The Walkers Stadium is a football stadium which plays home matches to English football team Leicester City F.C. The all-seater stadium, inaugurated in July 2002, holds 32,500 and although it's address is Filbert Way it is named in a ten year deal after sponsors Walkers, a former shirt sponsor of Leicester. It offers un-obstructed views from every seat.
Leicester's previous stadium was at nearby Filbert Street. As a result of the success of Leicester during the late 1990s and the increasing popularity of football, the club outgrew Filbert Street to the extent that nearly every home game was a 21,500 sell out. Some parts of the ground - the East and North Stands in particular - were also somewhat outdated, which led the manager, Martin O'Neill to joke that when he showed Filbert Street to new signings he led them backwards out of the players tunnel to prevent them from seeing the East Stand.
After an abortive attempt to build a new 40,000 all-seater stadium at Bede Island South, the club turned their attention to Freemans Wharf, a 22-acre former power station site about 200 yards south of Filbert Street. Planning permission was granted for a 32,500 all-seater stadium designed by the Miller Partnership in November 2000 and construction began in June 2001.
The stadium was completed on time in 2002, ready for Leicester to take up residence for the start of the 2002/03 season.
The stadium was officially opened by former Leicester striker Gary Lineker on 23 July 2002. He used a giant pair of scissors to cut a ribbon on the pitch after arriving at the stadium in a Walkers lorry. The first game at the new stadium was a friendly against Spanish team Athletic Bilbao, on 4 August 2002.
The game finished 1-1, with Tiko scoring the first goal at the stadium, and Jordan Stewart scoring Leicester's first goal. The attendance was approximately 24,000 (no official figure was recorded due to a computer problem). The first competitive match took place six days later and Leicester beat Watford 2-0 in front of a near capacity crowd of 31,022. Brian Deane scored both goals, including the stadium's first in competitive games.
Name: Walkers Stadium
Inauguration: 23 July 2002
Capacity: 32,500 seats
Record Attendance: 32,148; Leicester-Newcastle Utd, 2003
Address: Filbert Way, Leicester, LE2 7FL
Club: Leicester City
Club colours: Blue & White
The Walkers Stadium
Tel: 0870 040 6000
The National Cirtual Museum
Leicester City Museums
Leicester Through Lens