“To all the cynics, …I’m sorry. I’m sorry you can’t believe in miracles. This is a great sporting event and hardwork wins it” – Lance Armstrong
Leicester City, from avoiding a certain relegation to finishing 14th by the end of 2014/15 season and to win the league in 2015/16 against the odds of 5000 to 1, they probably performed the most momentous miracle in the history of sports.
English football has been particularly susceptible to the “cash flow” injection, the flood of money and the purchase of foreign players and clubs by entrepreneurs. It has meant a concentration of capital at the top end clubs, each season characterised by the next round of extortionate prices.
Leicester City football club, wrote arguably the most romantic story of footballing world against all the odds, against the giants stood their passion and just their sheer will to win. The whole club, from “The Architect” Claudio Ranieri to the Knights of Leicester’s phenomenon Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy, Danny Drinkwater, N’ golo Kantè and others, wrote their fairytales and showed the world that you are never down and out if you have that drive within you to fight against everything that brought you down and that you have the power to write your own destiny.
With their improbable triumph, now they face probably something even arduous.
Can Leicester City stand shoulder to shoulder with other colossus of English football and of Europe?
Leicester City legend Steve Walsh, 51, said: “They have been outstanding and there has been a lot of class. We have not just won this through spirit, they have some class players and there will be money to spend and strengthen now.
“People say it is a one-off but is it a one-off, I don’t see it that way – we could win it again next year. Can it happen again?
“I think the investment and the clever recruitment has been tremendous and I don’t see that changing.
“We are going to have to buy five or six players to deal with the Champions League and fixtures for next season.”
Leicester City, after their heroics now have a higher mountain to climb, the expectations are soaring, they now have much more to prove than last season. Even though Jamie Vardy’s stay and him penning down the new contract, gave them them a major boost, losing their tireless engine in midfield, N’Golo Kante to Chelsea and now a Riyad Mahrez move on cards has hit their pillars and it’ll be interesting to see how Ranieri replaces his superstars and mount a challenge against Pep Guardiola’s City who have already added Ilkay Gundögan and Nolito to their star studded side and his across the City rival, José Mourinho who has took charge or ruins of Manchester United and has already stamped his authority and has made sure that he means business and will do everything to take Manchester United back to where they belong, adding Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly and could also break the bank to get back United’s old boy Paul Pogba for the overhaul of United.
Liverpool and Arsenal have added some quality to their side too, Jurgen Klopp is going the Klopp way and has decided to build the again from the roots. Chelsea after their forgettable last season too have appointed Italian master tactician, Antonio Conte who snapped up Leicester’s poster boy N’Golo Kantè and a certain Belgian Mitshi Batshyui to add substance to his team.
Tottenham had a great last season and they too will look build on it and they already have a squad enough to do it.
Leicester City with the Champions League to play this season and with the mountain of expectations over their shoulders have an even mightier task on their hands as every other top club in the country has strengthened themselves in best possible ways and they’ll try to make sure they stamp their domination.
What Leicester have achieved is the imagination made real. Over the course of 10 months, they have battled and stunned and kept on winning but the problem they now face isn’t winning. Winning is the best, as Leicester City have just discovered. The problem is expecting to win. Expectation is the most pernicious trend in football, but it has been isolated, like a cauterised wound, to a small number of clubs who consider success to be stability. Success is the aberration, a distraction that feels fantastic in the moment but invites you to get hooked. The problem for Leicester isn’t everything that’s happened up until this moment; it’s everything that happens after.