1919 West Ham vs. Leicester City teamsheet

Links With The Past: First-Ever West Ham vs. Leicester City Programme

Last week’s victory at West Ham United was almost exactly 103 years to the day after Leicester City’s first-ever match at the east London club, which took place on 15 November, 1919.

That match, a Second Division fixture at the Londoners’ Boleyn Ground, took place in the first season after the First World War.

It was also the first season that West Ham became a Football League side as well as being the first campaign that Leicester’s team became known as Leicester City rather than Leicester Fosse.

The first-ever game between the two sides had taken place a week previously on 8 November, 1919 in a 0-0 draw at Filbert Street.

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1919 West Ham vs. Leicester City teamsheet
1919 West Ham vs. Leicester City teamsheet

A closer look at the programme, produced by West Ham in 1919.

In the Club’s archives, we are very fortunate to have the rare and valuable matchday programme from the match on 15 November, which West Ham won 1-0. It was donated to the Club in 2017 by Joseph Hayto from Arnold.

Interesting snippets from the ‘Club Notes’ page include mention of Chelsea’s £6,000 forward line, and the closure of the Wolverhampton Wanderers ground due to the crowd’s 'unruly behaviour'.

Mention is made of the fact that one of the West Ham players missed a previous game because he had to go to Germany to be demobilised after the First World War.

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1919 West Ham vs. Leicester City teamsheet
1919 West Ham vs. Leicester City teamsheet

Club notes and league standings are included on the programme.

The decision to drop the fixture list from the four-page programme to keep the cost down to a penny is explained. The 2.30pm kick-off time is a reminder that in the days before floodlights, this was the norm.

Notable names on the teamsheet include two City players whose memorabilia is on show in reception at King Power Stadium today, courtesy of their families.

These are George Douglas, who had scored the first goal for the re-formed Leicester City three months earlier, and Teddy King, who was associated with Fosse and City as a player and a trainer between 1907 and 1932.

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