British red tops go blue to hail Leicester ‘fairytale’

Photo credit: AFP

Photo credit: AFP

London (AFP) – Britain’s broadsheets and red tops displayed an uncustomary blue on Tuesday, the team colours of Leicester City, the club whose improbable success in winning the Premier League was hailed as a miracle.

The outsiders dubbed the Foxes bounced back from near relegation last season to league champions in an achievement hailed as unprecedented.

“Triumph greatest upset in league history” read the front page of the Metro, summing up the story as “Zeroes to heroes”.

“There has never been a more improbable victory in any sport,” wrote The Economist magazine.

The front page of the i newspaper read “Fantastic Foxes write the greatest fairytale football has ever known” while the Daily Mirror dubbed them “The Incredibles”.

“Leicester City: Kings of England” read the front page of the Guardian, with a portrait of Richard III, the king whose skeleton was discovered in a carpark in 2012 and whose reburial in Leicester cathedral is believed by some to have brought the city luck.

“Leicester in dreamland” read their sports supplement

Many newspapers referred to the fact that before the team’s ascent, bookmakers had, at one time, offered to pay out £5,000 ($7,335, 6,363 euros) for every £1 bet that Leicester would win the title.

“Football’s 5000-1 fairytale: No-hopers Britain fell in love with are champs!” read the front page of the Daily Mail.

The Daily Telegraph’s sport supplement printed a giant blue Leicester crest and a cheering team manager Claudio Ranieri, with the words “How Leicester’s 5000-1 title dream turned into astonishing reality”.

Some questioned whether former England striker Gary Lineker, who played for Leicester and helped rescue the club from going out of business in 2002, would really present BBC football programme Match of the Day in his underpants — a rash promise he made earlier in the season should Leicester be crowned Premier League champions.

“The biggest sporting shock of my lifetime, and it’s only my team,” he wrote on Twitter after the victory, which came shortly before Leicester-born Mark Selby also won snooker’s World Championship on Monday.


– ‘Cast-offs’ –


Others noted the fairytale story of the team’s top scorer Jamie Vardy — who spent years in the lower leagues but now plays for England — already talked about as a subject for a Hollywood movie.

Guardian sports writer Barney Ronay described him as a “a late-blooming, whippet-thin, scaldingly quick journeyman striker”.

“Vardy once spent half a season being substituted after an hour at his non‑league club so he could rush home and make the curfew on his electronic tag, the result of a conviction for assault outside a pub,” Ronay wrote.

“Vardy can now look forward to playing for England at this summer’s European Championship.”

SEE MORE: Schedule of Premier League games on US TV and live streaming

Leicester’s success drew reaction as well, with The New York Times describing their triumph as “one of the most remarkable seasons in soccer history”.

“All this has been achieved by a team of cast-offs, misfits, and journeymen. No-one else wanted Leicester’s players; if they had these players would not have been at Leicester,” wrote Alex Massie in Time magazine.

“Even if reality returns with a vengeance next season and English football is once again dominated by the biggest battalions no-one will ever forget these little Foxes.

“They have rewritten the rulebook and, in the process, reminded us all of what sport is really all about.”


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