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Filbert Street Stadium (Leicester City, 1891-2002)


                    
                    

Filbert Street Stadium facts

Ground Opened: 1891

Ground Closed: 2002

Number of years at ground: 111

First Competitive Game Played: Leicester Fosse 1 Loughborough Town 2, Midland League, 28th September 1891.

Last Competitive Game Played: Leicester City 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1, Premier League, 11 May 2002. Attendance 21,716

Record Attendance: 47,298 v Tottenham Hotspur. FA Cup.  February 18th, 1928..

Club moved to: King Power Stadium in 2002

Distance from Filbert Street to new King Power Stadium: 1/3 of a mile

Filbert Street stadium was a rectangular-shaped ground with four stands, all of which were covered. 

The stands were named the North Stand, East Stand, West Stand, and the Double Decker. The Double Decker was a unique, two-tiered stand that was located behind the south-end goal. The stadium was built mainly of concrete and had distinctive floodlights at each corner of the ground.

In 1994, the final terraced section of the ground was converted into a seating area, bringing it into compliance with safety regulations and turning Filbert Street into an all-seater stadium. 

East Stand at Filbert Street

By the time the Foxes departed Filbert Street in 2002, the stadium’s east stand was less than impressive. In fact, former Leicester City manager, Martin O’Neil reportedly once joked that he led potential signings out of the stadium backwards to prevent them from catching a glance of the stand. Nevertheless, it was loved by Leicester fans all the same. It was used to accommodate both home and away fans – with the away supported located towards the south of the stand. 

Carling Stand at Filbert Street

The West Stand at Filbert Street, better known as the Carling Stand, was the largest section of the ground, with a capacity of 9,500. It replaced the previous main stand at the ground, which was built in 1921 and demolished in 1993, and cost a whopping £5.35 million to construct. It was an incredibly unique-looking stand, with many likening its aesthetic to that of a traditional goalpost. 

North Stand at Filbert Street

Filbert Street’s North Stand, on the other hand, was one of the smallest sections of the ground. It was a low stand, with the bottom half consisting of a seating area, and the top half comprised of executive boxes, first constructed in 1975, that ran along the full length of the stand. 

Double Decker Stand at Filbert Street

The South Stand at Filbert Street, also known as the ‘Double Decker’ was a two-tiered stand that was extremely popular among fans. When it was first constructed, the stand had a seating area on the top tier, with a terraced standing section on the bottom – a section that was split between home and away fans. However, this standing area was replaced with a second seating area in 1994, in accordance with new health and safety regulations. 

Although the expansion of the existing Filbert Street was the club’s first option, the fact that the ground’s North and East stands backed onto residential housing meant that plan would prove too costly for the Foxes. 

As a result, Leicester City swapped Filbert Street for the larger King Power Stadium – situated in Freeman’s Wharf, and their Filbert Street site was sold to a development company two months before the club’s last match at the ground. A year later, in March 2003, demolition of the stadium began. 

Nowadays, a housing complex, designed to accommodate local University students makes up the majority of the site, with the main road running through the development named Lineker Road, after club legend Gary Lineker. 

Filbert Street may no longer be the Foxes’ home, but the stadium’s legacy lives on, and Leicester City fans still remember it fondly as the home of many great moments in the club’s history.

Filbert Street then and now

Photo by Archaeology Data Service.
Photo by Insider Media.
Photo by Archaeology Data Service.
Photo by Daily Mail.

The stadium had a capacity of approximately 22,000 spectators by the time it was closed, but had a much larger capacity than this throughout its history. It was expanded to hold 30,000 in the 1920s, although reports suggest that Filbert Street often played host to a crowd much larger than this figure. 

During the Second World War, parts of the ground were destroyed as a result of bombs and fires, which saw its capacity reduced to 42,000. The stadium’s record attendance was set in 1928, on February 14 – a game in which 47,298 spectators were in attendance to see Tottenham secure a 3-0 away victory in the FA Cup. 

Filbert Street was known for its compact size, which created an intense and intimidating atmosphere. The stadium was also known for its distinctive Double Decker stand, which provided excellent views of the pitch.

The last match played at Filbert Street was a 2-1 victory for Leicester City over Tottenham Hotspur on May 11, 2002. By and large, the 2001/02 campaign was a disaster for the Foxes, with the club suffering relegation upon its completion. 

However, the club were able to leave Filbert Street with a victory, on what was an incredibly emotional day. Teddy Sheringham had initially put the visitors ahead after converting his spot-kick early in the second half. But, goals from Paul Dikov and a diving header from academy graduate Mathew Piper in the 71st minute ensured the club’s 111-year relationship with Filbert Street ended on a high. 

 

 

Updated 30th January 2024