Leicester should be punished for beating 5,000-1 odds to upset Premier League hierarchy

Leicester City should be punished. That's right, punished. They should be made to pay the severest of penalties for having the audacity to break with convention.

This punk, a football anarchist if you may, a 5,000-1 outsider, has the temerity to upset the status quo and claim one of the sport's most coveted titles. How dare they. Didn't they read the handbook? Didn't they ask around to see if this sort of behaviour was acceptable? Didn't they study Premier League history?

Claudio Ranieri. Getty Images

Claudio Ranieri. Getty Images

Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool…even Tottenham — these are teams we expect at the summit. These are clubs with the backing, the multi-million pound sponsorship deals, the players that cost more that the £37m King Power Stadium, the stature. If any one of these teams won the title, we wouldn't be rubbing our eyes in disbelief as we are right now looking at the top of the standings where Leicester City has a bold capital C next to their name.

Look at the Foxes' history. Yes, they've won three domestic cups, but they have habitually yo-yoed between the top flight and lower divisions — they nearly got relegated last campaign and were playing in English football's third tier eight years ago for goodness sake! How was this astonishing achievement allowed to happen?

Let's start with the supporters. This is difficult to stomach, but Leicester have a strong, loyal, close-knit fan base that have stuck by, riding the peaks and troughs. That's really not the protocol. When your team is experiencing troubled times, you jump ship and back some other club.

And the noise inside the 32,000 King Power Stadium? "Noise" being the appropriate word. How can you have a phone conversation?

And here's the most troubling aspect, which the authorities should investigate immediately — the squad. It cost less than...wait for it…£60 million to put together. Manchester City spent £55 million on midfielder Kevin de Bruyne alone. In the Premier League, the mantra is you spend big to accumulate success.

And what about those players — Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, Wes Morgan, Danny Drinkwater, N’Golo Kante, Robert Huth? Leading striker Vardy didn't sign from a Real Madrid or a Bayern Munich, he signed from Fleetwood Town, a club that wasn't even playing in the professional leagues. The embarrassment. Influential midfielder Mahrez cost the club only £350,000. Seriously, should any top tier club be recruiting first-team players for less than a million pounds? Meanwhile, centre-back Wes Morgan owns a chain of tattoo parlours. The igmoniny!

And the man who got this unassuming bunch to form such a strong collective is manager Claudio Ranieri. Here's a 64-year-old who took over the reins at the start of the season having been dumped by Greece after a catastrophic Euro 2016 campaign. Yes, he has managed some big clubs like Chelsea and Juventus, but he had never won a league title or a major European honour prior to this. The ability to transform this lot into Premier League champions is not fathomable. He even got his team to play what was pretty much a 4-4-2 system! That's so 1990s!

And what about this high energy pressing he instilled? Time and time again this season, we've seen the midfield constantly nagging at the opposition, denying them space. Our beloved expensive recruits to the league were made to look rather ploddy and ponderous. Very unfair.

They also have this spirit and belief; refusing to yield to the bigger clubs who had been so used to these "plucky" teams eventually rolling over.

"Tinkerman" Ranieri, nicknamed so from his time with Chelsea in the early 2000s because of his propensity to rotate the squad, barely rotated this one. So it's false labelling. And what's this rapport with the press? You need to be surly. Oh, and what on earth does he mean by "dilly ding dilly dong"?

Please analyse what has been presented — Leicester should not have won the English Premier League title. In this era of club football where the behemoths of the game, with interminable cashflow have for so long cultivated a natural order, to have this happen is…is…probably the most astonishing achievement in sporting history. So don't ever let it happen again.


Published Date: May 04, 2016 02:00 pm | Updated Date: May 04, 2016 02:06 pm



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