(InternationalInside) – For the very first time, the underdog Leicester City won the EPL on Monday – having kicked no ball that day – after their closest rival Tottenham Hotspur drew 2-2 with Chelsea.
Chelsea’s substitute, Eden Hazard scored the equalizer at Stamford Bridge that Leicester needed to see to it that their fairy dream become true.
The 1-1 Leicester draw with Manchester United on Sunday meant that Tottenham had to win all the remaining three games so as to carry home a title league that it had been dreaming of since 1961.
Leicester started the campaign as 5,000-1 outsiders for the title after almost being relegated last season.
It is reported that players gathered at the home of striker Jamie Vardy to watch the match. When Harry Kane and Heung-Min scored at Stamford Bridge, Hotspurs seemed to have been set on the path to denying the “fairy tale team” their first EPL title.
But in the 58th minute Gary Cahil cut down on the lead. Hazard met Diego Costa’s 83rd minute pass and sent hordes of supporters in Leicester, and their millions of admirers all over the world, in to raptures.
Leicester City becomes England’s first new title winners and this will go down into the history books as one of the most improbable feats in sporting history.
In the year 2008, Leicester City dropped down to the third tier of the EPL and came back into the Premier League last season – escaping an immediate relegation.
Former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri replaced the manager Nigel Pearson and the Italian turned the team around with canny signings as he inspired the “never-say-die” spirit in the players.
“I’ve never known a spirit like the one between these boys, we’re like brothers,” captain Wes Morgan told the Leicester website after the title was confirmed.
In the 2015-2016 EPL, City started out strongly, with striker Jamie Vardy scoring a record 11 consecutive goals.
Tottenham had been hoping to get their first win at Chelsea but the Blues were categorical from the start the north London would not take the title.
Most vocal was Hazard – a key player last season and John Terry, who made sure he appeared for the match after an injury; a promise that he had made.
Ranieri said on Sunday that he would not be able to watch the match because he would be on a journey from Italy after visiting his mother.
John Terry posted on his Instagram account “Congratulations to Claudio Ranieri and Leicester City; a real gentleman and a top manager.”
Name: Leicester City Football Club
Stadium: King Power Stadium, Leicester (capacity: 32,262)
Nickname: The Foxes
Colours: Blue shirts, blue shorts, blue socks, all with gold trim
Estimated value: £436 million ($637 million, 556 million euros; Private Company Financial Intelligence, Feb 2016)
Owner/Chairman: Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (THA)
Manager: Claudio Ranieri (ITA)
Assistant first-team coaches: Paolo Benetti (ITA), Craig Shakespeare (ENG), Steve Walsh (ENG)
Captain: Wes Morgan (JAM)