Then I’ll begin.
Once upon a time there was a club called Leicester City – the ugly sisters of the Premier League who had waited 132 years to meet their Prince Charming. After a number of suitors turned them down along came Claudio Ranieri. How the fair kingdom of the Premier League laughed, “you wanted Prince Charming “ they cried “and instead you got Buttons!”
Who is laughing now at this happiest of endings…
I’ve just got back from a busy night/day in Leicester after reporting on a story that has turned out to be one of THE greatest sporting tales of all time – the stuff of dreams, fairytale and legend.
It’s been a joy to watch the story of Leicester City unfold this season, a real page turner. Beating odds of 5000-1 they will be lifting the Premier League trophy this weekend and deservedly so.
We’ve all been charmed by Ranieri – he has been funny, warm and relaxed throughout the most tense of campaigns. He has trusted his players to do their jobs and this has in turn created a team spirit, the likes of which you cannot manufacture, the team have enjoyed their football, been good at it and are now Champions with 2 games to go.
These players have all had difficult paths to get to this point, they were described as the ‘leftovers’ of football (after what they have achieved I hate writing that), their captain Wes Morgan describes them as “a band of brothers” who play for each other and scenes of the team watching their fate unfold on Monday Night Football at Jamie Vardy’s party summed it up perfectly. And anyway, everyone knows the leftovers are often the best bit.
I was a student in Manchester when United won the treble and I remember watching that famous Champions League win in 1999 and then spilling out onto the streets to celebrate, then just for good measure soaking up the atmosphere during the open top bus parade on their return home.
It was one of those “I was there” moments but to be honest I’m not a Man United fan and it felt a bit like I was invited to a party through a friend of a friend who knows the host’s sister, oh ok they only met briefly once. But with Leicester City’s celebrations it really felt like I and everyone else was invited personally by the City of Leicester.
Never again will a team win the Premier League with fans of every other club to a man, woman or child applauding their success and ready to admit that if it couldn’t be their team, they are glad it is Leicester City.
I remember after London 2012 football was the target of criticism. Why can’t footballers be role models like these athletes? Why can’t the game and it’s acheivements inspire like the Games? This year it has.
Such has been the style and attitude of this Leicester City team – that everyone is a Leicester City fan this season and it’s ok to say it out loud …
Leicester City has ripped up the Premier League manual, Ranieri has admitted that he’s even not too sure how they did it.
This club has given every fan hope going into next season whatever division they are in. But this isn’t just an inspirational tale for sport – it is much more than that. The majority of these City players and their manager were written off but they have shown that NOTHING is impossible.
Some bookies said there was more chance of finding Elvis alive than Leicester City achieving their dream – well Leicester City have done it and I saw Elvis in Bru on Granby Street where he served me a mean Vardycino….