There’s little to tie 15th century Britain with modern day football. Football wasn’t a pastime in the 1400s. Leicester wasn’t a city. Foxes were merely animals. But when, in 2012, the exhumation of King Richard III began in a Leicester car park, everything changed. Suddenly there was a whisper of a link between the last Plantagenet and Leicester City Football Club.
First, though, a recap of how we got there. After Richard III’s remains appeared in 2012, the world argued where he would be laid to eternal rest, and a long tug-of-war between York and Leicester ensued before the East Midlands secured bragging rights.
Meanwhile, just down the road at King Power Stadium, the Foxes were heading into a battle of their own. After realising promotion back to the Premier League for the first time in a decade, Leicester City were doomed to head straight back to the Championship by Christmas 2014, cast adrift at the bottom of the table. They needed a miracle to save them.
As it would turn out, Richard III was preparing for his final journey, and the city of Leicester would be rejuvenated in more ways than imagined. Around 35,000 gathered as he completed his lap of honour down the streets of Leicester; a buzz that lifted and drifted to Filbert Way, too.
Jamie Vardy & Riyad Mahrez
Celebrating Jamie Vardy’s late winner against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns in April 2015, on the way to a great escape.
Nine days after the reburial service, on 4 April 2015, Leicester faced West Ham United and something quite remarkable took place. For the first time since January, City picked up three points, and they did so with the help of their very own royalty (Andy King, that is.)
Filbert Way was awash with hope, but the result wasn’t enough to lift the Foxes from the foot of the table. The impossible dream still seemed just that: impossible. Until, of course, buoyed by their newfound confidence, Leicester went on an incredible winning streak.
They triumphed at West Bromwich Albion. Then against Swansea City. And at Burnley, and then against Newcastle United and Southampton. A draw at Sunderland secured Premier League survival and concluded the greatest of escapes.
Then, on a day that saw the heavens open, Leicester City were crowned as Premier League champions on 7 May 2016, just over 400 days after the last of the Plantagenets' re-burial.
In that time, Leicester City Football Club had won 30 games, drawn 13 and lost just four, and written the greatest underdog tale in modern sporting history. Coincidence? Most probably. But a mysterious one at that.
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