BY JOE APU
Fairy tales are often not reality, but living in fantasy. However, for Leicester City, her fairy tale has turned a huge reality and her fans are savouring it not wanting to wake up from it in a hurry.
Wake up they should because their winning the English Premiership as outsiders is true and it makes them just the second after Blackburn Rovers in the 1994/95 season.
Leicester City finished the 2014/15 season struggling with relegation at the 14th position. In the FA Cup, the club lost out in the 5th round and crashed out in the second round of the League under coach
Nigel Pearson, but the club completed her improbable run for the 2015/16 Premier League title this week, a run that started before the season as 5, 000-1 long shots. One of the reasons Leicester was such an underdog is because teams like her almost never win league cup in England’s highest level of football.
Since the Premier League was formed in 1992, there had been 24 championships. Of those, 22 were won by one of the so-called “Big 5,” Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal. Leicester City is just the second club outside the Big 5 to win the league.
One of the great things about English soccer is that the more than 7, 000 clubs that make up the hierarchical pyramid of English football can dream of someday reaching the top flight and winning it all. But for most of the Premier League’s history reality meant just being happy to join the highest level. Leicester City had now changed the game.
By winning the league, Leicester City had set plenty of club records this season, but five of their players had made history for their countries, too.
Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez; Jamaican star, Wes Morgan; Swiss midfielder, Gokhan Inler; Andrej Kramaric of Croatia and Tunisia’s Yohan Benalouane are the first players from their respective nations to feature for a Barclays Premier League title-winning team.
55 countries had contributed men to the eventual Premier League champions in the competition’s 24 seasons of existence.
Mahrez and Morgan were two of the key driving forces behind Leicester’s title charge and both would be at the centre of the celebrations when they lift the trophy, following their game against Everton on Saturday.
Inler had proven to be a more peripheral figure in the side since joining from Napoli in the summer, while Kramaric and Benalouane played minor parts in the early stages of a season before the former was sent on loan to Hoffenheim.
When Chelsea won the title last season, the club only added Colombia’s Juan Cuadrado and Mohamed Salah of Egypt to the list of nations with a firsttime title winners on these shores.
For Leicester’s performance, the club had been lined up to meet Barcelona in the International Champions Cup at the Friends Arena, Stockholm in a preseason friendly on August 3 at 8.00pm CET.
Amazing season for Ranieri
Claudio Ranieri returned to the Barclays Premier League after an 11-year absence when he was appointed Leicester City manager on 13 July 2015.
From September 2000 to June 2004, Ranieri managed Chelsea and guided the club to the Champions League semi-final and FA Cup final in his spell at Stamford Bridge. Prior to becoming Head Coach at Chelsea, the Italian managed Cagliari to successive promotions to reach Serie A in 1989/90 before taking charge of Napoli the following season.
After winning Ligue 2 as manager of Monaco for the first time in the club’s history in 2012/13, Ranieri then guided the club to second in Ligue 1 in the next campaign. A short spell as Greece’s national manager ended in November 2014, but it was not long before the Roma-born coach returned to management when he was announced as Leicester City manager
ahead of the 2015/16 season.
Kasper like father Schmeichel
Kasper Schmeichel has long been compared to his father Peter and now the Leicester goalkeeper can add another similarity to that list after he became a Premier League winner on Monday night.
In a scary coincidence, the Schmeichels won their first league titles- both aged 29, on the same bank
holiday Monday, 23 years apart and ironically neither had to set foot on the pitch to get the job done.
With Tottenham surrendering a two-goal lead to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Foxes players watched from the comfort of Jamie Vardy’s house as Spurs, quite literally imploded in a bad-tempered 2-2 draw.