Football: Leicester's triumph is for all underdogs

Leicester City fans celebrate winning the English Premier League.
Leicester City fans celebrate winning the English Premier League. PHOTO: REUTERS

Premier League chief says Foxes' feat is win of a lifetime, as Ranieri rejects need for stars

LONDON • Leicester City's amazing title success is "the most remarkable thing that has ever happened in football" and gives the smaller teams "a whole lot of hope", according to Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore.

The King Power Stadium, and the club's Belvoir Drive training ground, were besieged on Tuesday with film crews from Argentina to Australia.

"There have been film crews from all around the world before when (Alex) Ferguson retired (at Manchester United in 2013), and all that fantastic success he achieved, and film crews from all around the world for that Sergio Aguero moment (for Manchester City against Queens Park Rangers in 2012)," Scudamore says. "We've had our peaks before.

"This one, though, is bigger than sport. It has much more human interest in it. It's a life-affirming story, which is why it's attracted more interest than you'd normally get.

"It's the most remarkable thing that's ever happened in my lifetime, and probably anybody's lifetime, in terms of a football, sporting story, and that's not overhyping it.

A WIN FOR THE AGES

It's an absolute phenomenon. I don't really know what it says for the future other than it gives everybody a whole lot of hope. It just shows what can be done.

RICHARD SCUDAMORE, Premier League executive chairman, on what Leicester's unlikely triumph means for the league.

"We've never seen the likes of it before and we may never see the likes of it again. It's more than (Nottingham) Forest (in 19 77-78)."

So, is it a new trend? "The one thing that Leicester have done is they completely made a fool of all the forecasters," he says. "I can't even begin to say whether it's a beginning of a trend or what it is.

"It's an absolute phenomenon. I don't really know what it says for the future other than it gives everybody a whole lot of hope. It just shows what can be done.

"It can't be an economic argument. It's been achieved by something else. That something is clearly team spirit. It's clearly a team in the true sense with the component parts adding together to create something bigger than their individual contributions."

Leicester's manager Claudio Ranieri, though, believes it will take up to 20 years for an unfancied team to emulate his side's achievement.

"Big money makes the big teams and usually the big teams win, but now we can only say 99 per cent," he told several British newspapers yesterday.

"How many years after Nottingham Forest and Blackburn (in 1995) have another team won? Next season will be the same, for the next 10 or 20 years will be the same.

"The richest will win or who can pick up the best players to make a team. If 20 owners have the same money for the players, only one can win and three will go down. That is football."

The Italian said he would not urge the club to make superstar signings in a bid to win the title again.

"We don't need the superstars," said the 64-year-old. "We need our players. You see (in January) we bought Demarai Gray, we bought Daniel Amartey. It's the same. They have barely been with us, not six months.

"I want to improve the squad without big stars, but the right players. It is too early to say we need five, six, seven or eight players. We have to see."

Ranieri signed a three-year contract last year after succeeding Nigel Pearson as manager and said that he was in no hurry to sign a new deal. "I have three years," he said. "Why do I have to sign a new contract?"

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2016, with the headline 'Leicester's triumph is for all underdogs'. Print Edition | Subscribe