It was yet another memorable moment for Leicester City fans this week as they saw their beloved Foxes triumph over Porto in their first ever home Champions League match. The result places them in a good position to qualify for the knockout stages after thrashing Club Brugge 3-0 a fortnight earlier. It was yet another reminder of how far they have progressed as a club, given that they spent a decade outside the top flight and even dropped into the third tier in one of the darkest chapters in their history. Here are six results that track their incredible journey from Premier League relegation to the glamour of European football:
May 2004: Charlton Athletic 2-2 Leicester City
Leicester were relegated from the Premier League just one season after attaining promotion as runners-up in Division One. They took the lead in a crucial game against the Addicks when Marcus Bent grabbed an early goal. They held onto their lead until half time, but just under ten minutes into the second half Charlton levelled the scores thanks to Jonathan Fortune. Matters got much worse when Charlton were awarded a penalty with a quarter of an hour remaining in an incident which also saw Foxes defender Nikos Dabizas sent off. Paolo Di Canio slotted home the penalty to give Charlton the lead. Les Ferdinand grabbed a late equaliser, but it was not enough to save Leicester from the drop.
May 2008: Stoke City 0-0 Leicester City
Four years after their relegation from the top flight, Leicester were relegated to League One after a stalemate against the Potters on the final day of the season, meaning they would play in the third tier of English football for the first time in their history. It had been a chaotic season for Leicester, with Martin Allen leaving his post as the club’s manager in August after just three months in charge, while his successor Gary Megson lasted less than a month. They turned to the popular Ian Holloway, but he was unable to turn around their fortunes.
April 2009: Southend United 0-2 Leicester City
Victory at Roots Hall ensured the Foxes bounced back to the Championship at the first attempt as they wrapped up the League One title in style. Two goals from the prolific Matty Fryatt secured the three points to ensure it was a hugely successful season for Nigel Pearson’s side. Leicester dominated the division, losing just four games all season and finishing as the league’s top scorers and with the best defensive record.
April 2014: Leicester City 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday
Leicester all but sealed their return to the Premier League after a ten-year absence with a victory over the Owls at the King Power Stadium. Riyad Mahrez gave the Foxes an early lead, but Michail Antonio pulled Wednesday level just under ten minutes before half time. Nigel Pearson’s men were not to be denied though, as Anthony Knockaert’s superb free kick just past the hour mark restored their lead. It proved to be enough to secure three points for the home side, and when Derby and QPR lost their respective fixtures the following day, Leicester’s fate was sealed.
May 2015: Sunderland 0-0 Leicester City
Not a memorable game in itself, but this did secure Leicester’s incredible great escape from relegation. Two months previously, a 4-3 defeat to Tottenham left the Foxes routed to the bottom of the Premier League table, and an immediate return to the Championship looked imminent. However, an incredible run of form in their final nine games saw them claim eight victories and suffer just one defeat to eventual champions Chelsea, which was enough to save their Premier League status. A 5-1 win against QPR on the final day was a fitting end to a remarkable fightback.
February 2016: Manchester City 1-3 Leicester City
Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes were the surprise leaders of the Premier League heading into the final months of the season, but many assumed it would only be a matter of time before they slipped up and gifted one of the heavyweights of the top flight the advantage. However, a crushing victory at the Etihad Stadium had many of their doubters thinking again. The visitors took an early lead through defender Robert Huth’s third minute goal. Leicester dominated proceedings and deservedly doubled their lead just after the break through Riyad Mahrez, on his way to becoming one of the stars of the season. Huth’s second of the match on the hour mark wrapped up the three points, although Sergio Aguero did grab a late consolation for Manuel Pellegrini’s side. Though a narrow defeat at Arsenal the following week threatened to derail their campaign, Leicester of course memorably went on to win their first Premier League title in one of the most stunning upsets in sporting history.