When Sky gained the rights to show Premier League games live from the 1992-93 season onwards it meant the end of live top flight English football on terrestrial TV. In the absence of ‘The Match‘ on ITV on Sunday afternoons a couple of alternatives emerged. Channel 4 began to air live Serie A games from Italy and some of the ITV regions showed the football league. Central and LWT made a commitment to have regular live matches whilst the other regions tended to be far more occasional.
Tony Francis was the presenter of Central Match Live with Jimmy Greaves usually alongside him whilst Alan Parry was the main commentator and the likes of Terry Cooper, John Sillett, Ron Atkinson, Trevor Francis and David Pleat did the co-commentary. Gary Newbon was the pitch-side reporter.
The area encompassing the Central region was fairly congested with a host of teams eligible to be covered so you often had to wait your turn. Here is the complete list of every time Leicester City were live on Central TV either as part of Central Match Live or The Match when shown across the whole ITV network.
31st May 1992; Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Leicester City – This heartbreaking Wembley Play Off Final defeat to Blackburn was shown live as part of a Central Sports Special programme in the Central region. Alan Parry and Jimmy Greaves provided one of the most biased commentaries I’ve ever heard! Granada TV covered it too with a different commentary team.
13th September 1992: Leicester City 0-0 Wolves – The birth of the hot-dog kid as keeper Russel Hoult was called from the stands shortly before this match to replace Carl Muggleton.
18th October 1992: Leicester City 0-2 Peterborough United – My mum said I couldn’t go to this game as we had guests visiting that afternoon. I still got to see the match and was kind of glad I didn’t bother wasting time, effort and money on going to the game. I don’t think I went to another televised league game again!
15th November 1992: Sunderland 1-2 Leicester City – An away game on TV at last and one that lives in the memory not only for Julian Joachim’s brace but also for his post match interview where he almost swore on live TV!
13th December 1992: Oxford United 0-0 Leicester City
28th February 1993: Leicester City 2-1 Birmingham City
11th April 1993: West Ham United 3-0 Leicester City
9th May 1993: Newcastle United 7-1 Leicester City – Not just shown in the respective regions but across the whole ITV network! It was 6-0 at half time!
31st May 1993: Swindon Town 4-3 Leicester City – Saint & Greavsie said at the end of the ITV coverage that this was one of the best ever matches to be played at Wembley, and they were right. It was another heartbreaking one for us Leicester fans though as yet again a dodgy penalty cost us a place in the Premier League. All looked to be going badly as a Hoddle-inspired Swindon went 3-0 up but an unbelievable comeback was on the cards before it all went wrong.
12th September 1993: Leicester City 1-1 Birmingham City
24th October 1993: Leicester City 1-0 Nottingham Forest
14th November 1993: Stoke City 1-0 Leicester City
5th December 1993: Southend United 0-0 Leicester City – Central showed a 2-2 draw between Wolves and Derby but this one was live on Anglia which we were lucky to also have at a time when having two different ITV networks seemed like a real bonus!
19th December 1993: Peterborough United 1-1 Leicester City
16th January 1994: Leicester City 2-1 Charlton Athletic
6th February 1994: Nottingham Forest 4-0 Leicester City – A horror show at the City Ground as Forest got their revenge for earlier in the season!
6th March 1994: Millwall 0-0 Leicester City – A bad tempered match which saw three red cards in the first half including Leicester’s David Oldfield.
8th May 1994: Wolves 1-1 Leicester City – All I remember about this is that it was a nothing-game whilst other Central-based teams were involved in a relegation battle.
30th May 1994: Leicester City 2-1 Derby County – Again this was on a Bank Holiday Monday with networked coverage presented by Matthew Lorenzo and Trevor Francis. Alan Parry and Kevin Keegan described the action as two goals from defender-turned-striker Steve Walsh saw the Foxes finally win at Wembley after seven attempts and the third Play Off Final in a row.
10th September 1995: Derby County 0-1 Leicester City – Foxes keeper Kevin Poole did it again in front of the TV cameras and saved a penalty. This time it was from John Harkes very early on before Julian Joachim scored the only goal of the game to win it.
5th November 1995: West Brom 2-3 Leicester City – A fabulous first half performance from Leicester saw them go three up with new signing Pontus Kaamark looking impressive. The other debutee though was the infamous Zeljko Kalac who had a nightmare!
19th November 1995: Leicester City 0-1 Tranmere Rovers
17th December 1995: Leicester City 3-2 Norwich City – A late winner from a very young Emile Heskey completed a comeback from 2-0 down. This match was perhaps more famous for the media frenzy pre-match when former Canaries boss Mike Walker was expected to be announced as the new Leicester manager.
* Alan Parry & John SillettAlan Parry
21st January 1996: Leicester City 0-0 Sunderland
3rd March 1996: Ipswich Town 4-2 Leicester City
5th May 1996: Watford 0-1 Leicester City – A Muzzy Izzet header sent Leicester into the play offs following a great end-of-season run of form.
12th May 1996: Leicester City 0-0 Stoke City – Kevin Poole to the rescue again as his saves kept the score even going into the second leg a few days later.
27th May 1996: Leicester City 2-1 Crystal Palace – “That could be the winner from Claridge. IT IS!!” said commentator Alan Parry as Wembley was stunned by Stevie Claridge’s last minute extra-time winner when a penalty shoot was looming. In fact, it was the substitution of the goalkeeper in anticpation of penalties which had confused the Palace team and the rest is history.
For the six seasons after that Leicester were in the Premier League and that was the end of live matches on free-to-air TV. Nowadays the majority of foxes games can be seen live with kick offs at various times of the week but these early 1990s matches serve as a reminder of a slightly more innocent time in live regional football coverage. Different times indeed!
Click here to read ‘The (Almost) Complete Record Of Leicester City vs. Scottish Clubs (Since 1940)’
Click here to read ‘Contributing To Leicester City Fanzine “The Fox”
Click here to read ‘Hong Kong 2017 Pt I: Watching Leicester In The Premier League Asia Trophy’
Click here to read ‘My Leicester City Memorabilia’
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