On This Day in 2016 – Leicester defy 5,000-1 odds to clinch Premier League title

Tottenham’s failure to beat Chelsea ensured the Foxes could not be overtaken in their historic bid to become English champions.

Leicester’s players and manager Claudio Ranieri celebrate the Premier League title in 2016
Leicester’s players and manager Claudio Ranieri celebrate the Premier League title in 2016 (Nick Potts/PA)

Leicester completed one of the biggest sporting fairy tales of all time eight years ago when they were crowned Premier League champions.

The Foxes defied odds of 5,000-1 at the start of the season to win the title for the first time in the club’s 132-year history.

They began the campaign among the favourites for relegation under new manager Claudio Ranieri but, having lost 19 matches the previous season, fell to just three defeats on the way to a stunning triumph.

Claudio Ranieri with the Premier League trophy
Claudio Ranieri with the Premier League trophy (Nick Potts/PA)

Leicester were deserved champions having won at both title rivals Manchester City and Tottenham, while an unbeaten run from mid-February proved beyond any doubt they had the nerve to finish the job.

In the end, a little help from the previous Premier League winners Chelsea helped complete their rise from relegation fodder to champions.

Second-half goals from Chelsea pair Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard secured a 2-2 draw against second-placed Tottenham, halting Spurs’ bid on a night of high drama that Leicester’s players watched unfold from striker Jamie Vardy’s home.

Foxes fans coined the chant ‘Jamie Vardy’s Having A Party’ and the top scorer had quite the shindig in Melton Mowbray, where videos showed the group celebrating wildly as the title was confirmed.

Ranieri’s experience was more tranquil having flown back from Italy after visiting his 96-year-old mother in Rome to return home in time to watch Tottenham’s draw with his family.

“I am very, very happy now because maybe if I won this title at the beginning of my career maybe I would forget,” Ranieri, then 64, said. “Now I am an old man I can feel it much better.

“I said every time I am very happy for the fans, for the chairman and for all the Leicester community. I don’t know the secret. The players, the heart, the soul and how they play.”

After being relegated last May, Leicester sealed their return to the top flight last week.