When football writers across the land made their predictions last August for the season ahead, it’s unlikely that many, if any, would have foreseen the rise that Leicester City football club have taken this year.
From surviving relegation, the Foxes now stand joint top with Arsenal and after defeating the other surprise packages of this year, Tottenham Hotspur.
Loaded caught up with Gary Silke, editor of the Fox Fanzine to see how he is coping with such a momentous year.
Loaded: What a season so far, what have you made of it?
Gary Silke: I think most City fans would have been very happy with an improvement on last year’s finish of 14th and no relegation battle. What we have seen from our side this season has been off the scale. It is scarcely believable.
Are we dreaming?
L: How have you found the impact of Ranieri?
GS: Claudio has played it perfectly from Day One. Despite our struggles for much of last season, he could see that there was a good side, backed up by a solid and professional backroom staff and changed nothing.
He has defied his Tinkerman stamp from his spell at Chelsea by sticking with a small pool of players and only making changes when they are necessary.His line-ups, substitutions and tactics all seem spot on, week in, week out. His charming manner also quickly won the Leicester public over and he is greatly loved.
L: And what about the season Vardy is having?
GS: It could be a script rejected by Roy of the Rovers on grounds of being unrealistic. From non-league to England caps in a very short time. At 29 he has become a household name. His finishing has been absolutely lethal this season and his Premier League record for scoring in consecutive games was well-earned. He never stops chasing the opposition down, unlike many goalscorers who would consider that job beneath them.
L: Can you begin to dream after last Wednesday’s results?
GS: After 21 games the league table doesn’t lie. Leicester City have never won the league and may never have a better chance. It is a huge task and is almost beyond the realms of fantasy… but why not?
L: Finally, what will be a successful season for Leicester now?
GS: As mad as it sounds, I think there may be a little disappointment if we don’t make the Champions League from where we are now!
Gary Silke is Editor of The Fox Fanzine. To get hold of a copy email firstname.lastname@example.org
Loaded sports writer Pearse Corcoran has covered news, sport and entertainment for several national newspapers and radio stations in Ireland. Follow him on Twitter at @PearseCorcoran