Nottingham Forest 1978, Blackburn Rovers 1995 and now Leicester City 2016. These three top flight successes are the most iconic in footballing history, with The Foxes finishing top of the pile in the latest Premier League campaign. After being an incredible 5000-1 to lift the trophy before a ball was kicked, Claudio Ranieri’s men have defied all odds to quash any doubters. Pundits and football fans continually envisioned that the wheels would inevitably fall off, but remarkably, the nuts didn’t loosen and they hauled themselves over the finish line with two games to spare.
As a Coventry City supporter myself, it’s safe to say that I had other preferences in regards to the title, but I have to take my hat off to them. I remember when we were both in the Championship during the 2007/08 season and Leicester were relegated to League One. Who would have thought that just seven years later they’d qualify for Champions League football? As a club they have undergone a real transformation and things are looking incredibly bright for their supporters with the current ownership. It’s just a shame I’ll never hear the end of this from my Leicester supporting friends…
With all my allegiances put to one side, I have to admit that the East Midlands outfit are deserved winners. Maybe a few of the bigger clubs in the division underperformed and that opened the door for an unexpected winner, but a huge amount of credit has to be handed to Leicester for ensuring that it happened to be them. Regardless of what any bitter individuals may say, it is no fluke that Ranieri has won his first Premiership trophy. Despite not splashing out an extortionate amount of money that the champions of the past may have done, they have only lost three league fixtures at the time of writing. The table doesn’t lie.
Of course, Ranieri has been privileged when selecting his starting lineup as very few injuries affected the squad. Consistency goes a long way in football and when you have a settled group of players, that can prove the difference in a game that is notorious for being settled by finr margins. For example, their back line has been relatively unchanged all season and this has allowed the likes of Robert Huth and Wes Morgan to build a solid understanding. It is no coincidence that Leicester have conceded on average less than a goal a game, the foundations are firmly in place.
Up the other end of the pitch, Jamie Vardy needs no introduction. What a season he has had. From a Non-League striker a few seasons ago to one whom has broken Premier League records and forced his way into England’s squad, he boasts his own fairytale story. Then you have Riyad Mahrez, the PFA player of the season. The Foxes acquired his services for a rumoured £375,000, a meagre sum of money for such an outstanding talent. His form has also been crucial to his side’s success, scoring 17 goals and setting up 11 for his teammates from midfield.
With their triumph worth around £150 million and European football coming to Leicester next term, what lies in store for The Foxes? They’ll be hoping that their fortunes differ to Blackburn’s after their top flight win, the Lancashire club suffering relegation just four years later following a host of players departing. It is certainly an interesting chapter in the football club’s history and one that has caused the world of football to take note. I’ll certainly never be a Leicester fan, but this season has restored some faith that football isn’t always about who spends the most cash. I just hope we can one day return to the big time, even if we can’t quite emulate this feat.