The Spion Kop, Filbert Street, was born in the Summer of 1900, when some rudimentary wooden terracing behind the south goal was replaced by earthwork banking. It was named after a battle in the Second Boer War – in Afrikaans spioen means ‘spy’ or ‘look-out’, and kop means ‘hill’ or ‘outcrop’. The Battle of Spion Kop, a British defeat, was fresh in the memory having taken place in January.
In 1908 Leicester Fosse’s first promotion to the First Division was marked by a roof being built over the Spion Kop terrace.
In the summer of 1927 this roof was removed and reconstructed over the Filbert Street end to make way for the building of the Double Decker stand.
Little changed on the Kop for many years until the increasing amount of hooligan activity in the late 60s and early 70s forced the club to introduce a penning system to restrict crowd movement. In the Summer of 1972 Pens 1, 2, 3 and 4 were born.
In 1978 the away fans were moved from the north-east corner to a permanent place in Pen 1, which altered the nature of the Kop, with the livliest and loudest occupying Pen 2 so they could be next to the visitors, and the more reserved City fans heading for Pen 4.
At the begining of the 1982-83 season Pen 2 was closed. With falling gates the club could afford a bigger no man’s land between away and home fans, though this was a hugely unpopular move.
On the final day of the 1990-91 season, with City staring down the barrel of relegation to the third tier for the first time in their history, supporters’ lobby group Ambitious Leicester Fans requested that the club give the whole of the Kop back to the supporters so they could fully get behind their team. The club agreed to this, City beat Oxford and survived by the skin of their teeth, and the Kop was all City from then on.
Sadly in the Summer of 1994 the Kop had to be made all-seater due to the post Hillsborough Lord Justice Taylor Inquiry.
City’s first game in the Premier League, a defeat against Newcastle, saw the Kop seated for the first time.
Though a group of fans did remain standing in their seats right up until the final ever game at Filbert Street in 2002, mostly in the area that had been Pen 1, which was dubbed Crazy Kop Corner.
The Kop, along with the rest of Filbert Street, closed for business in 2002 and was slowly demolished over the next year.
The memories remain however, and feel free to share yours with us in the comments section below…