end following the conclusion of the 2017/18 season, with his place in Leicester City’s history secured.

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