Leicester has done it.
Leicester’s dream of winning the Premier League title has become a reality as Tottenham’s 2-2 draw to Chelsea mathematically rules them out of the championship race.
Foxes fans can rejoice. Players can rejoice. Manager Claudio Ranieri can rejoice.
Let the party begin.
The Leicester fairy tale is a truly inspiring one. Last season, the Foxes won seven of their final nine games to avoid relegation and in doing so became the third Premier League team ever avoid relegation after being bottom at Christmas.
Prior to the start of this season, the Foxes sacked coach Nigel Pearson due to the behaviour of his son and appointed Claudio Ranieri as his successor.
Many pundits criticised the coaching decision, with the highly regarded Gary Linekar calling it an “uninspired decision.”
Ranieri had recently been sacked by the Greek national side following a defeat to the lowly Faroe Islands.
At the start of the season the Foxes were odds on favourites to be relegated and even one of our writers at Sportdot believed they had no chance of remaining in the Premier League.
But what transpired this season is straight out of a Hollywood film.
Leicester didn’t win the title with any ground breaking tactical prowess, they simply stuck to the tried and tested.
While the big clubs over possess the ball and play 4.3.3 or 126.96.36.199 formations, trying to replicate the Barcelona style of play, Leicester turned back the clock, relying on a counter-attacking 4.4.2 formation, a style straight out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s 1990’s playbook.
It will be interesting to see if the Foxes success has an impact on football around the world. As revenue continues to grow in the Premier League, with the new broadcast deal, the power clubs (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United) will continue to spend enormous amounts of cash on players.
However it is the smaller clubs who will look to Leicester for guidance on how to build a successful side. In the past, English football has seen small clubs try to compete with the big boys and falter to the lower divisions of football.
Leeds United and Portsmouth are perfect examples of clubs who had spent larges sums of money and now are paying the price.
Leeds’s relegation from the Premier League came in 2003-04, due to the clubs financial woes following overspending on players. Since then they have not returned to the division.
Portsmouth filed for administration in 2009 and over the next four years were relegated to the fourth division in England.
Leicester has shown this year that a player’s price tag does not necessarily determine the quality of the player. Riyad Mahrez cost the Foxes £400,000, the equivalent of two weeks wages for Wayne Rooney. Mahrez was voted the Premier Leagues player of the season, while Rooney has been criticised for his form.
Mid-tier teams like Everton and Newcastle may look to Leicester for guidance on how to build a team. Both sides have large fan bases but have never been able to compete financially with the power clubs.
Chemistry between players can be just as important as their quality and these sides may now look for players who can complete a task admirably and have positive influence in the change rooms.
The Leicester fairy tale will go down in folklore as one of sports greatest upsets. The Foxes victory is up there with Greece winning the 2004 Euros and Australia claiming the 1983 America’s Cup.
It may take years to determine how the Foxes have changed the football landscape. It is not certain if their will ever be an upset like this again.
But what is definite, the Leicester story will be told to future generations and their fans will long remember the day they were the kings of England.