Leicester City are Premier League Champions. As Rafa Benitez would say, “Fact”.
Let us be clear about this. Such a feat should be theoretically impossible. But in sport nothing is impossible.
Since the advent of the Premier League, the division has become the richest in world football, earning staggering revenue from television rights alone, watched in practically every country on the planet. Within that structure there are giants. Manchester United, who under the direction of Sir Alex Ferguson dominated the competition. Liverpool, five time European Cup/Champions League winners. Arsenal, the only team ever to go through a whole Premier League campaign undefeated. In recent years huge financial investment has also brought trophies to Chelsea and Manchester City. All five of these teams are global brands, raking in millions and millions from sponsorship deals, merchandise and ticket sales. This allows them to recruit some of the best players in the world, genuine world class talents that warrant extraordinary sums of money and weekly wages. Against this backdrop a team with the more modest resources of a Leicester City shouldn’t be able to compete, let alone defeat these monsters.
However, that is the beauty of sport. Football still remains human being against human being and Leicester City have proved that consistency of performance achieves results. This is no cup run, fortuitous draws culminating in a succession of one off performances. The beauty of a league table is that it cannot lie. The team who picks up the most points, playing exactly the same teams as everybody else, finishes top. Of their 37 matches, they have won 23, drawn 11 and only lost 3, the best results of any team in the division and that is why they are champions with a game to spare. How they have achieved that is for pundits to discuss but the fact is that nobody can deny this achievement is probably the greatest sporting triumph ever.
There are always shocks in sport, unexpected results that few would’ve predicted. Japan beating two time Rugby World Cup winners South Africa, Greece winning Euro 2004, the list of underdogs defying the odds is endless. Whilst Nottingham Forest’s European triumphs were equally unlikely, football’s evolution has certainly made it an unequal playing field but yet this title win defies that. Given the context of how money has changed football in England in the past decade, Leicester’s victory is without doubt the most remarkable. To win a competition which started back in August 2015 and concludes nine months later, requires more than sheer luck or good fortune. Leicester City have therefore managed to offer hope to every team and every player that the impossible can and sometimes does indeed happen!