Disclaimer: I am writing this at around 12pm Monday 2nd May 2016, so as it stands from my time Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur are both potential winners of the Premier League.
If you are ever concerned that you have gained a reputation, that you are no good, that you will never succeed in life then I need to tell you a story about a little football team from Leicester.
At the end of the 2013/2014 season Leicester City Football Club were promoted as champions of the Championship (which is not the best league in English football for reasons unknown to mankind) to the Premier League. They then had an absolutely abysmal season, winning just four games from their first twenty-nine matches; they were write offs, they were all but mathematically certain of being relegated to the Championship. Then something incredible happened, Nigel Pearson (the then manager) somehow managed to get the team to start winning games, going on to win seven out of the last nine; they finished in 14th (out of 20) gaining more points in their last nine games than in the previous twenty-nine. They would be safely be playing in the Premier League next season.
Over the summer Leicester decided to change managers, outing Nigel Pearson bringing in Claudio Ranieri, a man who previously lost to the Faroe Islands while in charge of Greece. Even ex-Leicester player Gary Lineker voiced his criticism. Then something truly magical happened Leicester managed to win their first game of the season, which little did they know was the start of an incredible season. After game ten, Leicester were fifth, only three points behind leaders Manchester City, having only lost one game which was against Arsenal.
Fast forward to Christmas time. It is 14th December 2015 and Leicester are playing last season’s champions Chelsea at Chelsea’s home ground. You can probably already guess what I’m about to say, but they go and win the match. This leaves Gary Lineker to make possibly the most regrettable tweet of his life. A popular tool with which one can guess the premier league winners is by seeing who tops the table at Christmas and this season it looked like it was going to be either Leicester or Arsenal to be the star on the tree, and yep you guessed it Leicester went top.
Arsenal, as expected, bottled it and tumbled away from the title race leaving their North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur to battle it out with Leicester. At this point I would like to point out that if Tottenham were title contenders with anyone else I would be cheering them on, having last one a top flight title in 1961. However Leicester are the true underdogs and so the whole country is supporting them including managers and teams who have no chance of winning the league. So now we come to present day, West Bromich Albion drew with Tottenham on Monday 25th April. Tottenham are eight points behind Leicester with three games remaining, so Leicester just need two points from their two games to guarantee the title. Tottenham need to win all three games to have a possible chance of winning the title and even then this is only be possible if Leicester fail to pick up two points from two games.
You likely haven’t made it here without being a football fan, but let me get back on message. Nobody thought that Leicester could achieve this incredible feat, in fact even if they do lose all their remaining games, the worst they can finish is second. At the start of the season bookmakers had odds of 5000/1 on Leicester winning the title, which in case you’re not a betting person means that if someone put £1 on Leicester to win, they’d get back £5000 (plus the £1 you put on) which isn’t a bad investment. Don’t allow people to tell you that you can’t do something because you’re not good enough. Jamie Vardy (Leicester striker) scored in eleven consecutive games at the start of the season, breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Premier League record. This is the same man who played for non-league Fleetwood town, just four years prior.
To take away from this, you don’t need others to tell you how great you are all you need is a small amount of self belief and hard work. In fact Leicester’s preferred starting line up cost just £22 million, less than half of what Manchester City paid for Raheem Stirling. In fact Riyad Mahrez cost just £400,000 and has just won PFA player of the year, a prestigious award. Proof that all you need sometimes is just hard work and determination.