Twenty-three players, one Ranieri, nine months, $57 million, one trophy.
Leicester City’s amazing triumph as BPL champions refuses to be dwarfed even by something bizarre as the Donald Trump’s triumph as the Republican’s presumptive presidential candidate despite all the negativity around him. Even Kim Jon Un’s deification during a rare North Korean congress pales in comparison.
Trump has suffered painful apathy in victory, but Leicester’s victory has been inspirational and will be celebrated across the world for generations. Even Chelsea were inspired to end Leicester’s wait for the trophy by coming from 2-0 down to force a draw against contenders Tottenham effectively declaring Leicester as champions.
Italian coach Claudio Ranieri has become a hero. From the ‘tinker man’, a derogatory directed at his penchant for changing squads match after match 12 years ago when he was at Chelsea, to the shrewd and confidently stable manager that outfoxed the best in the business. He has used the second least number of players in the season numbering only to 23.
His record of winning the BPL within nine months of his appointment has subjected Arsene Wenger’s 12 years BPL trophy drought to a considerable amount of banter and lampoon to the extent that if Wenger were allowed opportunity to manage Leicester’s last two remaining games, they would finish in ‘his favourite’ fourth position.
It is hard to pin down their success to a single definitive factor. That’s why their success will dominate debate in bars and joints for a long time. There are those who think their magic came from the Buddhist monks that Thai billionaire club owner Vichai Srivaddahanaprabha used to fly in every weekend into the King Power Stadium who would always pray prematch rituals.
There are those who have suggested the Pizza magic after Leicester’s first clean sheet came after Ranieri promised to prepare the best Italian Pizza after the match. It became a thing that he would prepare Pizza for the players in his kitchen after every clean sheet.
While Leicester are looking forward to more monetary rewards after winning the trophy from TV rights (£99 million), Champions League qualification and TV rights (£30), lucrative kit sponsors deals and many more, one section is steeped in losses after betting Leicester 5 000-1 favourites to win the league. Most betting companies in England have reported great losses in the region of £5 million per company in payments to winners who believed in Leicester’s dream. What a story!
Lastly, I would like to congratulate Liverpool for reaching the Europa League finals at the expense of Villarreal because they have spared many European countries embarrassment of having two local derbies in two different continental football finals. That’s the way to go Jurgen Klopp Atate Manja’s Diego Simeone and his Atletico ought also to be congratulated for getting into the finals of the Champions League. Juventus, I salute you as well for taking the Serie A by storm. n