This was the first major honour in the club’s history. It had taken 80 years. The following season, the club almost did it again reaching the final only to lose to Chelsea 3-2, all of the goals being scored in the first leg at Stamford Bridge.
Further glory in the League Cup occurred over three decades later when Martin O’Neil’s unfashionable Foxes appeared in three finals in the space of four seasons. On a glorious Spring Day on 6th April 1997, Leicester beat a star-studded Middlesborough side managed by Bryan Robson, the young Emile Heskey prodding in a late equaliser at Wembley before Steve Claridge’s goal won the replay in extra time at Hillsborough. Heskey, incidentally, holds the record for the most appearances in a final (6) with his three clubs, Leicester City, Liverpool and Aston Villa.
Two seasons later, an 89th minute Spurs winner prevented O’Neil from winning the trophy again but in 2000, in his last season at Filbert Street, the Northern Irishman returned to Wembley to lead his team to a 2-1 victory over second-tier Tranmere Rovers, both Leicester goals scored by centre half and skipper Matt Elliott.
Since then, success in the League Cup has eluded the Foxes. In the 23 years since the club last won the competition, they have been knocked out eight times at the third round stage, and have only reached the quarter finals five times and the semi-final once (a narrow defeat to Villa in the 2019-20 season).
There is no doubt that in recent years the bigger clubs have taken the competition more seriously as a way of appeasing their fans when the two more senior trophies have proven beyond them or just because they want to win everything. In the 23 finals since the turn of the century, 18 have been won by one of the ‘big 6’, the two Manchester giants successful 11 times (City 6 and United 5). Blackburn, Middlesborough, Spurs, Birmingham City and Swansea City have won it once each in the same period. It is therefore much more difficult for smaller clubs – such as Wolves, Norwich, Oxford, Luton and Forest who all won the Cup in the 1980s – to get to the final let alone come away with winner’s medals.
You never know. Get past Liverpool and a league and cup double might be possible for the Foxes this season. Now, that would be something.