Sunday, 29 May 2016

Leicester City F.C Victory Parade

An amazing 250,000 Leicester City fans had taken to the streets to celebrate an incredible achievement by their team in winning the Barclays Premier League against all the odds. In fact those odds were a mere 5000/1 at the start of the season! There was more chance of finding life on Mars or even finding Elvis alive, it was only 500/1 that Simon Cowell became the next Prime Minister just to add further perpective !! We caught the train from Wellingborough and actually struggled to advance very far up the London Road. As far as the eye could see both sides of the road were a sea of blue and white. The parade of 4 open top buses set off from Jubilee Square at 6pm, and snaked towards Victoria Park. Leicester winning the title has been called the greatest sporting success of all time. By far the biggest achievement in the clubs 132 year history. So as a longstanding supporter I had to be there on this special night. The success was so unexpected as the team only narrowly avoided relegation last season. But they did finish on a high so the form line was there for those who were brave enough. Leicester City’s victory meant a £20 million industry-wide payout by bookmakers. The largest single sum won was £72,000, when an anonymous Foxes fan cashed out his £50 bet in March – despite standing to win £250,000 if Leicester went all the way. A lot of the credit has to go to 64 year old charismatic Manager Claudio Ranieri. He has been a calming influence throughout the season calling the Leicester story a favola – a fairy tale. When he managed Chelsea in the early 2000s, he was labelled 'the Tinkerman’ for constantly changing the line-up, something that never happened with Leicester. Leicester used fewer players than any other Premier League team to win the title. Over the 36 matches, the Foxes only started 18 players – with just 19 making an appearance overall.
When I worked at Barclaycard the trophy would quite often make an appearance in the building. The picture below was taken about 5 years ago. It was a sunny evening and the atmosphere on the streets was electric, the coaches seemed to be moving at a snails pace , that is until I tried to get a decent close up photo. All the local businesses and shops were also decked out in blue and white which added to the atmosphere. I was pleased at least to get a decent photo of top scorer and England international 'Jamie Vardy. Also a nice one of Club Ambassador and 'legend' Alan Birchenall. The assembled Leicester City team cost £54.4 million – compared to runner-up Arsenal’s £251.9 million and fourth place Manchester City’s £418.8 million. In December Gary Lineker tweeted, ‘If Leicester win the @premierleague I’ll do the first MOTD of next season in just my undies.’ He has promised to stick to his word. What a season !Next step The Champions League.... Finally a couple more from a very memorable night.

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