The Leicester Evening Mail's 1954 Promotion Supplement

Links With The Past: The Leicester Evening Mail's 1954 Promotion Supplement

Club Historian John Hutchinson's Links with the Past series continues with look at a local newspaper’s ‘Promotion Souvenir’ supplement.
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The Club’s heritage collection contains many hundreds of newspapers and newspaper cuttings relating to Leicester City’s past. These cover a period of over 100 years. They provide an invaluable insight into the Club’s history, revealing details which otherwise might have been forgotten.

The newspaper supplement featured here was an insert in a local daily paper called the Leicester Evening Mail. A rival to the Leicester Mercury, it ceased publication in 1963. It was based in a now-demolished impressive art deco building opposite London Road Station.

The paper had a strong sporting tradition, publishing a dedicated sports edition every Saturday evening. Printed on green paper it was known as the ‘Green’un’. It was a rival to the Mercury’s publication which was printed on buff coloured paper and which was known as ‘The Buff’.

On Thursday 29 April 1954, the Evening Mail inserted this eight page ‘Promotion Souvenir’ edition into its daily paper.  

The previous Saturday, Leicester City had become Second Division Champions by winning their last game of the season at Brentford. It was one of the closest title races in history. The win at Griffin Park deprived Everton of the Second Division title on goal average. The difference between the two sides was 0.03 of a goal.

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Leicester City 1953/54
Leicester City 1953/54

The 1953/54 squad that won promotion from the Second Division as champions.

The main story on the Promotion Souvenir’s front page focuses on Leicester City’s ‘Five-Year Plan’ for promotion and on Norman Bullock, the plan’s architect.

A former England centre-forward, Bullock arrived at Filbert Street as manager in December 1949 with a well publicised ‘Five-Year Plan’ aimed at restoring Leicester City to the top division.

He set about this plan by releasing established players like Sep Smith, Don Revie and Billy Frame. They were replaced by the likes of ex-England internationals Johnny Morris and Jack Froggatt, together with future Club captain and manager Matt Gillies and the phenomenal goalscorer Arthur Rowley.

Also on the front page of the souvenir, the Leicester City Chairman Len Shipman wrote about the ‘immense outlay’ of £150,000 which had been spent by the Club in its quest to get back into the old First Division. 

His article also stated that the Club would extend the capacity of the ground by providing space for an extra 2,000 fans by altering the terracing in front of the Main Strand.

Inside the supplement, captain Gillies reflected on the promotion season. Amongst other features, there were also an article about the Club’s trainer David Jones, a preview of the First Division managers and pen pictures of the triumphant Leicester City players.

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