Who? – Leicester City Football Club
What? – Premier League Champions 2015/16
Where? – King Power Stadium, Leicester and around the U.K.
When? – August 2015 – May 2016
How? – The Foxes were entering their second season in the Premier League after securing safety in remarkable fashion in their first top flight campaign since the early 00s thanks to a run of seven wins from nine games under the management of Nigel Pearson.
Pearson was sacked, alongside his son and two other players caught up in a scandal which leaked publicly forcing the board to turn to eyebrow raising appointment in Claudio Ranieri, as Leicester favourite and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker famously tweeted “Claudio Ranieri? Really?”.
Out went City favourites Esteban Cambiasso and Anthony Knockaert, along with strikers David Nugent and Chris Wood. However recruitment was strong as both Pearson and Ranieri were able to pull off some astute permanent signing of Robert Huth, Austrian and good friend Christian Fuchs on a free, Japanese forward Shinji Okazaki as well as experienced Gokhan Inler and an relatively unknown Frenchman named N’golo Kante for under £6m.
An undefeated pre-season and the momentum built from last season were on display from the first whistle of the new season as Leicester put Sunderland aside in a 4-2 victory sparked a six game unbeaten run which included a lot of rescued draws and a late headed winner from on-loan winger Nathan Dyer against Aston Villa after going 2-0 down.
A reality check hit Ranieri and the Foxes when Arsenal visited the King Power and put five past Kasper Schmeichel’s goal, forcing the Italian to integrate new defensive-minded full backs in Danny Simpson and Christian Fuchs as a way of dealing with the, at times, constant pressure on the Leicester goal that allowed the Foxes to counter attack in devastating fashion.
It worked wonders, with a eye-raising eight wins from 11 with Liverpool and Christian Benteke ending the run on Boxing Day ahead of a busy festive and new year period which pundits and fans alike expected the success of Leicester to dry up and the ‘big six’ to overtake, but Leicester managed to defeat Tottenham, Liverpool and put in a game of the season performance against Manchester City thanks to two Robert Huth headers.
Arguably that game at the Etihad Stadium had the footballing world realising that it might not just be a fantasy but a reality, and the unbeaten run was about to continue further at Arsenal but the ten-men Foxes saw the Gunners celebrate a jubilant late winner from Danny Welbeck as the London side looked to put pressure and close the gap in February.
But it wasn’t to be for either North London side, with Leo Ulloa scoring an earthquake-erupting last minute goal against Norwich and late penalty against West Ham United, Shinji Okazaki acrobatically overhead kicking against Newcastle United, and two big goals from Wes Morgan against Southampton and Manchester United meant Leicester were in the driving seat with two games to go and Spurs needing to win at a dismal Chelsea.
Eden Hazard, who had struggled to find the net for the majority of the season, netted an equalising goal in a frantic and card-happy game that flared up several times both on and off the pitch. Leicester City players had gathered to watch the game together and the celebrations were in full swing and thanks to social media were shared with the footballing world!
An under-pressure Roberto Martinez and his Everton team were the team be apart of what is the best day in the Leicester City’s history as Andrea Bocelli’s moving performance in the middle of the pitch to an emotional King Power Stadium crowd was followed by a comfortable 3-1 win for the Foxes as they moved onto 80 points and lifted the Barclay’s Premier League trophy before a respected and commemorated Ranieri returned to Chelsea to finish the dream season with a 1-1.