It’s the summer of 2015. Premier League teams are getting ready for the new season. The big teams are spending millions of pounds in order to have the best chance of winning the prestigious Premier League title. On the other end of the spectrum were the smaller teams, who were working extra hard to find players they could afford in the hopes of avoiding relegation to the Championship. Somewhere in the middle of this, was Leicester City. However, what they were able to achieve that season would end up shocking the entire sporting world.
What the Bookies Were Saying
Just like any regular football fan, all the best betting sites in the UK were predicting either Chelsea or Man. City, the clubs who won the previous two Premier League titles, to win it all once again. Close behind them were the other usual suspects like Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham. Believe it or not, before the season started, teams like Stoke, Crystal Palace and, West Ham, were all given a higher chance of winning the title than Leicester. To be more precise, the Foxes were only given a 5000/1 chance which was among the lowest in the league.
One lucky Leicester fan cashed out £250,000 on his £50 bet after his team won the league.
In the age of modern football, where clubs pay astronomical sums for very average players, what Leicester was able to do in the transfer market in the summer of 2015 and January 2016 was truly remarkable.
In total, the Foxes spent only £18,600,000 in the summer and £8,700,000 more in January. Just for comparison, Manchester City spent around £200,000,000.
Among the players who arrived in the summer, was a fairly unknown Frenchman by the name of N’Golo Kante. He joined from Caen for just £5,600,000! Later, he would become a World Cup winner with his nation, and one of the best players in the world.
Some other notable signings were players like Christian Fuchs, Robert Huth and, Shinji Okazaki, who all played a vital part in the title run.
Mahrez and Vardy
Before the start of the season, fans were hoping that their main attackers, Algerian forward Riyad Mahrez and English strike Jamie Vardy would score a few goals here and there to increase their team’s chances of staying up. What they were able to do, though, is something that will leave their mark on the club forever.
Jamie Vardy arrived at the club in 2012, when Leicester was still in the Championship. His rise from an unknown non-league player, to representing England in the World Cup deserves an article of its own. In the 15/16 season, Vardy bagged 24 goals, one less than the top goalscorer Harry Kane. He was easily Leicester’s best player, scoring when it mattered most and always being very dangerous to the opposition.
His attacking partner Riyad Mahrez, who joined from Le Havre in 2014 and signed a four-year extension in the summer of 2015 was also spectacular with 17 goals and 10 assists. He played in various positions on the field for coach Claudio Ranieri, mainly as a winger.
After failing to live up to expectations as Greece manager, Italian coach Ranieri was met with skepticism when he signed a 3-year deal with Leicester.
As a manager, he obviously played a vital part in his teams’ success, encouraging them to not be scared of anyone and always play aggressive and attacking football. He was also a great motivator and someone who always stood behind his players, who loved giving it their all on the field for him.
On 16 May, he was named Manager of the Year.