Mark my words – the conclusion of this remarkable season will be the beginning of the end for Leicester City.
What an incredible year it’s been for the Foxes. Claudio Ranieri’s side sit proudly at the summit of the Premier League table with a healthy seven-point lead over Tottenham. Leicester could yet secure the title by the beginning of May if results follow the script accordingly – cue scenes of celebration at the away end of Old Trafford.
Indeed, it would be magical for English football if Ranieri can deliver what would surely be the most incredible title success in the Premier League era. There will be an unrivalled carnival atmosphere in the King Power Stadium on May 7th for the final home game of the season against Everton, but the party hangover may be too much to bear for many Leicester fans and the symptoms are already starting to show…
It Was Only A Matter Of Time
Leicester City have become the team of the neutral fan this season, it’s difficult not to love the Foxes (although a certain CLICKON Soccer editor would beg to differ!).
For everyone else, the emphatic fashion in which the Foxes have claimed the scalps of the ‘top clubs’ and the manner in which they have stood firm under pressure, has had everyone swooning over Mahrez, Vardy and co.
Speaking ahead of their sides clash earlier in the season, Everton boss Roberto Martinez described Leicester City perfectly:
“We all know finances dictate a lot. Normally the expected sides are in the best positions. Leicester are an inspiration and the way they play is very refreshing,”
“Neutral fans will have a soft spot towards Leicester. It’s the worse time to play them. Leicester are a very good team who deserve to be top.”
Leicester have been exactly that, a refreshing change from the norm of top clubs, able to afford the top players and indirectly buy their way to success.
As a perfect illustration of this shift, when Leicester crushed Manchester City 3-1 at the Etihad…
Otamendi cost £6 million more than the Leicester starting 11. Let that sink in for a while.
— Simon Clancy (@SiClancy) February 6, 2016
But this constant fairytale, trance-like state of a small club punching above their weight to become Premier League champions doesn’t last forever, in fact… it looks like time’s up already.
Loyal Leicester City fans hoping to attend the ceremonial final Premier League home match of the season are now staring at a £15,000 price tag for a pair of tickets, after grubby touts quickly ramped up the prices for the hyped season conclusion against Everton.
Undoubtedly, what’s most distressing is how powerless Leicester City are to prevent the influence of financial gain from plaguing their club – the original allocation of tickets released by the club sold out in under 90 minutes on Monday.
Individual tickets were selling for more than £3,000 within moments of the sell-out, while a pair of tickets seated together were posted for up to five times that amount on certain websites.
A spokesman from the club confirmed that Leicester would actively seek out anyone attempting to resell tickets for the game at inflated prices, reiterating that it is a criminal offence to re-sell football tickets in the United Kingdom – but sadly, as any regular football match attendee can tell you, these are empty words.
The Start Of A Worrying Trend For Leicester Fans
Only a fool would try to predict how Leicester will fare next season. Realistically, very few expect the so-called ‘top clubs’ to underperform as drastically next season as they have this year – particularly considering the influx of fresh management heading to Premier League.
If (and it’s a big if) Leicester can replicate this season’s successes next year then fans, who have diligently followed their club from the Championship through relegation dogfights, right up to Champions League qualification, face being priced out of their club like many others before them.
Success brings demand and demand means higher prices… for everything. If touts are charging up to £1500 for a Premier League home game with Everton, how much do you think they’re going to charge if Leicester draw Barcelona in the group stages?
Good morning, everyone. pic.twitter.com/O6Kwbi4jVj
— Leicester City (@LCFC) April 11, 2016
How long before tourists start to travel from overseas to watch that team “Lie-chest-er” they’ve heard so much about – paying top whack for the experience? Will the King Power still host one of the most raucous atmosphere’s in the league when diehard fans are replaced by selfie-taking, half-and-half-scarf waving jokers?
— I Love Manchester (@ILoveMCR) October 25, 2015
Success will be Leicester’s poison chalice.
Whilst their fans may relish in this moment of glory inside a jumping King Power stadium, if their impressive form carries over to the next campaign, football fan’s may finally witness a Leicester relegation – the relegation of priced-out foxes fan’s to watching their side’s campaign from their living rooms.