Anyone with a passing interest in English football will no doubt be aware that Leicester City defied the odds in the 2015/16 season to become Premier League champions, but have the Foxes ever won the FA Cup? In case that is all you are interested in finding out, let us cut straight to the chase: yes, Leicester City have indeed won the FA Cup, in the 2020/21 season when they beat Chelsea 1-0 at Wembley Stadium.
There is lots more to discuss about Leicester’s many attempts to win the FA Cup before eventually tasting success. In this article, we will take a look back at some of Leicester’s FA Cup milestones and their most memorable moments in the world’s oldest football tournament, and we will also explain why the 2020/21 final was played in front of just 20,000 supporters (though you might not want to be reminded of the reason!).
How Leicester Won the FA Cup in 2020/21
Leicester were managed by former Liverpool and Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers at the time and though they were not doing too badly in the league, they clearly had not been able to emulate their title-winning heroics of the 2015/16 campaign. Still, the Foxes made short work of Stoke City in the third round of the cup as they won 4-0 away. Another away win followed in the fourth round (3-1 at Brentford) before a narrow 1-0 triumph over Brighton on home soil.
The Foxes faced a tough quarter-final draw in the form of 12-time FA Cup winners Manchester United. But Rodgers’ men rose to the challenge and won 3-1 thanks to a brace from Kelechi Iheanacho and a goal from Youri Tielemans. The prize for that victory was a relatively easy semi-final clash against Southampton. No semi is easy, but considering the other featured Chelsea and Manchester City, Foxes fans were clearly happy. It wasn’t all plain sailing on the pitch, however, and Leicester relied on Iheanacho once again to edge a 1-0 triumph at Wembley.
The final against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea was not exactly a classic and was perhaps not helped by the depleted crowd, but Rodgers’ side kept things tight and did enough to earn a 1-0 victory and thus their first ever FA Cup. Youri Tielemans was the man on target for the Foxes, and his 63rd-minute screamer was certainly a worthy winning goal.
Why Were Only 20,000 Fans at the Final at Wembley?
The 2020/21 final had the second-lowest attendance of any FA Cup final at Wembley. The lowest of the lot (with no fans in attendance) was the 2019/20 edition, which should give a big hint as to the reason… yep, that darn global health crisis that decimated sport (and all kinds of other things) between 2020 and 2022. Leicester and Chelsea could at least have 20,000 more fans than the Arsenal versus Chelsea game a year earlier, but it’s fair to suggest the atmosphere was not quite what you would expect on cup final day.
Leicester City’s Overall FA Cup Record
Here we present some of the key aspects of Leicester’s FA Cup record over the years (correct as of the end of the 2022/23 season):
- Number of FA Cup Tournament Victories – One (2020/21)
- Number of Times Finishing as FA Cup Runners-Up – Four (1948/49, 1960/61, 1962/63, 1968/69)
- Number of Times as Losing Semi-Finalists – Three (1933/34, 1973/74, 1981/82)
- Number of FA Cup Match Victories – 166
- Number of FA Cup Defeats – 121
- Number of FA Cup Draws – 72
- Leicester City FA Cup Goals Scored – 626
- Leicester City FA Cup Goals Conceded – 485
Leicester City’s FA Cup Milestones
Here we will run through some of Leicester’s most significant milestones in the FA Cup.
Leicester’s First FA Cup – 1890/91
Leicester first competed in the FA Cup way back in the 1890/91 season when they were still known as Leicester Fosse (a name they kept until after the First World War). The side were clearly out of practice (they had no league matches that season, according to the historical records) and ended up getting hammered 4-0 by the mighty Burton Wanderers in the first qualifying round.
First Victory in FA Cup Tournament Proper – 1893/94
Leicester gained their first victory in the FA Cup in the tournament proper (i.e. not just a qualifying or preliminary round) on 27th January, 1894 when they beat Blackpool-based side South Shore 2-1. That set up a second-round tie with the side that would become local rivals, Derby County. The Foxes battled to a 0-0 draw on home turf but lost the replay 3-0. Leicester would not make it to the second round of the competition for another 14 seasons!
Leicester Biggest FA Cup Victory – 1894/95
Leicester’s biggest-ever victory in the FA Cup – and indeed in any competitive match – came in the first qualifying round in the 1894/95 season when they hammered Notts Olympic 13-0 at home. That is one impressive scoreline… although Preston North End went five better in the first round proper of the previous season’s FA Cup when they walloped Reading 18-0!
First FA Cup Quarter Final – 1909/10
Leicester’s first sojourn into the latter stages of the FA Cup came in the 1909/10 season when they reached the quarter-final stage in the 39th renewal of the tournament. After overcoming Birmingham City 4-1 away in the opening round, Leceister Fosse – as they were still known – edged past Bury in the second round (3-2) and earned a 1-0 away win at Leyton in the third round.
This set up a very tough tie with the reigning First Division champions of the day, Newcastle United. Although it was just the fourth round, this was also the quarter-final back then. Leicester, who were relegated to the second division at the end of the previous season, couldn’t match the Magpies and got beaten 3-0.
First FA Cup Semi-Final – 1933/34
It was not until 1933/34 that Leicester City (as they were now called) made it to the last four of the FA Cup. By then an established First Division side, the Foxes only joined the competition at the third round stage, where they beat Lincoln City 3-0 at home. An exciting-looking 6-3 away win at Millwall came next, followed by a 2-1 victory at Birmingham. Another tight win came in the sixth round (1-0 over Preston North End) to set up Leicester’s first-ever FA Cup semi-final against Portsmouth at the neutral venue of St Andrew’s in Birmingham. Things didn’t go to plan for Peter Hodge’s men and they lost 4-1.
First FA Cup Final – 1948/49
Under the managerial guidance of Johnny Duncan, Leicester made it to their first FA Cup final in the 1948/49 season. The Foxes made hard work of their road to Wembley, however, as they required two replays to overcome Birmingham in the third round and another to get past Luton in the fifth round, with whom they drew 5-5 before winning the return match 5-3!
Leicester faced two-time FA Cup winners Wolverhampton Wanderers in the final, and – in front of a monster crowd of almost 100,000 supporters, the Foxes fell short on the day and lost the match 3-1.