Leicester City Ladies F.C. is steeped in tradition and is very proud to have passed its 50 year anniversary in March 2016. Read on for a brief outline of their history.
Leicester City Ladies F.C. was formed in 1966 as Leicester Ladies F.C. Supporters Ladies. The first game was in May although training started in March. Peter Rodrigues the flying LCFC Welsh full-back sorted the shirts out for the team to play in for their first match. Times were hard and players bought their own socks and shorts to start with.
LCLFC affiliated with the then separate W.F.A. and the senior team joined the Midlands League. As the club grew it ran two teams, each playing in different divisions of the League. Searching for a fresh challenge for the first team, the club was streamlined to one league team again and joined the Nottinghamshire Ladies League where they progressed through the 3rd and 2nd divisions before establishing themselves in the 1st division.
Ladies football was re-organised to be compatible with the sports council regions of that time.  Consequently the Nottinghamshire league became the East Midlands Ladies League.  The FA took over from the WFA. Until promotion to the Midland Combination League in recent years, the highest placing was in 1992 when the Club finished second in the premier division.  Unfortunately at that time match facilities were not of the required standard to accept the offer of application to the newly-formed National League; a decision they came to regret as they struggled to achieve top spot, often 2nd, and so gain promotion over the next few seasons.
Working closely with Leicester City Council LCLFC supported many new initiatives to develop the game and St Margarets Pastures Sports Centre became the Club training ground. The inclusive section still trains there. A Reserves team was formed again to cater for the increased interest in our sport locally, and in 1992, the Club started a junior section to cater for all ages up to 16.  This development was a priority in female game.  The junior sections grew to attract around eighty youngsters in a couple of years.  1993 saw the formation of a third senior league team to satisfy the need for competitive matches for seniors.
In 1992, Leicester City Ladies renewed a closer association with Leicester City Football Club. LCLFC became part of their Community department and worked together to develop girls and ladies football in the City and County. Alan Bennett was the LCFC secretary originally. Later, they worked alongside Nev Hamilton, and with Barrie Pierpoint’s community team in the Martin O’Neill era. One highlight of these times was playing against our female counterparts as the pre-match entertainment in the play-off final v Crystal Palace at Wembley in 1996.
Leicester City Ladies’ junior and youth teams now catered for every age group.  They were all successful playing in the regional Central Warwickshire Youth League; as the local league was still developing. Supporting the local FA the club made a conscious decision to move them back to the County to support the now prospering Leicestershire junior league.The formation of the Leicester City female Centre of Excellence swallowed up many LCLFC players which was extremely difficult, and not necessary. Leicester City Ladies had to rebuild its Junior/Youth section but did continue to field very competitive teams .
The Leicester City Centre of Excellence linked with their Community Department, planned the formation of a new elite Leicester women’s team. Their plans would have led to the breaking up of Leicester City Ladies with only their better players being retained and the loyal, grass root, community membership being discarded. After much discussion Leicester City Ladies decided to stay loyal to its membership and continue along the development pathway serving the local community.  This meant working less closely with LCFC Club which was sad after all the great work of the past. However Leicester City Ladies continued their good work and both LCLFC 1st team and the other team, Leicester City Women, currently play in the same division. Leicester City Ladies now run three senior teams, Fosse and the Development team in the Leicestershire Women’s Senior League and the 1st team in the FA Women’s Premier League at the top of the Women’s winter football pyramid.
The Club welcomed their first mainstream boys’ team named LCLFC Blaby Blues into the Club at under 14 level in the Leicestershire Junior Sunday League . It only lasted one season but was a good experience. Leicester City Ladies had already linked with Woodgate 80 to form a mixed inclusive section which grew from strength to strength. Mary Rudkin developed this section, and when she so sadly passed away, her family have kept her legacy going and they continue to lead this group and is now run solely by The Club as LCLFC Woodgate FC. It is one of the largest inclusive sections in the country. All the hard work and initiatives meant LCLFC achieved Community Charter Standard. Leicester City Ladies FC are now in partnership with Aylestone Park FC and play at one of the best facilities in the County; named Linwood Playing Fields, on Saffron Lane, Leicester.
The Club, now in its 53rd year look forward to a successful future. The aim has always been to get the Senior 1st team to the top of the pyramid, and they will strive to achieve this whilst staying loyal to its membership and club ethos. Our journey has been tough many times but thanks to so many amazing volunteers we dust ourselves down and rebuild.
Leicester City Ladies have a history to be proud of thanks to many, many hardworking volunteers and players to whom they remain eternally grateful. We are the oldest club in the country so clearly we never quit. The next step? To find the investment required to progress and achieve the dream.