On Saturday 6th October 2012 I visited the King Power Stadium to watch Leicester City play Bristol City in the Championship.
As Chesterfield were making the long trip to Aldershot today, we decided to select another match to go to as we continue our attempt to visit all 92 league grounds. Looking down the fixture list, the game that stood out was Leicester City’s home game against Bristol City. Despite making a flying visit in January 2008 to take some photographs, we had never seen a match at the Foxes’ new stadium and so we decided to make the trip for this match.
It was a sunny October day and the journey to Leicester went smoothly, taking little more than an hour from Sheffield. Upon arrival, we went and bought our tickets for the game, for which we were located in the West Stand, before heading to nearby Filbert Street to take a look at the site of the former ground.
Leicester City played their home games at Filbert Street from 1891 until moving to their new stadium in 2002. The final game at the stadium was on 12th May 2002 when the Foxes defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-1. I never got the opportunity to see a game at the old ground as I was only 6 years old when they left, but my Dad did visit once in 1988 to watch Leicester beat Manchester City 1-0.
Today, the ground has been demolished and replaced by student accommodation named ‘Filbert Village’. There are still a few reminders that a football ground once stood on the site. Some of the area where the pitch once stood is still visible and the road running through the site is named ‘Lineker Road’, after one of their most famous players and supporters, Gary Lineker.
The new stadium, currently called the King Power Stadium, is just a stone’s throw from Filbert Street and we made the short walk back to the ground to take photographs and soak up the matchday atmosphere.
The ground looks impressive from the outside with a large glass club badge on the wall and the store is very large, selling everything from replica shirts to garden gnomes!
As we passed the players entrance, I noticed a small crowd of supporters and a few players signing autographs. I am never one to miss an opportunity to get a photo with footballers and so I met Lloyd Dyer, Conrad Logan, Andy King, Ritchie De Laet and David Nugent, all of who were very friendly.
After having a walk around, taking plenty of photos and buying a programme, we decided to make our way through the turnstiles and take our seats.
The ground is typical of many modern stadiums, such as Pride Park, with a single tiered stand all the way around it. Our first view of the stadium was at pitch level and I was very impressed it. Each stand has different words printed on the seats, which gives them a bit of identity and the view of the action was excellent. The atmosphere was also very good with the home supporters singing throughout and overall, the King Power Stadium is a great place to watch football.
Before the game, I had a picture with Leicester City legend and club ambassador Alan Birchenall at pitch side as he signed a few autographs and also Leicester mascot Filbert the Fox!
The Leicester fans have been given plenty to shout about this season by their team, who sat second in the Championship table coming in to this match and still had a 100% home league record. Victory would place them at the summit of the league table, although possibly not for long as leaders Cardiff City faced Ipswich Town later in the day.
Remarkably, despite an excellent run of form which had also seen the Foxes win their last 4 league games, Nigel Pearson’s position as manager of the club was rumoured to be under threat. A victory in this game would be a major boost for the man who was in his second spell in charge of the club.
Meanwhile, Bristol City’s start to the new campaign hadn’t been as consistent with just 3 wins in 8 and no victory since mid-September. Derek McInnes’ side sat in the mid table and were in desperate need of a victory if they wanted to avoid another relegation battle. As a result, the Robins’ boss made 3 changes to the side that held Millwall to a 1-1 draw in midweek and this included former Chelsea player Jody Morris making his first start for the club.
The home side were by far the more dominant side in the opening exchanges as they looked to continue their excellent start to the season. David Nugent came close early on when the ball fell to him at close range but his low shot was instinctively saved by Tom Heaton.
The Foxes continued to look dangerous as Lloyd Dyer charged forward and beat a man before firing the ball in to the side netting, while Anthony Knockaert saw is free kick fly just wide of the post.
The visitors rarely threatened and Ghana international Albert Adomah’s effort summed up their half as he saw his effort go well wide of Kasper Schmeichel’s goal.
Nugent should have opened the scoring after around a quarter of an hour when Knockaert’s cross found him unmarked in front of goal, but the attacker headed the ball over the crossbar.
However, the former England international made up for this by giving Leicester City the lead in the 19th minute. Jamie Vardy played the ball forward and Nugent outpaced Robins defender Liam Fontaine before slotting the ball in to the net to give the home side a deserved lead.
The Foxes had made their early dominance count but the rest of the half was rather quiet and so at the break it was 1-0.
The home side continued to control the game and looked much more likely to score the second goal. Andy King shot was just inches past the post and Nugent almost gifted Knockaert an opportunity but his shot was blocked by a Bristol City defender.
Finally, the Foxes deservedly doubled their advantage on the 74th minute to put the result beyond doubt. King crossed the ball towards the far post and Richard Foster headed the ball in to his own net.
In the final seconds of the game, Nugent once again played Knockaert through on goal but the Frenchman’s shot was magnificently saved by Heaton in the Bristol City net.
It was a deserved victory for Leicester City, who had dominated the vast majority of the game while Bristol City had rarely looked like threatening Schmeichel’s goal. The result put the Foxes at the top of the Championship table, although not for long as Cardiff City returned to this position with a 2-1 win at Ipswich Town.
I really enjoyed my day at the King Power Stadium. It was lovely sunny day, a great stadium and an entertaining football match.
Leicester City 2–0 Bristol City
Nugent ’19, Foster (og) ’74Schmeichel, Konchesky (De Laet ’46), Morgan, St Ledger (Whitbread ’63), Moore, Drinkwater, King, Dyer, Knockaert, Vardy (Marshall ’51), Nugent Heaton, Foster, Fontaine, Nyatanga, Carey (Wilson ’70), Skuse, Pearson, Morris (Anderson ’82), Adomah, Baldock (Davies ’59), Taylor Attendance: 22,529