London, April 6 (IANS) They are known as the Foxes, and true to their name they’ve out-foxed the biggest names in English football.
The Premiership is one of the world’s greatest leagues with teams such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool household names on every continent, reports Xinhua.
The big question being asked today among global fans is, Leicester? Where’s Leicester?
Leicester City, the team from the Midlands region of England, is on target to scoop the greatest prize in football as champions of the league.
A year ago the Foxes were at the bottom of the table, stirring relegation in the face. They survived to start the current season under Italian Claudio Ranieri, sacked months earlier after just four months in charge of the Greek national team.
Under the 64-year-old Roman, the team is like an unstoppable runaway train, heading the table seven points ahead of its nearest rival Tottenham Hotspur, and leaving big-shot clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs trailing way behind.
Leicester are eyeing a place in the European Champions League, in what is being described as the biggest shock in footballing history.
The fame and riches success at the 32,200-Seater King Power Stadium will bring to the city of Leicester could even exceed Leicester’s latest claim to fame as the burial place of England’s famous monarch, King Richard III.
City government officials recently announced that an extra $28 million was earned for Leicester’s tourism economy last year, thanks to the ill-fated king, slain in a battle written about by William Shakespeare.
Leicester’s Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, told Xinhua on Monday: “It’s fair to say the global media coverage given to the Foxes this season has raised the city’s profile around the world.
“Leicester is already enjoying the boost triggered by the discovery of the remains of King Richard III. Since his reinterment in Leicester Cathedral last year, there has been a steady growth in visitor numbers to the city, with more than 250,000 people visiting the tomb in the cathedral, at least 10 percent of these visitors coming from overseas.
“While King Richard III was a massive story for Leicester, the success of Leicester City Football Club is proving to be an equally huge story, and it’s a story that’s uniting the whole city behind our football team.” The mayor is a big fan of the Foxes.
Leicester, with a population of 330,000, is one of the oldest cities in England, with a history going back 2,000 years.
It still retains links to the days when Roman conquerors had a military outpost in the city with ancient Roman pavements and a Roman baths.
Leicester City’s success has also brought riches to a number of punters who placed bets at the start of the season at outside odds, with little expectation the gamble would pay off. This week one man picked up $57,000 for a stake of just $28, at odds of 2,000-1.
Another waged $57 at odds of 5000-1 which will earn a bonanza of over $280,000. Betting organisations say they stand to lose over $14 million the minute Leicester City are declared the new kings of English football. The miracle of Leicester has put the city on the world map.