At the start of this Barclays Premiership Season, Leicester City odds of winning were 5000/1, now the fairy tale might just come true.
The Fall and Rise of Leicester City
In 2003/04 Leicester City finished 18th in the Barclays Premiership and were demoted to the Championship Division. Over the next few seasons they had mixed results and eventually dropped another division. In the 2008/09 season they were in league one, which is the third division of English Soccer.
The good news was that after just one season in the third division they made their way back up to the championship and many bookies had them as one of the favourites to gain promotion into the English Premier League. In May 2013 Leicester City played Watford in a semi-final playoff to secure a chance at promotion. Leicester City had won the first semi-final 1-0 and in the away leg the score was 2-1 in Watford’s favour. Leicester City was awarded a penalty in stoppage time to secure a draw and take the game to penalties. What followed was astounding and makes for great viewing.
After that tragic loss and nearly a decade out of the premiership Leicester City came back stronger the following season and secured top spot as well and were promoted to the Barclays English Premiership League for the 2014/15 season.
As with most recently promoted clubs, Leicester City struggled and were bottom of the log with 9 matches left in the season. Miraculously they managed to escape with a string of victories winning 7 out of their last 9 games to secure 14th spot with 41 points just 6 points clear of the relegation zone.
Leicester City Scandal
During the off season the Leicester City Manager and 3 Players left the club amidst a sex tape scandal. Claudio Ranieri was appointed as the new manager. Many pundits and fans believe he would not last long as his management record in recent times was poor. Leicester City squad was made up of relatively unknown players mixed with some so called “has beens” discarded by the larger clubs.
Most football analysts believed Leicester City (the Foxes) would finish at the bottom of the table and be relegated. At the start of the season Leicester City had 3/1 odds of being relegated.
The Foxes had other ideas and went undefeated in their first six matches, but the fairy tale appeared to be over when they crashed to a 2-5 defeat at home to Arsenal.
However, the Foxes continued to play solid, entertaining football based on firm defence with quick counter attacking football. Lead by their 28 year old striker Jamie Vardy.
Jamie Vardy: The Hero
The relatively unknown goal scorer, Vardy, had spent 7 years playing semi professional football in the lower leagues while working 12 hour shifts in a factory to support himself. It was only in 2012 after a string of impressive performances over the previous seasons that Leicester City signed him, and he turned pro.
In the current season Vardy suddenly found himself on the brink of a record, he was the top goal scorer in the premiership and had a chance to match Ruud van Nistelrooy’s (Manchester United) record of scoring in 10 consecutive matches, set in 2002. He did it. And in the next game against Manchester United he broke the record, scoring in 11 consecutive games.
The fairy-tale continued for Vardy and Leicester City as in less than a year the club moved from the bottom of the table on Christmas day 2014, to the winners of the Premier League 2016.
Premiership League Champions
In one of sporting history’s greatest moments, Leicester City won the Premier League 2016. Against all odds The Foxes were crowned champions when nearest rivals, Tottenham drew 2-2 in Chelsea on Monday 2nd May 2016. Termed as “the biggest sporting story”and the “biggest sporting achievement ever”, this momentous victory went down in the history books for so many reasons. Being bottom of the log in 2014, signing relatively unknown or “has been” players, the scandal and the poor tenure of managers were all major factors against them. Their rise to victory is truly astounding.
Said Manager Claudio Ranieri, “When I came here the objective was to create a solid foundation and build together,” and when asked whether his side could win the League again in 2017, he replied a frank “No. Next season we have to fight for 10th position, we have to make sure we are safe then we look to something more.”
Original Betting Odds
At the start of the season many bookies where offering betting odds as high as 5000/1 for Leicester to take the premier league title.
One Leicester City fan placed a £5 bet on Leicester to win with odds of 5000/1. He stands to win £25 000 should they win.
History of Betting Odds for Leicester City to Win the Title: (Price at start of month) August: 5,000-1; September: 1,500-1; October: 1,500-1; November: 500-1; December: 66-1; January: 16-1; February: 7-1; March: 3-1; April: 2/7
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As Leicester City captured the title, it is thought this is the biggest-priced single winner in sporting history.