Leicester City completed one of the greatest-ever sporting achievements Monday when the 5,000-1 underdogs won the Premier League for the first time.
Leicester players were crowded around a television inside top-scorer Jamie Vardy’s house as they were handed the title by closest challenger Tottenham being held to a 2-2 draw by deposed champion Chelsea.
With an insurmountable seven-point lead over Tottenham with two games remaining, Leicester is champion of England for the first time in its 132-year history.
“Championes! Championes! Ole! Ole! Ole!” the jubilant Leicester players sang as they jumped up and down with their arms on each other’s shoulders inside Vardy’s house.
“Nobody believed we could do it, but here we are – Premier League champions and deservedly so,” Leicester captain Wes Morgan said. “I’ve never known a spirit like the one between these boys, we’re like brothers.”
Just two years ago, Vardy and many of his teammates were playing in the second tier and then came close to instantly dropping out of the Premier League. They started this season as among the favorites to be relegated again. But on Monday night fans who never dreamed their modest club in city with a population of 330,000 would conquer wealthier rivals descended on Leicester’s King Power Stadium to party into the night.
“People saw it last season when everyone expected us to be relegated, but we fought back to prove people wrong,” Morgan said. “This season’s been a continuation of that. We’ve built on the momentum, but I don’t think anyone believed it would come to this.”
Leicester, which will collect the trophy on Saturday when it hosts Everton at home, had not even finished higher than second since 1929.
English soccer has not had a first-time champion of the top flight since Nottingham Forest in 1978. And for the last 20 years the Premier League trophy has never left London or Manchester, with Arsenal, Chelsea, United and City sharing the trophy between them.
Unlike that title-winning quartet or 1995 champion Blackburn, Leicester has achieved its success without lavish spending on its squad.
Chelsea’s draw also ensured Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri became a league title winner for the first time in his career, 12 years after the 64-year-old Italian was fired by the Blues.