Miracles happen, they really do. Who in their right mind ever thought Leicester City could ever even challenge for the Premier League title let alone go on and win it in such style! Not me, that’s for sure! For 32 years I have supported the team of the city I was born in and I never, ever believed we had any chance of achieving what has recently happened. I thought the best we could ever really do was to win an FA Cup or perhaps make it into the top six but even those dreams seemed beyond us given the way football has gone in recent years with the so-called big teams always having the financial clout to dominate. My beloved Leicester City have changed all of that though and the story of our title success has gone global and given hope to so many other clubs.
Leicester has the highest proportion of Asian Indians or British Asians anywhere in Britain and it’s football fans have a lot to thank other parts of Asia too for their success starting inevitably with Vichai and Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha who took over the club back in 2010. Unlike other owners, they haven’t interfered by trying to change our colours or name but have very much respected the traditions of the club. It’s very rare for any club owners to be as loved and respected by the fans as they are. Hardly a game has gone by this season without them putting their hands in their pockets to provide the likes of clappers, t-shirts, flags, beer, donuts and pre-match bacon rolls on away day match days. Then, there’s the small matter of the £2m that Chairman Vichai donated to kick start a campaign to develop a new Children’s Hospital in the wake of lifting the Premier League trophy last weekend.
Our millionaire Thai owner enlisted the help of a Buddhist monk 6000 miles away in Bangkok. He wanted his help in carrying out a blessing ritual for the club and all the people involved with it. Over the years it’s been quite normal to see buddhist monks in and around the stadium using their divine power to assist in the Foxes rise to glory. His title translates as the bearer of the flag of victory and it is believed that his spiritual interventions have been critical to the clubs remarkable journey.
Next, there’s the samurai workhorse Shinji Okazaki who has played his role in Leicester’s miraculous season. The Japanese striker may lived very much in the shadows of his strike partner Jamie Vardy and other more notable players but he has been an integral part of the team as shown by his 29 starts as part of the regular first XI. Whilst he has been lacking in goals and assists his contribution has been essential as his tireless running regularly helps pull defenders out of position thereby creating space for the likes of Vardy and Marhrez to exploit. I’ve written in greater detail about what he has brought to the team for a Japanese football magazine which you can read here.
Now on to the less savoury side but it was arguably the pivotal one. After the greatest of escapes from relegation at the end of the 2014-2015 season, the owners took the club on a post-season goodwill tour to Bangkok. What happened next involving three youth team players and some prostitutes made it onto the front pages of the tabloids back in the UK at the end of May 2015.
A few naive young players indulging in such frolics wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for a racial slur to one of the Thai girls involved and the fact that one of the players happened to be the son of the manager. It wasn’t really any surprise that the club dismissed all three players shortly after the incident but it was something of a shock when it was announced at the end of June that Nigel Pearson and the club had parted ways due to “fundamental differences in perspective”
Anyway, in came Claudio Ranieri; a man who had earned the respect of many during his Chelsea tenure in the early 2000’s for the way he had handled himself with such dignity in the face of constant speculation regarding his future. He’d managed at some of Europe’s biggest clubs but his last job as Greece national manager was disastrous and it was this blip which concerned many when his appointment came out of the blue. We needn’t have worried though as “The Tinkerman” became “The Thinker-man” and his tactical prowess helped push the team over the finish line to eventually win the Premier League crown by a whopping ten points.
Click here to read ‘Leicester City Shop In Bangkok Airport’
Click here to read ‘Leicester City Supporters Night In Tokyo Bar’
Click here to read ‘Leicester City/Okazaki Fans Tokyo Get-Together’
Click here to read “Okazaki 20” Leicester City Shirt Spotted In Tokyo! That’ll Be Me!’
Click here to read ‘Tokyo Fox On BBC Radio Leicester Boot Room Special’
Click here to read ‘Leicester City References In English Lessons’