SPORT-FOOT-LEICESTER 3LAST

first_imgLeicesters ownership was ridiculed for hiring the Leicesters ownership was ridiculed for hiring the 64-year-old Ranieri last July. Hed been out of work since the previous year after being fired by Greece. And his only job in the Premier League at Chelsea ended 11 years earlier. Ranieris prospects of avoiding relegation were written off. How he has proved his critics wrong and beguiled even non-Leicester fans with his command of the team and entertaining asides that shifted the focus away from players chasing history. Above the Cank Street Gallery in central Leicester was written one such sound-bite. “Dilly ding, dilly dong” was uttered by a giddy Ranieri last month as he conveyed his excitement that a first career title was looming. The nonsensical but endearing one-liner has been turned into a fans song and also featured on ticker-tape that covered fans in the stadium. “I want to say to you we are champions because you pushed us,” Ranieri told 32,000 fans in the stadium. Leicester has lost only three times in 37 games in the title bid. Not bad for a season when survival was the objective. “We are staying up,” Leicester fans sang before bellowing out the words they will never tire of chanting: “Champions of England we know what we are.” Ranieri is already thinking about next season and the teams first foray into the Champions League, where Leicester will be top seed in the group stage as a domestic title winner. Leicesters previous highpoints have come by winning the second-tier League Cup three times. “This is a magical season,” Ranieri said. “Let me go to the sea and recharge my batteries. Lets start next season with the same ambition, same humility.” Domestically, its anticipated the faded Premier League powers from deposed champion Chelsea to record 20-time Premier League winner Manchester United will be far stronger. “Well show this wasnt a fluke,” fan Alan Sewell said. “I dont think it was a fluke but the rest of the world does.” AP SSC SSCadvertisementlast_img read more