Saturday 1 October 2016

Leicester's incredible story to be put in print

Published 03/05/2016 | 22:46

Boss Claudio Ranieri has won the Barclays Premier League with Leicester
Boss Claudio Ranieri has won the Barclays Premier League with Leicester

Leicester Mercury chief football writer Rob Tanner believes the Foxes' title success is almost impossible to understand after they shocked the world to win the Barclays Premier League.

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The journalist has penned a book about Claudio Ranieri's stunning top flight tirumph, after they were 5,000-1 to win the league at the start of the season.

Called '5000-1: The Leicester City Story' the book charts the end of last season, when the club won seven of their last nine games to beat relegation, to their improbable league win.

The Foxes clinched the title on Monday after Tottenham drew 2-2 with Chelsea to leave them seven points clear at the top with just two games left.

Tanner has been covering the Foxes since 2009 and knows the team's story is like a fairytale.

He said: "It's amazing. They were 5000-1, you were more likely to get a selfie with Lord Lucan or find Elvis alive. It's just extraordinary and now they are 100-1 for the Champions League, would you dare to put money on them?

"I woke up this morning, and wondered 'did it really happen?' and on the side there was a little champagne cork.

"I just hope the book does this incredible story justice but it's probably impossible. If you look at it there's always something else.

"I had the idea to do the book because when they were top at Christmas and we were getting requests from around the world, I did an American radio show.

"The guy was asking about my experiences and there's been play-off heartbreak , managerial upheaval, ownership changes, every season has had drama. The guy said at the end 'I'd love to read that book one day'.

"This is the year everyone will be talking about for decades so I dedicated it for this season. I've been writing it for eight or nine weeks but luckily I've been writing a blog from the end of last season and the book starts at the Great Escape.

"The team that was bottom for over 140 days are now Premier League champions, you have to go on the journey with them to appreciate what they have achieved."

The Foxes will get the trophy after Saturday's final home game of the season against Everton before they go to deposed champions, and Ranieri's former club, Chelsea on the last day.

Tanner believes it would have been fitting to see Ranieri lift the trophy at Chelsea, after he left in 2004 following their public courtship of Jose Mourinho.

He said: "If they presented the trophy at Stamford Bridge, can you imagine Ranieri holding that trophy aloft in front of Roman Abramovich who didn't just sack him, he publicly humiliated him in pursuit of his replacement (Jose Mourinho).

"When you consider the response to his appointment, the question marks over him and what had he done to deserve to have another crack at he Premier League after his Greek failure (after he was sacked by Greece in 2014)? It's been incredible.

"He has been a four-time runner up and now he is finally a champion.

"But (former boss) Nigel Pearson deserves a lot of credit. Nigel is a misunderstood character. I also saw the really nice side to him, the patron of the local hospice and how he used to treat people - who weren't journalists!

"He deserves a massive amount of credit for what has happened because he put the wheels in motion."

Press Association

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