Leicester City

Jerry Zouantcha

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If you want to talk about an upset then you can’t go on without mentioning rise of old Leicester City to the kings of England. It was a long journey for the foxes to become victors. The club began in 1884 in a shed in a garden on Fosse road. The founders were attending a bible class near where they first established their home field. Around six years later, the club participated in their first pre-league in brown and blue colors. It wasn’t until 1890 that the club played in their first top tier competitive match, the FA cup. They took a 4-0 thumping to Burton Wanderers. On the other hand they had better results playing in the Midland league. After somewhat struggling in the Midland league the club was finally elected to the official football league at the end of their 1894 season.

After changing their colors to all blue, the tigers finished at the bottom of the football league in 1903-1904. The club experienced many years of jumping in and out of the bottom english leagues but finally got promoted to the first division in 1907. Unfortunately, even with the help of their England international goalkeeper, the foxes were relegated back the second division.

But after many years of struggle, the foxes had a tremendous run in the FA cup in 1913 where they reached the 3rd round, which was a club new record at the time. Even though they were not participating in England’s top league, the EPL, they were growing as a club and making a name for themselves.

In 2014 Leicester finally made it to the highest level of soccer in the world, the English Premier League. By claiming the number one spot in the first division after a dramatic end, the foxes were promoted. That same year, the club went through some major changes of its own. The foxes underwent a power shift when new japanese owners took over the club and brought in some more funds. The club were able to purchase players by the name N’Golo Kante, Jamie Vardy, and Mahrez. These three very average players, at the time, would come together to do something miraculous.

It was the turning tide of summer to fall in early september when the 2015-2016 EPL season kicked off with Leicester having a 50000/1 odds of winning the championship. Virtually, the foxes were given a zero chance to win it all, but don’t hold your breathe because football can bring out magic.

Claudio Ranieri, the manager of Leicester had a difficult task ahead of him. He told the press in an interview that his goal for the team was to finish, “middle of the table” so it seems even Ranieri didn’t know what he was putting together in the training grounds. So to everyone’s surprise, the Foxes were at the top of the table 10 matches into the season. There was a sort of buzz all around the football world about the rise of the foxes, the rise of Leicester City.

The buzz grew and grew until it was more than a buzz, it was a chant that reigned England for months, “Fooxxxes, Foxxxxxes, We are the Fooxxxxeeeeesss!!!!”. No one seemed to be able to trump the foxes on the pitch. Clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton, some of the greatest clubs of all time couldn’t find a way to stop the Foxes.  Scouts and coaches began breaking down Leicester’s style of play to find ways to beat them. Nothing. That’s what they got, Nothing. Leicester had found a balance in their team that coaches only dream about.

Let me tell you why, you couldn’t beat them. Leicester played a 4-4-2 formation with two defensive midfielders. This is important because with a backline that was already stable, the addition of the Kante, the player of the year, acted as the glue that filled in the cracks of the team. With his defensive ability, fitness and work ethic, Kante solidified what was probably the best defensive team that year. Now on the other front of the formation, you had good ol’e Jamie Vardy. His rapid speed and ability to score is what was the wildcard of the foxes team. Being virtually unmarketable, Jamie Vardy’s talent opened the field and created tons of space for his team offensively. He also went on to set a premiere league and world record of most consecutive goals in a season with 11 straight games.

How can you beat a team ⅔ times if they are versatile defensively and offensively.? The answer is with just a little bit of luck. That’s exactly what happened for Liverpool when they ended the foxes winning streak with a 1-0 win. But that wasn’t enough because the foxes learned from their mistakes and went on to creating an 11 point lead in the table.

Suddenly, it was only March and commentators, fans, legends and even the haters were calling Leicester the “Kings of England”. And they were right, two months later Leicester would in fact be crowned the kings of england and shock the entire world.

How did they do it? I still ask myself that. Was it luck? Well does luck last for 9 long months straight? I don’t think it does. That’s part of the beauty and art of football, when a team comes together and builds between themselves chemistry, determination and brotherhood there isn’t anything you can’t accomplish, and Leicester proves that to the entire world.

They are the Kings.  

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