Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Richard III and Leicester City's football fairytale

He lost his crown but is now being credited with Leicester City winning theirs - Richard III, King of England and unlikely football icon

His famous statute in Leicester has worn the team's scarf and there is even a placard reading 'A title, a title, my Kingdom for a title'. It didn't come to that as Leicester City won the Premiership with two games to go and sent just about every football fan in the world into dream land. Richard III lost his crown but he is being credited with helping a team everyone had written off win theirs in the most romantic story football has known.

Experts argue that the confidence that came to the city as the world watched it rebury one of England's most talked about kings was a spur for the football side that helped it achieve a glory that may never be repeated.  Matthew Morris, who took part in the work to find and rebury Richard III, said ''there's this sense of pride in the city that possibly wasn't there as much before...that new-found confidence the city has had from the Richard III project perhaps has filtered through into the football.''

Richard III's remains were discovered in 2012 with confirmation that the bones found beneath a car park in the city centre coming early in 2013. Preparations began to reinter the last Plantagenet in Leicester Cathedral and tens of thousands of tourists converged on the city to watch the procession.

The tomb of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral
(photo credit RobinLeicester (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

It was around the time that the Countess of Wessex and the Duke of Gloucester attended the reburial ceremony of King Richard III that Leicester City;'s fortunes turned around. Until that point they had been favourites for relegation from the Premiership but they fought back and kept their place in the top tier of English football. A little over a year on, that run of form has seen them claim the most unlikely title win in the sport's history.

No doubt, the statue of Richard III, King of England will become the focal point of celebrations through the week as the city gets ready to welcome its sporting heroes at their last home game of the season this weekend when they will receive the trophy no one every thought they could win. On top is a crown for the kings of football who might just owe a bit of their glory to the king who made Leicester believe in itself, Richard III.

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