The fairy tale success of Leicester City winning the English Premier League has caught the imagination of the world.
The unfancied club which had never won any major silverware in more than 100 years was ranked as 5000-1 outsides for winning the title at the start of the season.
The bookies’ rating was based on the club having no recognised star players and only surviving relegation by the skin of their teeth last season.
In the summer, manager Claudio Ranieri was hardly heralded as a messiah. Aged 64 and always the bridesmaid at his previous clubs, he had won one minor trophy in 30 years touting his trade around Europe.
But Leicester City have led the league since almost the start of the season and astonished critics by snatching the title with two games to go.
Jamie Vardy sets scoring record
Striker Jamie Vardy was on fire. He was plucked from non-league obscurity in 2012 by the club. He scored in an amazing run of 9 league games in a row, setting a single season scoring record.
Vardy was picked for England and sealed his astounding rags to riches story with a cheeky back-heeled goal against Germany.
Ranieri developed a simple strategy that matched the skills of his team. They defended as a pack and then the players with pace would race to counter attack. The tactics were simple but effective.
The gulf between Leicester and the big money teams of Manchester is shown in the transfer value of the teams.
Leicester spent around £68 million on players. Manchester City’s squad is worth nearer £500 million.
Rich teams dominate
“This upset happens once in every 20 years and the rich teams will dominate the league for another decade or two before it happens again,” said Ranieri.
The enormity of the success shows when comparing Leicester’s achievement with that of other teams to win the Premier League.
Only five clubs before Leicester have picked up the trophy – Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers. Even Blackburn benefitted from a huge injection of cash from benefactor businessman Jack Walker.
From here Leicester go marching into the European Champions League next season. They expect to earn around £75 million from taking part as well as between £99 million and £150 million depending on where the team finishes in the premier league next season.
That’s without matchday receipts, merchandising and other income linked to their amazing and well-deserved success.