As Leicester City have shown, the little guy can win
The English Premier League club, who started the season as 5,000-1 outsiders, are worthy winners, outshining their big-money rivals with grit and passion
Fairy tales do come true. But once we grow up, sport offers one of the few remaining hopes, like a lifelong supporter dreaming of his team defying odds of 5,000 to 1 to win the English Premier League. It has finally happened, with Leicester City breaking the stranglehold on the title of a handful of wealthy clubs to whom money is no object in signing the right player.
As a result, Leicester City can expect a £150 million (HK$1.7 billion) boost from prize money, revenue from participation in the 2016-17 European Champions League, extra ticket sales and a surge in demand for club-related merchandise. Yet, if money is everything in a real world without fairy tales, that amount is insufficient to give them enough confidence not to slide back to where they came from, the bottom of the league, as soon as next season. It is, after all, a drop in the ocean compared with the money spent by the league giants.
That is a measure of the achievement of the east Midlands club, who have never before won the title in their 132-year history. Their coach, Claudio Ranieri, and the players have become household names only in recent months. Their success was achieved, and deservedly so, without significant investment in big names – just consistent, solid performances that rose to every challenge that more glamorous teams could throw at them.
It comes just seven years after they had been relegated to the third-tier League One, and just two years after winning promotion back to the top flight, making Leicester only the sixth team to win the Premier League since its inception in 1992.
Indeed, the dominance of Manchester United and Manchester City, and the London clubs Arsenal and Chelsea, with a solitary win by l995 big-spenders Blackburn Rovers, is testament to the power of money to position clubs for success.
Fans are the lifeblood of big sport. Leicester City’s heroics remind them that in sport the little guy can win and that fairy tales can come true. That helps them keep the faith.