The Stuff Of Dreams
At the beginning of the Premier League season Leicester City were 5000-1 odds against winning the league title, to have merely suggested a title challenge would have elicited mockery from the most esteemed journalists in the game, a fantasy that could not be achieved in the real world. Well, to hell with reason, Leicester City have achieved the unachievable.
It’s almost impossible to convey the magnitude of this feat but for much of last season Leicester languished in the relegation zone, which was no great surprise considering they were only promoted the season before. They ended the season strongly managing to stave off relegation and finished in a respectable 14th position. Their fans were delighted, and perhaps dreamed of an even better finish this season, but this historic victory has surely exceeded even their wildest expectations. The man who took Leicester City to glory was the humble and endearing Italian Claudio Ranieri, remarkably he hasn’t managed a Premier League team since he was sacked by Chelsea in 2004 who felt Ranieri didn’t have the calibre to win the title, but what a return it’s been, throughout his career titles have eluded Ranieri wherever he’s managed but all the years of failure must have been worth it for this one season of splendid triumph. When Ranieri was appointed last June, many were apprehensive and for good reason. Ranieri had just come off one of the most humiliating debacles of his career with the Greek national team which included a pitiful defeat to minnows, The Faroe Islands. His reputation was greatly damaged and there was little reason to suspect that Ranieri had the capacity to take the club forward, but never before have so many people been delighted to have been proven so wrong. Ranieri has remained grounded all season instructing his players to take it one game at a time and implored them to not get carried away with the prospect of a famous victory. And unlike in many underdog stories where the underdog relies on luck, few will deny that Leicester have been the superior and most consistent team during the whole season. And while Leicester depended on a remarkable defensive effort which saw them record twelve 1-0 victories courtesy of magnificent performances from players like Kanté, Huth and Morgan, they also bedazzled many fans with scintillating football by virtue of the skill and guile displayed by players like Mahrez, Okazaki and the clinical finishing from Ulloa and Jamie Vardy a former non-league player. But most of all, their togetherness and unity drove them to paradise which Ranieri must take great credit for.
As upsets go, it can’t be disputed that this is one of the best in the history of not just the game but all of sport. Leicester City have defied logic, done the unthinkable and have inspired the world. Their season of glory will forever be etched in the annals of sporting history.