5000/1! That’s the odds you would have been given if you wanted to bet on Leicester City winning the 2015/16 English Premier League. It’s the start of February and “The Foxes” sit top of the pile against all the odds and one can incredibly get 10/1 on the title heading to Leicester come May. A quite incredible story has been created this season by Claudio Ranieri and his team and many people genuinely believe they can win the league. The Italian has a point to prove, after being sacked by Chelsea in 2004 by Roman Abramovich and has since spent time on back on the Continent.
This time last season, Leicester were in a relegation “dogfight” and looked certain to be relegated back down to The Championship. What is staggering to the onlooker, is Leicester haven’t had near as much money ploughed into them like any previous winner of the Premier League. The Premier League is the richest league in the world, there is no way getting round that, but there is a genuine case that a team without the financial power of the top teams could win the title. Leicester have been a breath of fresh air this year and have defied the logic because a relatively small team have taken on the “big dogs” of the Premier League.
Leicester haven’t spent anything close to their rivals, but have spent wisely and the man in charge has proven how good a manager he is, with some shroud business deals. If Ranieri does take his team to the title, it would be a massive wake up call to the rest of the league. They will have won the league with a starting line up that is worth around £22m. To put that into perspective, Chelsea (last year’s champions) spent £25m to bring striker Diego Costa to Stamford Bridge. Jamie Vardy signed from non-league side Fleetwood Town for £1.2m and so far this season has scored 18 league goals, which includes the record-breaking run the 29 year old put together between August and November. The prospect of Leicester winning the title poses an interesting question. Does it make the Premier League look weak? English clubs have under performed in European competition in recent years and even if Leicester don’t win the title, they will at least finish in the top 4, which qualifies them for Europe’s most prestigious competition. That opens up a new direction for the club and its supporters, but that isn’t until next year. It certainly gives hope for teams that are usually in the league to make up the numbers and battle relegation. Leicester have no divine right to be anywhere near the top, but the results this year have suggested that they are more than guests.
This week the feeling from the football world was summed up perfectly by one football fan on a radio show. The Chelsea fan, whose side have surrendered their title with a dramatic fall this season, said “I want Leicester to win because my team can’t. That is the general opinion of every fan out with the top four or five.
There is still a long way to go, but Leicester are very much in control of their own destiny and if they can win the race, they will have caused one of the biggest upsets in modern football.
Author: Matt Findlay