It all began with odds of +500000 and ended in pure joy. Leicester City were one of the favorites to get relegated in the 2015-16 English Premier League season. What happened proved to be the thing dreams are made of and the ultimate underdog story.
In the previous season, Leicester had barely escaped relegation, and all experts believed they would be lucky to survive once again in the 2015-16 season. They had an aging squad with a couple of good players.
No one thought Leicester’s players could do anything special and odds of +500000 didn’t seem unreasonable for them to win the league. Leicester were managed by Italian coach Claudio Ranieri, universally considered one of the nicest men in soccer. He was known for changing his lineup often, but with Leicester, he found a winning formula.
Leicester didn’t have the best squad in the league, relying on just a few standout players in Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, and Kasper Schmeichel. In 2015 they added humble signing N’golo Kante, Shinji Okazaki, and Christian Fuchs. With giant defenders Robert Huth and Wes Morgan, they knew they could be defensively stable.
After game week 10, Leicester found themselves toward to top of that table in fifth place. Their new signings were proving a success while Mahrez and Vardy were becoming a dynamic partnership. Leicester climbed to first place by gameweek 22 and never gave up that spot.
Written in the stars
There were many famous victories throughout the season, including wins on the road at Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, and Everton. N’Golo Kante was proving to be a bargain buy as the midfielder had the energy of two players, closing down players over and over again.
Kante’s energy allowed Leicester to keep two players in attack and break on the counter. This tactic worked time after time as the results just kept coming. It became pretty clear that this campaign was written in the stars, but the players still had to hold their nerves. Finally, they were crowned champions in May to complete the most amazing underdog story in soccer.
Gary Lineker’s promise
The former Foxes striker had promised halfway through the season that if Leicester won the league, he would present his highlights show, Match of the Day, in his underwear. Lineker proved he was a man of his word and did present the show in his underwear, at least for a ‘brief’ moment anyway.
One fan had bet £50 ($65) on Leicester winning the league at the beginning of the season. With so much money heading his way the fan, who remained anonymous, cashed out early, scooping a windfall £250,000 ($328,757). Fans of all Premier League teams wanted this miracle underdog story to happen because it gave them all hope their team could do it too.
Leicester City wrote themselves into sporting legacy after becoming the biggest underdogs to win the Premier League in the competition’s history. Their victory will ever be forgotten and rivals any underdog victory in any other sport.