Leicester City: Football’s greatest ever fairytale

Date published: Thursday 5th May 2016 10:13

Leicester City: Football's greatest ever fairytale

Leicester City: Football's greatest ever fairytale

Three days after Leicester City were confirmed as Premier League champions, Derek Bilton gives his take on football’s greatest ever fairytale.

And so it was on May 2, 2016 it finally came to pass. The date when football’s greatest ever fairytale became a reality. A tale so outrageous, so utterly mind-blowing and enchanting, it will ensure these folkloric fantasy characters in blue will be remembered forever.

For the first time since its inception, a team bottom of the Premier League in April 2015 will finish top of the Premier League in 2016. But that doesn’t even begin to tell the full story. Not even close. For let’s have it right here. This is not just a title win. This is a collective morality tale for the ages.

I said on these very pages back in February that the Foxes were the perfect antidote to the ‘greed is good’ mentality of football’s established order in this country. And while many are still scratching their heads and trying to comprehend how a team that cost less than £22million has defied all logic and pulled it off, Leicester City are the league champions.

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‘I am the sausageman’ – Claudio Ranieri’s best quotes

Rating Leicester’s players as 5000/1 dream becomes reality

Boss Claudio Ranieri said the “heart and soul” of his players got them over the line. This is the same Claudio Ranieri who until this season had never won a league title. Always the bridesmaid but never the bride, Ranieri had previously finished second in the league in Italy (twice), France and England.

Worse still, he came to Leicester after overseeing a truly catastrophic spell in charge of the Greece national team, a spell that saw a humiliation in Athens in the shape of a 1-0 defeat to those bastions of the world game, the Faroe Islands.

Yet if he himself was suffering from a personal crisis of confidence at the end of last summer he never let it show as he set about marshalling Leicester towards the unthinkable.

And to his eternal credit he did it the right way – refusing to get bogged down in the mind games or petty mud-slinging that most modern coaches now do. This genteel and dignified Italian elder statesman simply stood tall and with a ‘Dilly ding’ here and a ‘Dilly dong’ there put his and Leicester’s name into footballing folklore.

Claudio Ranieri

No side has won the Premier League with such a paltry budget or such outrageous possession stats. All season long Leicester, the epitome of a lively, combative counter-attacking side, have averaged only around 40% of possession in matches. Against Manchester United on Sunday that figure was closer to 30%, but they still emerged for the Theatre of Dreams with a brilliant point.

A team of misfits who hit the front and simply refused to yield thereafter have combined to prove the doubters wrong.

Jamie Vardy, who four seasons ago was plying his trade at lowly Fleetwood (and before that as a worker in a carbon fibre factory) is now the Football Writers Player of the Year.

Riyad Mahrez, who once fled an icy St Mirren on a borrowed bike after a trial there started to go pear shaped, is the PFA Player of the Year.

And the likes of Wes Morgan, Robert Huth, Kasper Schmeichel and Danny Drinkwater will never have to buy another beer in the city for as long as they all shall live.

One of the smaller squads in the top flight, there has been precious little squad rotation, just a steely collective determination and an unrivalled mental strength. Crazy. Absolutely crazy.

The single biggest price gamble in the history of betting has been landed and the so called ‘pundits’ who doubted them can now ready themselves to eat a massive portion of humble pie apiece. The team they said couldn’t do it did do it. With two games to spare. Dilly ding Dilly dong indeed.

Derek Bilton

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Home Forums Leicester City: Football’s greatest ever fairytale

This topic contains 25 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Badfella Type 4 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 26 total)
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  • #997506
    Mark Holmes
    Mark Holmes
    Keymaster

    Three days after Leicester City were confirmed as Premier League champions, Derek Bilton gives his take on football’s greatest fairytale.

    [See the full post at: Leicester City: Football’s greatest ever fairytale]

    #997533

    Johnny Utah
    Participant

    A fairytale alright but Nottingham Forest’s rise under Clough is far more impressive. Although, this time next year if Leicester are preparing for their first CL final……

    #997581

    Badfella Type
    Participant

    what exactly did Notts do that was more impressive-before my time

    #997662
    banjo_chuckers
    banjo_chuckers
    Participant

    Basically, won promotion, won the title, won the European Cup, retained the European Cup in 4 successive seasons… if memory serves me correct!

    Now, and this is a good debate, is that better than arguably one-season wonders that, with all due respect, Leicester currently are? Forest defied the odds for at least three of those seasons (winning the title and two Euro Cups), but they didn’t perhaps have the competition of the money clubs that Leicester had in winning the title.

    For now, I would go with Forest, on the basis that they had 4 steller seasons in a row home and abroad, whereas Leicester have had only one steller season albeit with harder competition.

    #997716

    Tugayisgod
    Participant

    A myth they didn’t have the money. They were the first club to buy a player for £1m in Trevor Francis.

    #997776
    SensibleS7
    SensibleS7
    Participant

    Leicester’s achievement so far is compared to Forest of which I’m totally unaware of.

    What I would say for those in knowlege is that some 5/6 years ago, Leicester were in administration and were in a financial crisis not to mention playing League 1 football.

    Rewind 13 or so months, they facing relegation only to put on an exceptional run of results and deliver the great escape.

    Anybody in the right minds wouldn’t have even predicted Leicester to finish midtable, so this achievement is just a fairytale and one of which for me still hasn’t sunk in.

    #997890

    nine nine nine
    Moderator

    It’s a fairytale imo. I can’t ever remember a 5000/1 outsider winning anything before.

    #997968
    SensibleS7
    SensibleS7
    Participant

    Nine, the latest one I’ve heard mate is somebody scooping 50k from the Leicester Title bet.

    Recently, one bloke is cashing in on 12k and the other being a girl pocketing 10.

    None of these type of bets naturally come in, it’s simply a miracle 😀

    #997974
    SensibleS7
    SensibleS7
    Participant

    “There’s only one Jamie Vardy, one Jamie Vardy, there’s only one Jamie Vardy”

    “We’re all going on a European Tour, a European Tour, a European Tour”

    😀

    #998847
    Scouser in exile
    Scouser in exile
    Participant

    No disrespect to Forest who’s achievements were exemplary, but in the days that Forest achieved what they did, the monopoly of the top flight was a far cry from what it is today, that in itself makes Leicester’s achievement much more laudable. YNWA RIP the 96

    #999312

    foxyfoxes
    Participant

    In the season Forest came up from the old second division, they bought the best keeper in the land for half of the then current British Transfer Fee Record (then Kevin Keegan to Hamburg for 500k). Two seasons later they set a new British transfer record for Francis (1.18m).

    So far our record signing is Ulloah/Kramaric at 9m. The current British transfer record is 65m.

    For me, Forest’s story is more comparable to Blackburn’s achievement as they too splashed the cash and were extremely ambitious clubs. Both clubs also entered the leagues when there were quasi monopolies going on in that league. Man U were shoe-ins year in year out and Liverpool were at the beginning of their domination.

    Our club’s ambition was to stay in the PL, so this is not just a fairytale for football, it was also for all of the staff, owners, players and fans of Leicester City, as no one in the club ever thought this would happen at the start of the season.

    #999420
    SensibleS7
    SensibleS7
    Participant

    Hmmn.

    Whilst I can see similarities to Blackburn, Leicester’s achievements is just Roy-of-the-rovers stuff and still I find unbelievable to sink in.

    Undeniably, a historic loss to the Big House in the bookies – lots of payouts!

    Meanwhile, not encouraged to be shopping in town tomorrow unless you want to be mobbed by traffic. The party begins, sunrise!

    #999450

    foxyfoxes
    Participant

    Wish I could be there. I am the only LCFC supporter I know here in Brisbane.

    #999477
    SensibleS7
    SensibleS7
    Participant

    Foxy,

    I hope you’ll be able to celebrate in style whereever you are.

    Yes, the whole city since the title win and even leading up to it has been vibrant.

    Kick off tomorrow is 5:30, but I believe there’s a programme of celebrations put in place possibly from 3, if not, earlier.

    The financial implications in gain is unbelievable from this title win and just thinking of Leicester being a tourist attraction worldwide.

    Greatness out of this so-far is that the Managers and players have been kindly accessible and are receptive and appreciative to their supporters.

    #999519

    foxyfoxes
    Participant

    being where I am, it still hasn’t really sunk in yet. We Are the Champions came on the radio this afternoon and it was the first time I felt any euphoria. I assume they will blast that out at the King Power this Sat, just wish I could be there to lose my voice!

    #999639
    SensibleS7
    SensibleS7
    Participant

    Haha, hopefully, you’ll be able to watch the game.

    If you are able to receive, you can pick up updates and follow the action through this radio station:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radioleicester

    #999699

    Paxman
    Participant

    Johnny – Forest’s achievement was very impressive but there was not as bigger gap between the big boys and the smaller clubs in those days. To put it into perspective, before this season there has not been a team win the Prem who didn’t have a wage bill in the top 5 in the league, Leicester’s wage bill is in the bottom 5 in the league.

    #999711

    foxyfoxes
    Participant

    Yeah, at least I get to watch all the games, albeit in the dead of night.

    #999732

    Paxman
    Participant

    S7 – Foxy was comparing Forests achievement to Blackburn’s saying that Leicester’s was completely different.

    #999741

    foxyfoxes
    Participant

    Yes I was

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