You’re never going to forget it, the year Leicester City won the Premier League, the season Premier League cast offs from the other relegation fodder sides combined to see the likes of Marc Albrighton and Danny Simpson join captain Wes Morgan in lifting the Premier League trophy. You’re certainly never going to forget it because how could you? That season couldn’t have been more picturesque for the national press, seeing a plucky bunch under a media charming Italian go head to head against the usual heavyweights who predictably dominate the Premier League. It was a revolution that could inspire for many years to come which this year is seeing Chelsea probably doing the double with Manchester United the other trophy winners with the ‘top 6’ easing away from the rest of a poor pack. Lets remember the Premier League is a brand and one of the most powerful at that, just because Thierry Henry tells you it’s the best league in the world doesn’t mean you have to believe it. The media are powerful and have their own opinions but so do you, so here is why it’s maybe time to stop being an ostrich as Nigel Pearson would say and realise everything isn’t as perfect as it seems at the King Power Stadium.
Head back to 2011, Leicester were going big in the Championship in order to get promotion, Matt Mills was signed for believed to be over £5m, a defender nearly relegated to League One with Nottingham Forest the other week and Jermaine Beckford who’s just been released by Preston for around £2.5 million among others. It signalled the club’s reckless but ambitious intentions to do whatever it takes to reach the Premier League, that season the Foxes finished 9th.
The 2012/13 season had seen Leicester reach the play-offs dramatically under Nigel Pearson, what was to follow remains one of the most captivating moments in football in recent memory. In the final minute of the play-off semi-final second leg Anthony Knockaert committed the most blatant of dives only for Michael Oliver to award the penalty against Watford which if scored would see Leicester through to Wembley. Just a minute or two later Deeney sent Vicarage Road into raptures with a goal following Knockaert’s penalty miss. This act of cheating, many believed inspired Leicester the following season where they would go on the win the Championship following the play-off heartbreak.
There was no doubting Leicester’s dominance that season, they were 17 points clear of 3rd come the end of the season. The only problem was they recorded losses of £20.8m where Financial Fair Play omitted losses of £8m therefore breaking the rules in order to gain promotion. The Football League did not clear this problem and treated it as an ”ongoing matter”.
Despite no punishment Leicester’s Premier League venture was underway, they largely struggled until they pulled off a spectacular late escape under Nigel Pearson, a man of supreme arrogance and obnoxiousness who famously called a journalist an Ostrich during that campaign. The teams heroics escaping relegation would lay the platform for what was to come, a Premier League title win…
It all started with a racial sex tape which involved three of Leicester’s squad players caught in a disgusting act in 2015. One of those players was Nigel Pearson’s son, sure enough the three players were released and Nigel Pearson was sacked as Leicester City boss. Classy.
Claudio Ranieri was the man to come in to the King Power, a man of more integrity. Also that summer Jamie Vardy was caught racially abusing an Asian man in a casino, sure enough Vardy would be pivotal in the title success alongside, you guessed it, Japanese forward Shinji Okazaki, how romantic.
On the pitch Leicester were on a charge, throughout the campaign they were somehow to endure no injuries throughout meaning Ranieri had his formula ready made from match to match. They were made serious contenders late on in the season where a media frenzy was to occur. The Premier League brand couldn’t become any more valuable should Leicester do the unthinkable as they battled Tottenham Hotspur for the league at the final hurdles. English forward Jamie Vardy’s diving antics were not to get in the way of Sky and this fairy-tale story. No criticism or mention was made of this anytime it happened. National outrage occurred when referee John Moss sent Vardy off for diving against West Ham in the fifth last game, Leicester had supposedly been hard done by for getting a perfectly reasonable decision against them and Moss was getting in the way of the perfect story, that was before Moss handed Leicester a dodgy last minute penalty to salvage a draw. The King Power was artificially rocking as they closed in thanks to the plastic clappers being used and goal music, it couldn’t fit the bill any more perfectly.
You could go back to several incidences and decisions that contributed towards the title win. Whether you like it or not we see referee’s impact games far too often but whether they are balanced out for each side remains another matter, what I witnessed for Leicester that season was certainly not that of equality. As Sky Sports Pundits would say it’s a game of fine margins…
After Spurs’s collapse and Leicester’s push they were crowned Premier League Champions. An accomplishment beyond belief for the Premier League where the same rich clubs are so dominant. Champions League football awaited where Leicester were to get through their group, the easiest draw they could have wished for to eventually progress to the quarter-finals. Prior to that point Ranieri had been sacked having been betrayed by his players which somewhat put a small dent in the fairy-tale story.
Regardless of this article, Leicester’s triumph will always go down as the Premier League’s greatest ever achievement, you are never going to be allowed to forget it but football is a game of opinions, so feel free to draw your own and not be dictated to by the mainstream media. Of course I understand being bitter and negative will be thrown at me for having such a point of view but unlike the journalist who questioned the great Nigel Pearson, I don’t have my head in the sand.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!