Leicester City's Premier League title win was a vindication not only for the team, but for all long suffering fans

Whether your pilgrimage is to Bramall Lane or Goodison Park supporters across the land now believe a miracle could one day befall them too

Samuel Stevens
Tuesday 03 May 2016 17:07
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Leicester City supporters celebrate at the city's Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower
Leicester City supporters celebrate at the city's Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower

The 5000/1 odds of Leicester City winning the Premier League were taller even than the 1,000/1 offered on Hugh Hefner turning out to be a virgin. Even as someone from the city of Leicester, I doubted I’d ever see the day my hometown team held up the Premier League trophy.

Too big for the second tier, too little for the top tier; things like this simply do not happen to clubs like Leicester. But alas, empires fell, stars dulled and Leicester, of all clubs, emerged from the embers of their rivals’ demise to secure the greatest team sport achievement there has ever been.

With whippet-thin Jamie Vardy, who four years ago played for Fleetwood Town; Riyad Mahrez, the world’s newest superstar; and Claudio Ranieri, a manager once considered a red telephone box in a smartphone age, Leicester have written their own Hollywood script.

This win, was as much about the fans as it was about the team. There is a song that once echoed around all four wonky, crumbling corners of the old Filbert Street, the home of Leicester for 111 years. It does so now, too, down Filbert Way, where you will find the King Power Stadium. It goes: “When you're sighing, you bring on the rain. So stop your sighing, be happy again. ‘Cos when you're smiling, when you're smiling, the sun comes shining through, the whole world smiles with you.”

That ditty was sang each time Leicester lost a record four FA Cup finals, the most recent of which was in 1969. It was there again when the club sunk into administration in 2002, with its very existence under threat; there still when they tumbled into the third tier of the football pyramid for the first time in their history - just eight years ago. And it was there last night, as thousands poured onto the streets of Leicester in the early hours, giddy with excitement.

Leicester City fans have stuck with their team through thick and thin. Loyalty in football has been tested to its limit as foreign billions poured into the game, threatening to rip apart the relationship between clubs and their local core of supporters. The tears shed after relegations and play-off heartbreaks seem of little consequence; it was all leading to this.

Leicester wins Premier League

Tony Skeffington, who fell in love with the Foxes from Adelaide, Australia, was one of these fans. After being diagnosed with cancer late last year, his wife Donna said he was kept alive longer because of what was unfolding 10,000 miles away at Filbert Way. He died in April, with Leicester top of the league. “He lived and breathed Leicester City,” said Donna. “He is going to cheer them on from up there.”

The people of Leicester last night raised a toast to their heroes on the pitch and to their fellow fans that are no longer with us. The parents who took them to their first match, the grandparents who bored them with tales of the good old days.

The win has bigger implications for football fans. If Leicester City can do it, who else can ascend to these giddy heights? Whether your pilgrimage is to Bramall Lane or Goodison Park, the Riverside or St Andrew's, supporters across the land now believe a miracle could one day befall them too.

Last night, the sun came shining through for Leicester City fans. Today, the whole world smiles with all long suffering football fans.

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