Kenilworth Road

Leicester City’s Greatest Goals : The Top 10

Without further ado, here are the top 10 Leicester City goals, as voted for by the Foxes faithful.

10. Andy Peake (vs. Liverpool, 1980)

Thousands crammed in to Filbert Street to see a young Leicester City side take on league champions two years running in Liverpool. Foxes manager, Jock Wallace had boasted of City’s credentials before the match and after two defeats to start the season, The Foxes ran out 2-0 winners over a side that would go on to be crowned European Champions at the end of the campaign. And, it was 18-year-old Andy Peake who set the ball rolling by blasting home from 30 yards. Interestingly enough, City went on to complete a league double over the Kopites, ending Liverpool’s 85 game unbeaten run at Anfield.

9. Keith Weller (vs. Luton Town, 1974)

Leicester City took to Kenilworth Road in 1974 to inflict a ruthless 4-0 demolition of the Hatters in the FA Cup. Leicester cruised to  a three-goal lead in front of 25,000 in Bedfordshire before the infamous tight-clad, Weller coasted past four players took the ball upon his left foot and drilled it in to the top left corner from 18 yards. City went on to the semi-finals of the competition, eventually losing out to winners, Liverpool.

8. Steve Walsh (vs. Arsenal, 1997)

I imagine this is as high as it is in the rankings due to the nature of the goal, rather than the quality of it. Leicester had maintained an impressive unbeaten record at Filbert Street and welcomed a titanous Arsenal side who took the game to city for 85 minutes by which point Dennis Bergkamp had gifted the Gunners a 2-0 lead. Heskey bumbled the ball over the line in the 84th minute to give the Foxes hope of a comeback, which was completed in the third of three allocated minutes of added time when Matt Elliott blasted home from the edge of the box. Filbert Street was rocking with delirium at the impressive comeback only for Dennis Bergkamp to break forward again and score a simply sublime goal to once again put the Gunners ahead in the 94th minute. Clearly aggrieved by the second late twist, the Foxes immediately pushed forward and forced a corner. Garry Parker delivered the ball in to the area and after a forray of headers, captain fantastic Steve Walsh nodded the ball hopelessly past David Seaman, sparking some of the wildest celebrations Filbert Street had ever seen.

7. Steve Howard (vs. Leeds United, 2009)

Again, in terms of quality there are many more goals that could have and should have been ranked ahead of this one. But for the momentous occasion and goal it was, it is worthy of its place. Leicester City had been partaking in their first ever season in the third tier of English football, and had been doing exceptionally well. The Foxes led the table since November and with four games to go, were in poll position for an immediate return to the second tier. Backed by a crowd of 27,000 in front of Sky’s cameras, Steve Howard wrote the history in a rugged, even affair between the two clubs heading home from a corner in the very last minute, sending Leicester City back to the Championship and on their way to their first domestic league title since 1980.

6. Joey Gudjonsson (vs. Hull City, 2006)

Not many would have envisaged a player from the 2005-08 era scoring one of the Foxes greatest goals but it would be hard to ignore Joey Gudjonsson’s claim to the title. In a mid-table Championship clash between the Foxes and the Tigers, the latter managed by City villiain, Peter Taylor, Leicester ran out 3-2 winners at the then Walkers Stadium. Leicester had taken the lead in the first half through Iain Hume, only for Hull to equalise 5 minutes later, leaving the score level at the break. The Foxes pressured in the second half and were rewarded when the Icelandic Gudjonsson spotted Boaz Myhill off his line and launched a shot from the half-way line that expertly flew in to the back of the net. Hull had the cheek to level the tie ten minutes later only for Gudjonsson to win the tie with another strike; this one a tap-in from 25 yards.

5. Muzzy Izzet (vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 1998)

Fear was rife at Filbert Street with the national media reporting that club legend, Martin O’Neill was being swayed to take a job at Leeds United, whom the Foxes had beaten two weeks earlier. Local paper, the Leicester Mercury had organised the ‘Don’t Go Martin’ campaign, by making signs for fans to hold up for the Premier League game between City and Spurs. The fans took part wholeheartedly and City went on to win the game, coming from behind to win 2-1, courtesy of an 85th minute wonder-volley from Turkish international, Muzzy Izzet. Martin O’Neill decided to stay and the rest is history.

4. Anthony Knockaert (vs. Nottingham Forest, 2013)

May 4th 2013 was the stuff of dreams for the Foxes faithful. A run of mixed form had seen the Blues surrender a top six place, leaving them to battle Bolton in 6th and hosts Forest in 7th for the last spot on the final day of the season. Bolton were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Blackpool, in a shock result, meaning the winner of the East Midlands derby at the City Ground would reach the top 6. Simon Cox fired the Reds ahead inside three minutes before Leicester hit back with goals from Matty James and Andy King. The Foxes were poised for the top 6 at the break but Forest levelled the tie on 50 minutes through Elliott Ward. It was a tense affair from then on with both sides knowing one goal would be enough. In the 92nd minute the ball landed at the feet of Jeff Schlupp who picked out a pass to Anthony Knockaert, a one-two with Chris Wood ended with the Frenchman side-footing home ten yards in front of the cut allocation of away fans. The City faithful in the ground and around the country went ballistic as The Foxes recorded their first league win at the City Ground since 1972 to slide in to the top six. It was made even sweeter by the fact it was at the expense of bitter rivals Nottingham Forest.

3. Lilian Nalis (vs. Leeds United, 2003)

Leicester picked up their first league win of the 2003-04 season at home to Leeds United in September 2003 and in fine fashion indeed. Some ten years ago, Leeds were considered a genuine force in English football and for Leicester to thrash them 4-0 at home was quite a result. Sky cameras caught the demolition on camera, in a night that would be game remembered for hilarious Fanzone commentary, a marker for what City hoped to achieve in the top-flight that season and more importantly that goal from Lilian Nalis.

2. Steve Claridge (vs. Crystal Palace, 1996)

Journeyman Steve Claridge comes in as runner-up with this shinned effort at Wembley in 1996. Leicester City had embarked on a remarkable up-turn in form under Martin O’Neill to navigate in to the play-offs and through them to reach the final. But things weren’t going well for the Foxes on the day, falling behind to a 14th minute goal from Crystal Palace’s Andy Roberts. Leicester rallied in the second half and forced a penalty that granted them an equaliser in the 76th minute. The Foxes and the Eagles couldn’t be separated for the next fourteen minutes of normal time and indeed the thirty minutes of extra time. With seconds to go, Martin O’Neill substituted goalkeeper, Kevin Poole for Željko Kalac, who was considered to stand a better chance of saving penalties in the impending shoot-out. Following the switch, a Leicester free-kick was only partially cleared, leaving Steve Claridge to swing his leg and see the ball fly off his shin in to the net in front of a stunned and then suddenly rapturous, Leicester crowd. Having experienced plenty of play-off heartbreak in the 1990s, Leicester City got a phenomenal reward that started them on the path of a wondrous Premier League adventure.

1. Muzzy Izzet (vs. Grimsby Town, 2002)

It wasn’t even close. Leicester City legend, Muzzy Izzet has won all the plaudits for his wonder strike at Blundell Park all those years ago and rightly so! The Foxes were in the midst of a mammoth push for a return to the top-flight when they met the Mariners on Humberside. James Scowcroft gave the Foxes the lead, only for Grimsby to level in the 54th minute. Leicester, who were down to ten men then broke down the wing, with Andy Impey charging past a full-back and expertly crafting a precise cross in to the area for Muzzy Izzet to fly backwards in to the air and scissor kick the ball past the Grimsby keeper, in front of the travelling supporters. Who would have thought that City’s best goal would come in such an unglamorous, non-spectacle of a game like a Tuesday night Division One game at Blundell Park but it did and it was a peach and then some. Leicester fans will tell you that Izzet’s miracle strike was better than the similar effort scored by Wayne Rooney against Manchester City… and they’re probably right.

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My Story as a Football Fan

I didn’t always like football. Actually, when I was little I didn’t see the point. As a seven-year-old boy, I didn’t understand why kicking a sphere of air in to a net brought such joy to people – I was really all about Star Wars. One day circa 2002, my sister was playing football outside with my Dad while me and my two cousins re-enacted Yoda and Count Dooku’s lightsaber duel with my Lego… I know. They soon got bored and went outside to join them, apparently people don’t appreciate being told that they’re not recreating an intricate fight scene with toys correctly. I didn’t want to be a loner so I went outside and played too and I loved it. I never expected to but I really did. From that point on, I was a football fan. I didn’t know anything about the English game, except that my family’s club, Leicester City were on the brink of relegation from the Premiership; a concept I simply didn’t understand.

Glorious… Filbert Street’s infamous double decker stand.

Something, I’ve never tweeted nor mentioned in any blog is that initially, I was Manchester United fan. Truthfully, they were the only team other than Leicester that I knew and I think I thought Leicester ceased to exist whilst they weren’t in the Premier League.  My ‘support’ of Man U didn’t last long. I soon decided to support my local club (still Leicester) and it came about in a very special way. The 2001–02 season marked Leicester’s last in the Premiership and their last at their historic home, Filbert Street.  On the day prior to its demolition, the ground was open to fans to have a kick about. Me and my family went down and had a game and I ended up scoring the winning goal against my Uncle Paul. To our knowledge, the ground closed when we left, meaning we were the last people to play a game of football on that historic pitch. I was the last person to score a ‘goal’ at Filbert Street, as the family legend goes. Not a bad way to start off your following of a club, eh?

From then on, my support for the Foxes ebbed and flowed, I went to my first game in 2002/03 after I won a pair of tickets from a football course at my primary school. We drew 1–1 at home to Sheffield Wednesday. The next season, following our promotion back to the top-flight my Dad caught the City bug again and bought us season tickets. Sometimes, me and my sister and my cousins who also went loved it and sometimes we didn’t. We used to take a small ball and play downstairs on the concourse. I still remember every result from that season and most from every one that has followed. We’ve renewed our season tickets every season since but I truly fell in love with Leicester again in 2008, after years of mediocrity, our club had been relegated to its lowest ever position – the third tier of English football. From then on, I’ve been hooked, resonating City’s triumphs with my own and their defeats likewise. I’ve always been proud of my hometown. In fact, I was always infamous at school for being from Leicester, because I never stopped banging on about it.

As you can tell if you follow me on Twitter, I’m very much infatuated with Leicester City Football Club. Which is weird when you really think about it, especially when you know how skeptical and cynical I am about these sorts of things. Being a Leicester fan and a football fan unites my family and my community. Some of my best memories are from football. We all want to feel apart of something bigger than ourselves and football offers us that. That’s why we refer to our favourite team as ‘we’ when we have nothing to do with the actual playing of the game. To be honest, I don’t know why I’m writing this. I was inspired by Kyle Andrews’ post on Charlton Athletic and MK Dons which I’ll link at the bottom of this post. He talked about feeling a sense of belonging around his club and although, we admire the fans of Germany, Spain, South America etc., following a club is a unique experience in this country. Where else do you see 7,000 fans in the fifth tier of the domestic league turning up every game like they do at Kenilworth Road for Luton Town and better yet, where else do 1,500 fans pile in on a cold Tuesday night to back Darlington 1883 in the 8th tier? This dedication, to me explains why English football fans nearly always put club before country. Football is our game, it’s part of our culture and we don’t like to share it. We’re more bothered about being the best on these shores than globally because our clubs have a real sense of belonging. It sounds corny, I’m sure I’ll read this back and cringe myself but it’s true as far as I can see. You often see people refute claims that football is ‘just a game’. But it is. Football is merely a game, nothing more, nothing less. The problem is, the people that chose what was allowed to encompass a ‘game’. Passion, drive, community, dictation of mood, anything you want can be part of this game. But really, football is just a game. It’s also just a very special one.