Why Are Leicester City Called The Foxes?

The Foxes of Leicester City
A Leicester City fan embraces the club's heritage before a match. Michael Regan / Getty Images

When Leicester City returned to the English Premier League in the summer of 2014, many were provoked to ask why the new additions are called the ‘Foxes’.

The Origin of the 'Foxes'

A history of foxhunting that dates back as far as 1753 prompted Leicester to inherit the nickname in 1920, and the animal is now a central feature of the club’s identity.

The club’s badge, entrance tune, and mascot have all been inspired by foxhunting tradition.

Originally called the Leicester Fosse — a colloquial term meaning ditch — the club’s nickname became the Fossils as they relocated to Victoria Park from a field off Fosse Road South.

Moving to Filbert Street in 1891, the ‘Fosse’ suffix lost its appeal and, by 1920, Leicester were no longer the Fossils, but City.

Before the club decided that ‘Leicester City’ had a ring to it, the ‘Filberts’ was trialed and the local Mercury newspaper even suggested the ‘Royal Nuts’.

Amusingly, The Nottingham Post made a case for the ‘Hunters’ and ‘Tanners.’

Recognizing that Leicestershire is the birthplace of foxhunting, the club eventually settled on the nickname ‘Foxes’ and, for the 1948/49 season, the golden animal was incorporated into the badge.

Hugo Meynell, Master of the Quorn Hunt that began in 1753, is regarded as the father of foxhunting, and his 18th-century residence was situated no further than 10 miles from the King Power Stadium, Leicester’s modern home.

The Club's Identity

Originally, two whips rested behind the head of the fox but these were later substituted for a cinquefoil crest, as the club’s identity evolved through the 1990s.

The fox has become a significant part of the club’s identity: players enter the field beneath the motto ‘Foxes Never Quit’, and to the sound of the Post Horn Gallop.

Calls for a more contemporary entrance tune arose as Leicester returned to the top flight, but they were soon quelled, as Leicester has continued to retain its deep traditional ties.