From survival to revival. The Leicester City story is ripping up the script, re-writing the textbook, making people dream, giving football life again.
From humble beginnings, founded in 1884, Leicester City have never won a Premier League Title, in truth, they’ve never been close. The 2014/15 season saw a memorable revival, winning 7 of their last 9 games to escape the drop. Which makes it even more phenomenal that they come into this weekends match away at Old Trafford, favourites to win the Premier League.
The team is full of now not-so-hidden gems. PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez cost the club £400,000 in Januray 2014, phenomenal value for 17 goals and 11 assists, and the cheapest PFA Player of the Year for many years. Incredible when money seems to be no object nowadays.
Perhaps even more extraordinary is the story of Jamie Vardy. 5 years ago playing for Fleetwood Town in the Conference, this season breaking the great Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record – scoring in 11 consecutive games. Since then he has won his first England cap, and scored a wonder goal in a remarkable 3-2 win versus the World Champions Germany in their own back yard.
In truth, it has been an absolutely outstanding team performance from game 1 to game 38. The grit and courage shown by a team written off time and time again has been absolutely outstanding, and has made them the most popular team in the country at the moment, with everyone except Spurs fans wanting them to be crowned the Champions of England.
Each and every player has done their job above and beyond expectation, earning them 4 places in the Team of the Year, and the likes of N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater receiving international recognition.
Lets not forget the man who has overseen all of this, Claudio Ranieri. He has been a breath of fresh air to the Premier League, such a likeable character that seems to be a great man manager, and provided great entertainment in the process. It would be one hell of an achievement for him to return to the Premier League, win it in his first season back, and receive a guard of honour from his old club Chelsea on the final day of the season.
The power of such an achievement cannot be underestimated. It has bought the city together, with images of Vardy and Mahrez projected on buildings and the town hall being lit up blue.
Mind-blowing stories like this are why we love sport. Forget the money, forget the multi-million pound facilities – Leicester City are currently epitomising sport – and long may it continue!
Leicester City vs Manchester United, Sunday 1st May 2016, 14:05pm Kick-Off
Foxes Never Quit.
Will Wood, Leeds Beckett University, Sport Marketing Student
Farmery, T. (2016) • Vardy and Mahrez projected onto buildings in Leicester | Accessed: 30 April 2016
FATV (2016) • Amazing Jamie Vardy Back-heel Goal – Germany 2-3 England | 29 April 2016
Heisenberg Productions (2016) • Leicester City 2015/2016 | Accessed: 30 April 2016
Oakes, P. (2015) • Chelsea and Liverpool dealt blow as midfield target reveals plans to return to Roma | 29 April 2016
Premier League (2016) • Player profile | Accessed: 30 April 2016