Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Football: Bad luck in past as Leicester live dream

Leicester's Riyad Mahrez celebrates after scoring a goal during the English Premier League. Photo / AP
Leicester's Riyad Mahrez celebrates after scoring a goal during the English Premier League. Photo / AP

If Leicester City hang on for the most unlikely English football triumph of all time, it will be richly deserved. Not just because of their incredible, against-the-odds season, but also their history.

Leicester have shown amazing consistency since joining the Football League in 1894, spending just one of those 122 years outside the top two divisions. But, aside from three League Cups, success has eluded them, and they have been unlucky on big occasions.

Their best chance at a first division title was in 1928-29, when they finished just one point behind champions Sheffield Wednesday.

Their FA Cup history has also been unfortunate - no team as reached more finals (four) without winning one. They reached their first in 1949, having spent most of that season battling relegation from the second division. They faced a Wolves team full of England internationals and lost 3-1.

In 1960-61, Leicester lost 2-0 to soon-to-be-crowned league champions Tottenham. The final's pivotal moment was Leicester fullback Len Chalmers suffering a suspected broken leg after 20 minutes in an era of no substitutes.

In 1963, Leicester lost 3-1 to Sir Matt Busby's Manchester United side, inspired by Bobby Charlton and Dennis Law. And they were beaten 1-0 in the 1969 final by a Manchester City team who were the previous season's league champions, featuring Colin Bell, Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee.

I've always had a soft spot for Leicester. When I was living in England in 2000, they captured the football public's imagination by topping the table in October.

Their reign lasted two weeks but they stayed in the top four until Christmas, before falling away.

Most were predicting something similar this season when Leicester began their golden run, but it hasn't happened.

They've confounded the doubters and defied the odds in a thrilling and dramatic way. Let's hope the fairytale continues.

- Herald on Sunday

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