Leicester City are Premier League Champions. Even as I type that, I still can't believe the words. What a season it has been.
We're currently in May, but I remember sitting down for a Christmas lunch with family and saying "Leicester have hung around a lot longer than your normal early season pace setters."
Back then, we thought Leicester were a good chance to make top 4. Here we are, 5 months later and Leicester City are not only top 4, but champions.
Leicester City. Champions of England. pic.twitter.com/WRwfysTn2N— Leicester City (@LCFC) May 2, 2016
There's no denying every football fan was behind Leicester on this one. There's something about football that brings out a hard working ethic, a brotherhood and belief among fans and players alike. However, this hardcore belief among the Leicester faithful goes beyond this season.
Their first achievement in recent years was their Championship success in 2013-14, after narrowly missing out on promotion the season before. Their fortunes did not continue on in the Premier League, however, as they endured an absolutely miserable run of 19 points from 29 games. They found themselves 19th on the table, a whole 7 points from safety and in a real sticky situation.
Despite this run, Leicester managed to produce one of the greatest come backs in history at Old Trafford when they spectaculaly defeated Manchester United 5-3, despite some good goals from United.
They were the first team to come back from a 2 goal deficit against United at Old Trafford since 1992. If something like that doesn't elicit a silent (or raucous) hopefulness from supporters around the world, I don't know what would.
They managed to win 7 of their last 9 games and finish last season on 41 points, a survival of Wigan-like proportions. Until Wigan copped the drop, of course.
From a relegation battle to champions the very next season will never be repeated, at least not in our lifetimes.
Let's not forget the maestro behind this season, Claudio Ranieri. The man whose last job ended in absolute tatters with the Greece national team in 2014. A dismal record of 0-1-3 saw the Italian manager unsurprisingly sacked after just 4 months in the job.
He was also once told by his old boss, Roman Abramovich, that he will never win the league. He's now set for a guard of honour at Stamford Bridge, in front of his old employer on the final day of the season. But that's none of Ranieri's business.
Overall, the Leicester squad have had a fire in their belly for quite some time and it has impressed the world. They've stayed in the top 3 since match day 11, only 3 losses, currently undefeated for 10 matches (second time this season), Mahrez winning PFA Player of the Year, and of course Jamie Vardy breaking the successive scoring record set by the legendary Alan Shearer.
By the way, Jamie Vardy also deserves Goal of the Year for this absolute ripper against Liverpool.
This season has been full of records, achievements and incredible moments for the Foxes, and nobody in the world of football can say they don't deserve it.
A title-winning football team founded on hard work and an unbreakable belief are hard to come by these days. It does not mean they exist. Leicester have become a shining example to all clubs, big and small, local or international.
Congratulations lads. Champions of English football and of hearts around the world.
P.S. Nobody has forgotten this, Gary Lineker
YES! If Leicester win the @premierleague I'll do the first MOTD of next season in just my undies.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 14, 2015