To put this in perspective, only four teams have won the Premier League since 1995. It was a simple formula. Four teams had the best players and the most money. More money meant they could buy even better players, better players meant more success, more success meant more money. Other teams – and none of the twenty teams in the league were pushovers – could string a few good results together, but only the big four had the squads to consistently amass the points required to win the league over a gruelling 38 game season.
Until this year when a 5,000 to one long shot – Leicester City – destroyed them all.
What makes it even more remarkable was that thirteen months ago Leicester City were bottom of the table and favourites to be relegated out of the Premier League. They’d lost 18 of their 29 matches and, with 9 games to go, were 7 points behind the 17th club and safety.
Then something happened. They won four games in a row, going on to win 7 of those last 9 games to reach safety and another season in the PL. Only the eventual champions, Chelsea, managed to beat them during that run. But what had caused the turnaround? They hadn’t brought in a new manager or new players. They hadn’t changed their formation or style of play.
Only one thing had happened between March 21st and April 4th when the turnaround began. On March 26th, Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England, was laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral. The event was televised live and conducted with all the pomp and ceremony that we Brits excel at. It was as close to a state funeral as you can get without involving the Queen (who, being descended from Richard’s usurper – Henry VII – decided to sit the event out.)
This season, Leicester have been unstoppable, and with two games to go are seven points clear of the second team and are uncatchable.
So, yes, it was the king wot done it.
Other clubs are now believed to be searching their car parks for dead monarchs.
(Photo: Portrait of Richard III by an unknown artist. (National Portrait Gallery))
Chris Dolley is a NY Times bestselling author living in France with a frightening number of animals. His latest novel The Unpleasantness at Baskerville Hall came out on February 9th in ebook and trade paperback. His novelette, What Ho, Automaton! was a finalist for the 2012 WSFA Small Press Award for short fiction. More information about his other work can be found on his BVC bookshelf . An Unsafe Pair of Hands – a quirky murder mystery set in rural England charting the descent and rise of a detective on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Which will break first? The case, or DCI Shand? Medium Dead – a fun urban fantasy chronicling the crime fighting adventures of Brenda – a reluctant medium – and Brian – a Vigilante Demon with an impish sense of humour. Think Stephanie Plum with magic and a dash of Carl Hiaasen. French Fried – the international bestseller – true crime, animals behaving badly and other people’s misfortunes. Imagine A Year in Provence with Miss Marple and Gerald Durrell. International Kittens of Mystery. If you like a laugh and looking at cute kitten pictures this is the book for you. It’s a glance inside the International Kittens of Mystery – the only organisation on the planet with a plan to deal with a giant ball of wool on a collision course with Earth? Resonance – “This is one of the most original new science fiction books I have ever read. If it is as big a hit as it deserves, it may well be this book which becomes the standard by which SF stories about … are judged.”