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It’s being called the greatest upset in sports history. Leicester City Football Club, a team that began the English Premier League season with 5000-1 odds to win the title, did just that. It is the biggest accomplishment in the 132-year history of the club, more than half of which has been spent below the top tier of English football. In fact, many experts predicted the team would be sent back to the second division by finishing among the bottom three of the Premier League this year.
Leicester City’s victory is all the more impressive when taking recent history into account. The inception of the Premier League in 1992 came with massive cable television deals, transforming English football into a multi-million dollar industry. Since then, small clubs like Leicester City have found it increasingly difficult to compete for top players with the richest clubs - Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal - who have dominated the league. Ahead of this season Manchester City spent $605.3 million (£418.8 million) on their team as opposed to just $78.6 million (£54.4 million) by Leicester City.
But with its ragtag group of journeymen, castoffs and hidden gems, Leicester City has defied all odds and performance models to take the football world by storm. How has this improbable story changed the city of Leicester and impacted its fans? And what does it tell us about how people react to and learn from underdog stories across the globe?
In this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Diane Statham @foxestrust
Treasurer, Foxes Trust
Rob Tanner @RobTannerMerc
Football writer, Leicester Mercury
Riaz Khan @Casual_Roof
Leicester City fan
Warren Haughton @WarrenHaughton
Former Leicester City player
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.