Just before they fade away into oblivion following a dismal start to this season’s campaign, a throwback to how it all happened for the EPL defending champions wouldn’t hurt.
The least favorite team to win the league for the 2015/2016 season was Leicester City, with an unbelievable 5000/1 odds placed on them by bookmarkers to do so. The King Power Stadium outfit took the whole footballing world by surprise as they emerged winners of the league eventually, but how did their fairytale come about?
Despite pulling off one of the greatest relegation survival feats at the end of 2014-15 by winning six of their last eight matches of the season, not many saw them as a team to reckon with the following season.
Showing Nigel Pearson, who had brought them from the Championships the exit door, and appointing former Chelsea manager, Claudio Ranieri in his stead made matters worse. Many, including revered pundit and club legend Gary Lineker, questioned the club’s motive for appointing the tinkerman. They were definitely doomed for the drop this time around, or so thought many.
Having already brought in the likes of Vardy and Mahrez while Pearson was still head coach, the club’s former head of recruitment and scout Steve Walsh added Kante, another lower-division league player to the club’s unpopular squad upon Ranieri’s arrival.
Morgan, Albrighton, Huth, Simpson and Drinkwater had all been considered surplus to requirements at Notts County, Aston Villa, Chelsea, and Manchester United respectively as they showed little or no promising potentials in their youth and hay days. Yet, alongside the aforementioned trio, they became the core of a team that collectively and through unparalleled team work, pulled off the hardest, most surprising and most unlikely title-winning job in EPL history.
The 2015-16 season started on a good note, and afterwards, their fine run of form that had seen them lose only twice until December began to catch everyone’s attention. On Christmas day, they were top of the table. Just exactly a year ago in 2014, they were bottom of the table, and how that fortune reversed within the space of 12 months gave the team great belief and motivation for the remaining half of the season, while the world could only watch on in bewilderment.
With the backing of an army of supporters, the King Power Stadium became a fortress as Leicester recorded 12 wins, 6 draws and just a loss in their home ground all season. By May, they had only lost thrice, won 23 games and drawn 12, amassing a whopping 81 points – double the 40 points earlier targeted by Ranieri at the beginning of his tenure in order to stave off relegation.
Their story and famous title win will definitely go down in football folklore as a once-in-a-lifetime achievement, and that would inspire clubs regarded as minnows everywhere to aim for the very top even when nobody gives them the chance.
Leicester might never be able to record such amazing feat in many years to come, but nobody can take this away from them. History was made, and that’s all that will ever matter.