As of the 2023/24 campaign Leicester City play in the second tier of English football, the Championship. They have taken to life outside the Premier League well though and, at the time of writing, are sitting pretty at the top of the Championship and very strongly fancied to earn instant promotion after their relegation at the end of the 2022/23 PL campaign.
But, of course, as most fans of English football will be aware, it is not all that long ago that the East Midlands outfit actually won the Premier League title. In one of sport’s great stories and football’s biggest surprises, the relative minnows punched well above their financial weight to somehow overcome Man City, Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and, well, everyone, to be crowned champions of England. But when did that happen? Indeed, how did that happen?
How Long Ago Did Leicester Win the Premier League?
Time flies when you’re having fun, so they say, although a more accurate saying might be time flies when you’re old (and quite probably the fun has stopped!). Whenever you think Leicester won the PL, take a few years off that and you’ll be right. If you thought it was about five years ago, you’re spot on, because it was eight years ago! Well, it was actually on 2nd May, 2016 that they were crowned champions, towards the end of the incredible 2015/16 Premier League season.
What Odds Were Leicester?
Leicester were priced at monster odds of 5,000/1 to win the title before a ball had been kicked in the 2015/16 campaign and there are probably more people who can remember those huge odds than can actually recall which season the Foxes won the PL. To put that 5,000/1 price into some sort of perspective, calling a coin toss correctly 12 times in a row is less than a 4,100/1 shot! Or, thinking about things differently, the longest odds winner at the Grand National is 100/1, whilst the 2003 Open Championship in golf was won by 500/1 shot Ben Curtis.
Taking yet another angle, at the time of writing Netherlands are 500/1 to win the Cricket World Cup and Kanye West is the same price to be the next President of the United States! To even get close to Leicester’s crazy 5,000/1 odds you’d have to back Sheffield to make the top four of the current PL campaign. The Blades are 2,000/1 to go from bottom to fourth or better but having taken a single point from seven games and currently trailing fourth-placed Liverpool by 15 points, even at that price we can’t see anyone backing them.
To actually find a bet that is currently 5,000/1 we really have to dip into the realms of the impossible: Everton to win the PL title in 2023/24 can be backed at exactly 5,000/1! Oh, and they are the only side not to have beaten Sheffield United this season (and also account for Luton’s only win!).
How Did Leicester Win the Premier League?
We have established that Leicester winning the PL was seen as all-but impossible. But they won it. Much has been written about their title success but how could they possibly manage to upset such gigantic odds? How did they go from a side that were odds-on favourites to get relegated with nine games to go in the previous season, to getting the better of sides that were packed with players earning five, even 10 times what Leicester’s squad were?
Of course, money isn’t everything but it certainly talks and in the world of football it is more accurate to say it shouts. Loudly. But team spirit, momentum, luck, and everything coming together just right, which is slightly different from simple good fortune, can quieten even the loudest of super-rich bores. And, that is exactly what Leicester did.
The Foxes came into the 2015/16 campaign on a high, having ended the previous term with seven wins and a draw from their last nine games. They were 20th with nine matches remaining but ended 14th after that stunning run. Four wins and a draw in pre-season set them up nicely too and the fixture list was also kind to the Foxes.
In their opening 13 games of the title campaign, they played all of the teams who would go on to finish in the bottom eight of the table. Additionally, of the teams who would finish in the top 10, they only faced Arsenal, Spurs, West Ham, Stoke and Southampton. They were battered 5-2 by Arsenal, and drew with Spurs, Stoke and Southampton. But after 13 games they were top and they just rode that momentum all the way to glory as others faltered.
We shouldn’t take anything away from Leicester and their 81-point total, with just three defeats, was incredible given their squad. They registered 23 wins and 12 draws and if you win the title, you deserve to do so. But will there ever be another season where so many top teams fail to deliver? Arsenal came second but lost seven times, Spurs in third were beaten six times, whilst both Manchester clubs wracked up double-digit loss stats. Liverpool lost 10 times and finished eighth, with Chelsea going down 12 times and finishing way back in 12th.
Amazingly, Arsenal came second with a mere 71 points. To put that into perspective, Liverpool have come second with 92 points and 97 points in recent years. Moreover, whilst 72 points would have been enough for Leicester to take the title in 2015/16, in 2013/14 Everton finished fifth with that exact tally. You can, of course, only beat what is put in front of you and Leicester only needed 72 points for the title in 2015/16. They took 81 to claim Premier League glory by an impressive 10 points and that’s the stat that counts for Foxes fans!