West Ham face Leicester on Friday night in another big game at the London Stadium, here are some facts about our opponents.
1. Leicester City Football Club was formed as Leicester Fosse in 1884 by a group of former pupils of Wyggerston School. Following the end of World War I Leicester Fosse ran into financial difficulty. The club reformed as Leicester City Football club in order to reflect Leicester having achieved City status and the club we see today was formed in 1919.
2. Leicester’s all-time leading goal scorer is Arthur Chandler who scored 259 league goals in 393 games in the late 20’s. Remarkably despite the huge number of goals he scored for the club, Chandler never scored a penalty for Leicester, missing the two he took.
3. Ever heard of Arthur Rowley? No, well you should have!! Rowley holds the record for scoring the most goals in the history of league football in this country, 434 in 619 appearances between 1946 and 1965. Rowley scored 251 league goals for Leicester, falling 8 short of Chandler’s all-time club record
4. Leicester hold the record for the most FA Cup final defeats without winning the competition. They have been defeated 4 times in the final, losing to Wolves in 1949, Spurs in 1961, Manchester United in 1963 and Manchester City in 1963.
5. Leicester also hold the joint record for most second-tier titles with 7, winning 6 2nd Division titles and 1 Championship.
6. Leicester’s former ground Filbert Street was demolished in 2003, part of the site was converted into student accommodation for both of Leicester’s Universities. The road running through the development is named Lineker Road after former striker and current Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker.
7. Leicester’s record appearance holder is Graham Cross who made 599 appearances across all competitions between 1960 and 1976. Cross also made a record number of appearances for the England under 23 side. Cross was a member of Leicester sides that finished runners-up in the FA Cup finals of 1963 and 1969, the league winning side of 1964 and the runners-up of 1965 He was also part of the side of the 1971 Second Division Championship winning side. A very talented sportsman, he also represented Leicestershire Country Cricket Club, winning the Benson and Hedges Cup in 1975.
8. The 1962-63 season is one of the finest in Leicester’s history only surpassed by the 2015-2016 Premier League winning season. The team became known as the Ice Kings due the unbeaten run the team went on during the winter months. That season’s’ winter was the coldest of the 20th century in England and Wales and as a result, Leicester did not play a game between Boxing Day and early February. When the games resumed they were played on icy pitches and Leicester came within reach of winning the double, however injuries and loss of form saw them drop to 4th in the league despite leading with 5 games to go and losing the FA Cup Final to Manchester United despite being favourites.
9. The manager of the Ice Kings was Matt Gillies who is Leicester’s longest-serving manager, managing the club between 1958 and 1968. Gillies implemented a style of play based on the Austrian and Hungarian sides of the 50’s which involved players switching positons in order to disrupt the more rigid approach favoured by British teams of the time. The Scots’ approach had a huge influence on two fellow Scottish managers Matt Busby and Bill Shankly, who would implement some of Gillies ideas into some of their most successful sides. Gillies is probably one of the most innovative and influential managers of the time and is comfortably one of the least heralded.
10. West Ham have played Leicester 133 times, winning 52 drawing 32 losing 49. West Ham have lost 5 of the last 6 meetings, most recently a 3-2 reversal at the London Stadium in March this year.