Grantham MP Nick Boles’ column: ‘We can all learn from Leicester City’s superb season of success’

Nick Boles MP.
Nick Boles MP.

What I know about football could be written in a tweet and still leave lots of characters to spare.

But I cannot resist an epic story of triumph against the odds and the journey of Leicester City Football Club from the nether reaches of the Premiership League to capturing the title is as inspiring as any.

There is something wonderfully romantic about a team which spurns the personality cults and telephone number salaries of the global football elite outplaying them week after week and snatching the ultimate prize in English football from under their pampered noses. I will not pretend to understand the combination of training, tactics and team spirit that delivered the Foxes’ stunning victory. But I do think we can all draw lessons from their success.

The first is that the greatest achievements are not the solitary acts of individuals, but the results of collective effort by teams, communities and countries. We admire Andy Murray for his Wimbledon Men’s Final victory – but even more for his role in the team that won the Davis Cup last year. We rejoice in the success of Rory McIlroy as a PGA champion but his contribution to Europe’s Ryder Cup victory at Gleneagles made our hearts beat even faster.

The second is that while money can often assist in the process of winning prizes, it is not enough on its own. Leicester City spent £57 million on staff last season. Chelsea spent £216 million. Big budgets help – but they are no substitute for leadership, discipline, hard work and passion.

The third is that you never know when in a long career success will strike. The Foxes’ manager Claudio Ranieri had never seemed likely to pluck one of the ultimate prizes in football – and certainly not after his ignominious ejection from the job of managing the Greek national team.

But this was the year, and Leicester the place, where a lifetime of service to his sport was finally rewarded. I’m sure he would tell us that it was well worth the wait.

In an age of media obsession with big egos, big pay packets and instant success in politics, music, business and sport, Leicester City have been a breath of fresh air. We can all take heart from the thoroughly English story of their unlikely triumph.