Leicester City: The unlikely EPL champions

Football: Leicester fans in Singapore in 'la-la land' after title victory

Leicester City fans in Singapore Perry Tan (left) and Jitendra Kachhela have been rewarded after Leicester defied the odds to win the Premier League for the first time.
Leicester City fans in Singapore Perry Tan (left) and Jitendra Kachhela have been rewarded after Leicester defied the odds to win the Premier League for the first time.PHOTOS: NEO XIAOBIN, COURTESY OF JITENDRA KACHHELA

Midway through the interview at KPO Cafe Bar yesterday, Perry Tan was interrupted by a phone call from his nine-year-old son.

After a brief discussion about schoolwork, Tan proceeded to ask the boy: "Did you know Leicester won or not?" After a pause, Tan exclaimed: "Oh, how do you know?"

Once the call ended, Tan said: "He said I told him in the morning already. I must still be in la-la land."

This was the state of euphoria Tan was in after Leicester City's improbable title triumph yesterday morning, after Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.

Ironically, Tan, who turns 42 this month, grew up watching Tottenham thanks to his father, a Spurs fan. However, that changed in 1993 when he came across the Foxes.

"Back then, you couldn't pick and choose what matches you wanted to see. You just had to settle with what's on TV," said the senior account manager at LexisNexis. "I came across Leicester playing and their never-say-die spirit along with their will to win attracted me."

Tan's journey as a Foxes fan was not an easy one. With the club spending 10 years in England's second tier before their top-flight return in 2014, he found it difficult to watch their matches on television here but tracked their progress religiously via the Internet.

Fortunately for Jitendra Kachhela, 58, he has had far less trouble supporting his home town club.

He moved to Leicester at the age of 14 and has been a supporter ever since, even holding season tickets for several years.

Now a Singapore permanent resident after moving here in 2014, he too was "still buzzing" when The Straits Times contacted him yesterday afternoon.

"I was sitting in front of my computer watching Leicester fans and players celebrating for five or six hours, e-mailing and texting friends back in Leicester and the UK," he said.

Like Tan, he has stuck by the Foxes through thick and thin.

"You don't just give up on your hometown team," he said. "Sometimes when they are in the Championship, which is most of the time, I will watch Premiership matches when there are good teams to watch, like when Thierry Henry was at Arsenal.

"But I've never moved away from Leicester, I have never supported other teams."

Tan confessed he only started to believe they could win the title on Sunday. Kachhela had been similarly sceptical.

"I expected a struggle for LCFC to remain in the division and the usual target for the season was a point a game (38), plus two," said the Briton. "Only midway through last month did I think we had an extremely good chance."

While yesterday's events will long remain in Tan's heart and mind, he will mark the occasion with something more permanent - a tattoo of a fox on his left arm.

He explained: "Over drinks once, I told a friend I'd get a Leicester tattoo if they really win the league.

"Now that they've done it, I'm a man of my word so I'll get it done soon. It's something small and nice to commemorate this fairy-tale season."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2016, with the headline 'Leicester fans here in 'la-la land' after title victory'. Print Edition | Subscribe