I have never seen anything like it. We have never seen anything like it. Leicester has never seen anything like it either. From the city centre to the stadium, from Town Hall Square to Vicky Park, from the Cathedral to the station, everywhere was a sea of blue. People were chanting, smiling, jumping, waving, flagging, hooting, tooting, fruiting (not looting), hanging out and enjoying the sunshine and just, gosh-darn-it, jolly-well celebrating. As well they might. Only trouble is, it’s just started chucking it down and the match is due to kick off in an hour. Oh well, I guess it’s not tennis. They laugh in the face of thunderstorms at the King Power Stadium.
I’ve been talking to a number of people who, like me, are not footie fans but who have been caught up in the celebrations. And we were trying to decide why it is that not only fans but people like us as well as the world’s media – and supporters of other teams – who have engaged with this. Basically we’ve come up with three reasons:
- It’s an against-the-odds story, a 5,000 – 1 chance which came off
- It shows you can do it without buying your way to victory, purchasing the top players, and so on
- Leicester is a small, unregarded yellow sun – I mean a small, unregarded blue city – which has hitherto been overshadowed by Nottingham to the north and Birmingham to the West, but which against all odds has in the past two years found a buried king and won the Premier League – and those two events coming so close together have made an irresistible story. As the Guardian reporter who interviewed me said, ‘Leicester is really on the map now.’ And so it is.
So I, and non-footie fans like me, will continue to enjoy the celebrations and to feel vindicated in so doing – because it’s great to feel a part of something so big.