Mark Wallington

Leicester City In 100 Players: Mark Wallington

Club Historian John Hutchinson reviews the careers of 100 of the most outstanding players to represent Leicester Fosse and Leicester City in the Club’s 138-year history. The series continues with goalkeeper Mark Wallington, whose 460 games included playing in 331 consecutive matches between 1974 and 1982, which is easily a Club record.
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Mark was a very worthy successor in the Leicester City goal to his immediate predecessors, Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton. Before he left Filbert Street after 14 seasons in 1985, Mark played 460 competitive games for the Club. Only three other players in City’s entire history have exceeded that total: Graham Cross, Adam Black and Kasper Schmeichel. 

Sleaford-born Mark played for England Schoolboys. He later turned down the chance to sign schoolboy forms with Lincoln City but, while training to be a teacher, he signed as a semi-professional for Walsall in 1971 and came to national prominence when he starred for the Saddlers in an FA Cup match at Everton in February 1972.  

A month later, on Shilton’s recommendation, Mark signed for City for a fee of £30,000, making his debut against West Ham United four days later.

For the next two years, Mark was Shilton’s understudy. His chance for regular first team football came at the start of the 1974/75 season because Shilton had not signed a new contract with the Club. 

After eight games, Mark broke his wrist, but he returned six games later when Shilton went to Stoke City in November 1974. 

In January 1975, he began his Club record run of playing in 331 consecutive games, which ended in March 1982. During this record-breaking sequence, he became an England Under-23s international, was a key member of Jimmy Bloomfield’s top flight side, suffered relegation under Frank McLintock in 1978, promotion under Jock Wallace in 1981, and relegation again in 1982. 

His seven-year run of not missing a game ended when he was injured against Shrewsbury Town in an FA Cup Quarter-Final but he recovered in time for the last-four stage a month later against Tottenham Hotspur, when Leicester lost 2-0. 

The following season, under new manager Gordon Milne, City were promoted back to the top flight with Mark once again being an ever-present in the side.

In July 1985, Mark signed for Derby County, where he won promotion to the Second Division in 1986 and to the First Division in 1987. He moved to Lincoln City in 1988, where he was Player of the Season in 1990. 

After coaching spells at Everton and the Lincolnshire FA, and a spell as assistant manager at Grantham Town, Mark became a teacher in Sleaford, as well as becoming the goalkeeping coach for the England Schools Under-18s squad. 

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