Sports

May 032016
 

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Leicester City have made mugs of all of us – Richard Scudamore

Leicester’s unprecedented title triumph “made mugs of all of us”, according to Premier League chief Richard Scudamore.

The 5,000-1 outsiders beat bigger rivals Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea to land their first top-flight title.

“It’s probably the biggest sporting story ever and the biggest sporting achievement ever,” Scudamore said.

“Nobody saw it coming and even when it was halfway through the season nobody said it could be sustained.”

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How Lineker lived Leicester fairytale

Scudamore, who negotiated next season’s record £5.1bn television rights deal, added in an interview with BBC Sport that “Leicester 2016” would stand as a landmark moment in British sport.

“We don’t know what the future holds because we’ve all become completely hopeless at predicting anything, including the bookmakers and everybody else – because this one nobody saw coming,” he said.

“It’s made mugs of all of us and that is just the most fantastic feeling.

“If the bookmakers had it as a 5,000-1 event, you would imagine you should achieve these type of things once every 5,000 years. It gives us 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years of being able to say: ‘Leicester 2016. Just remember Leicester 2016.'”

‘Comparing apples with pears’

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Leicester City’s comic book season

The Foxes were crowned Premier League champions on Monday, when nearest rivals Tottenham drew 2-2 at Chelsea.

It marked the culmination of an incredible run for the East Midlands club, who were only spared relegation last season thanks to a brilliant sequence of results over their final nine games.

“Of course, you can’t compare it with other stories,” said Scudamore. “You can’t compare it with all Sir Alex Ferguson’s achievements, you can’t compare it with the Sergio Aguero moment, you can’t compare it with the Arsenal unbeaten season because they’re different things.

“You’re comparing apples with pears. But in terms of an overall story, as an overall achievement, it is absolutely the best.”

Ferguson won the Premier League 13 times while managing Manchester United, Aguero scored a stoppage-time winner as Manchester City took the title in 2012 while Arsenal were unbeaten in the 2003-04 top-flight season.

“No matter what else happens we’ve got it to remember, we’ve got it in the record books,” said Scudamore. “Let the statisticians prove that Leicester won the most points, they won the league, they were worthy champions and anybody else can do it.”

‘Leicester 2016’ an opportunity for the Premier League?

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Leicester’s Claudio Ranieri: His most memorable quotes

Leicester’s triumph will mean English football is an even more successful global product, says Sheffield Hallam football finance expert Rob Wilson.

The triumph against the odds is a “great advert” for England’s top flight, said Wilson.

He added it “creates huge potential to leverage the Premier League even more”.

Leicester are set to make £150m next season from prize money, Champions League participation cash, and increased match-day revenues from ticket and hospitality sales.

The Foxes have spent just £57m on their squad – compared with the £320m Manchester United have spent on player transfers in the past three seasons.

Wilson said the story of Leicester, owned by Thai billionaire businessman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, would increase the Premier League’s popularity in South East Asia.

Top 10 next season – Ranieri

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Leicester City champions: Claudio Ranieri’s reaction to Premier League title win

Manager Claudio Ranieri said the club would “continue to build” next season.

Speaking from Leicester’s training ground, where the players were also gathered following a late-night celebration at striker Jamie Vardy’s house, the Italian was asked if his side could win the league again next year.

“No. Next season we have to fight for 10th position,” said the Italian. “We have to make sure we are safe then we look to something more.

“When I came here the objective was to create a solid foundation and build together,” Ranieri told Sky Sports. “This season is out of our project but our foundations are very solid and we want to do our best.

“We don’t want to sell anybody. If some player doesn’t want to stay with us, I don’t want unhappy people. We are looking to add to the team but with the same mentality. Who comes must know we are working hard.”

Wilson told BBC Radio 5 live: “In August they had absolutely no superstars in that side. This summer is arguably more challenging as they try to hold on to some of those players and renew some of those contracts to maintain this next year.”

What else is happening?

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BBC Football Daily: Leicester win Premier League – How football reacted

Both Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron