The Greatest Achievement in Team Sports? Leicester City win

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Brewtality
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Postby Brewtality » Tue May 03, 2016 6:48 pm

I am Everton fan and love them to bits but I've been on a high today because last night, when Tottenham Hotspur drew with Chelsea it became mathematically impossible for them to overtake Leicester City's points haul and they became the most unlikely champions in modern history.

ENGLISH FOOTBALL

For anyone not familiar with the English Premier League (EPL), it consists of 20 teams who play each other twice over the course of the season - once at home and once away. So there are 38 games played in total. English football is split into four main tiers - The Premier League, The Championship, League One and League Two. It's a beautiful system. After League Two, the league structure splits into regional leagues right down to amateur teams of friends who play on a Sunday morning. There is promotion and relegation from one league to the next so in theory, I could start a team with my friends and end up in the Premier League in say a decade's time (highly unlikely but still possible if you had millions to spend). Two seasons (August to June) ago, Leicester City were promoted from The Championship into the EPL. Last season they only narrowly avoided being relegated back down but saved themselves with an upturn in form right at the end of the season. "Well done" everyone said but then qualified that with "but they'll be gone next year". But it wasn't to be.

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Now remember when I said that I could start a team with my friends and end up in the Premier League? Well, a big part of Leicester's season has been a striker by the name of Jamie Vardy (the guy on the right in the picture above). After being released aged 16 by the academy of the team he supported, he signed for a team playing in the 8th tier of English football. He then moved up to a team in the 7th tier. Another year of improvement and he moved up to the 5th tier. The, in 2012 his talent was spotted by Leicester and they paid £1,000,000 for his services - which is a record for a player from a 'non-league' (i.e. out of the top four divisions/leagues). He didn't play well in his first year and got a lot of criticism from the fans who considered him a waste of money. The next season however he pulled his socks up and played a lot better, scoring 16 goals (a respectable tally) and helping Leicester City win promotion to the Premier League. As I mentioned, their first season was poor and Vardy was no different. However, this season he has been on fire: currently sitting second in the goal-scoring charts with 2 games to play and now a member of the England National Team.

Another brilliant signing was Riyad Mahrez, this year's Player of the Year. One of Leicester's talent scouts was in France to watch a player playing in the second division for Le Havre. Whilst watching the game however, his eye was caught by a young French Algerian attacking midfielder who was playing in the same team. Leicester bought Mahrez for £400,000 which is an incredibly low fee when you consider that Andy Carroll was signed by Liverpool *spits* for £35 million, Raheem Sterling went to Manchester City for £55 million and Manchester United paid £70 million for Angel Di Maria (who was a total flop). He has been an absolute revelation this season and has assisted as himself scored an incredible 17 goals so far this season as well as assisting (providing the pass for) 11 goals. Leicester have scored 64 goals this season and he has been directly involved in 28 of them. Amazing.

There have been other standout players for Leicester this season: N'Golo Kanté has been impervious in the midfield and has put in consistently eye-catching performances all season. I expect there will be a lot of interest in him in the summer. Wes Morgan has been their inspirational captain this season. Never a highly-rated player, he has shown everybody what he is capable of this season and thoroughly deserves his winners medal. He will never have to buy another drink in Leicester for as long a he lives.

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THE SEASON

Leicester City are a traditional club, founded in 1884 but in their 132 year history, they have never won the top title in England, with a 2nd place finish in the 1927-28 season being their highest previous to this season. After their poor 2014-15 season, nobody expected anything of Leicester this time around and when they began the season with two wins, nobody much cared, although it was bit of a novelty to see them sitting at the top of the league. But of course, it would inevitably all fall apart and they would probably be the only wins they got for a while. Surely? But then they began to look like not such a bad team after all. They began to win their home games and draw (and occasionally win) their away games. That's all you can ask for really. Just don't lose. And they didn't. By Christmas they were still up there. The 'traditional' challengers, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal simply couldn't put consistent performances together. Chelsea had a disastrous start to the season and languished near the bottom before picking up form once their manager Jose Mourinho was fired. Manchester United continued to struggle after the loss of Alex Ferguson following 26 years a manager (head coach), Arsenal were just Arsenal and played some beautiful football but ultimately dropped points haphazardly and Manchester City never really got into top gear and have just sort of cruised along waiting for next season when ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach Josep Guardiola will take charge.

On December 19th, I was lucky enough to be back home visiting my family for Christmas. Whenever I am in England, I watch Everton as much as possible. One of the two games when I was home was vs. Leicester City and so I was looking forward to seeing this team that had played so well even though I hadn't seen more than a handful of their matches. They played so-so but still beat us 3-2. Now I feel very lucky that even living outside of the country for 36 out of 38 games, I got to see this Leicester team which will go down in history. The rest of the season has really been a case of Leicester having to hold their nerve to the bitter end whilst more expensively assembled, flashier and traditionally more successful teams mounted their assaults for the top spot. In the end it was Tottenham Hostpur, with a young and deep squad and an ambitious young manager who pushed them the closest. But that all ended last night when they drew with Chelsea and lost any hope of lifting the Premier League Trophy.

I was hoping for a Spurs win last night because Leicester played on Sunday and needed a win to secure the title with 2 games to go. They only got a draw and so rather than winning the league on the pitch, they watched the Tottenham vs. Chelsea game round at Jamie Vardy's house and I'm assuming they got massively drunk. Luckily, someone was there to film it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwUmw865hh4

This is probably going to end up being the longest post on here for a while and if you made it this far down then well done to you! It's been a great journey in the Premier League this season and whilst my own team has been a massive disappointment, Leicester City winning the title has made this an incredibly memorable and enjoyable season. I can't wait to see how they do in the Champions League (where the top few placed teams in leagues around Europe play each other in a tournament) and it'll be interesting to see whether they can stay anywhere near the top once the 'bigger' teams start spending money like it's going out of fashion.

https://youtu.be/vaHhyWqwzYY
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Brewtality
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Postby Brewtality » Fri May 06, 2016 8:12 am

No football fans on here?

:(

I'm aaaaaaaall alone.
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Pawly
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Postby Pawly » Fri May 06, 2016 2:08 pm

Maybe they're all stunned! lol 5000 to 1 odds is insane! Congratz Leicester City!!

Their biggest fan!

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