Leicester City - The Biggest Shock in Football?

Rated as 5000-1 outsiders and one of the favourites to be relegated when the 2015-16 English Premier League season kicked off, Leicester City shocked the world and won the hearts of many by winning the Premier League for the first time in their 132-year history last week.  Spearheaded by the prolific Jamie Vardy up front who has bagged 24 goals so far and the dazzling skills of Riyad Mahrez who claimed the PFA Player of the Year trophy, the Foxes have entertained millions of football fans to deservedly lift the league title and qualify for a place in the lucrative Champions League.

But Leicester’s isn’t the first shock win in the history of football.  We look at a number of similar surprise packages down the years from the world of football.

1967 – Celtic’s Lisbon Lions

In 1967 Celtic, fresh from winning a domestic treble, faced up to Italian giants Inter Milan in the final of the European Cup in Lisbon.  Inter had won 2 of the previous 3 European Cups so were considered favourites.  However their defensive style was famously beaten by the Glasgow side’s attacking game 2-1 to see Celtic become the first British club to lift the European Cup.

1971 – Celtic stung by the Jags

Celtic, boasting stars like Jimmy Johnstone and Tommy Gemmell and a young Kenny Dalglish took on a newly promoted Partick Thistle side in the final of the Scottish League Cup.  The Jags weren’t given a chance but shocked their bigger neighbours by trouncing them 4-1 at Hampden Park.

[video width="450" height="360" mp4="http://www.directsoccer.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Partick-Thistle-win-1971-League-Cup-the-Thistle-goals.mp4"][/video]


1972 – Ronnie’s Rocket beats the Magpies

Hereford United, playing in the 5th tier of English football, took on 1st Division (think the Premier League in old money) side Newcastle United in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup.  With a young John Motson commentating for the BBC, the home side stunned their higher ranked opponents thanks to a rocket from Ronnie Radford from 30 yards out to win 2-1 and send the Southern League team through.

1973 – Sunderland shock Leeds United

The 1973 FA Cup Final saw Second Division Sunderland take on the famous Leeds United.  United, managed by Don Revie and featuring stars of the day like Billy Bremner, Johnny Giles and Peter Lorimer, were expected to ease to victory over Sunderland.  However, a 31st minute goal from Ian Porterfield was enough to win the cup for Sunderland and cause one of the biggest shocks in FA Cup history.

1978-1980 – Nottingham Forest, Kings of Europe!

When Brian Clough took over the reins at Nottingham Forest in January 1975, the club were a run-of-the-mill Second Division side.  Clough masterminded the team’s way to the top flight by winning the Second Division in 1977, and followed this up by lifting the top league’s title in 1978.  Not done there, Forest then reached the final of the European Cup and beat Swedish side Malmo 1-0.  To prove it wasn’t a fluke, they then repeated this success 12 months later with a 1-0 victory over Kevin Keegan’s SV Hamburg in Madrid.

1983 – Aberdeen lift the Cup Winner’s Cup

Taking on giants Real Madrid in the Cup Winner’s Cup final of 1983, Aberdeen, who were going through a golden period of success domestically, were unfancied to beat the Spanish side.  But on a famous night in Gothenburg, Alex Ferguson’s young team beat Real 2-1 with goals coming from Eric Black and John Hewitt to secure the Dons first only European trophy.

1988 – The Crazy Gang beat the Culture Club

In the 1980’s Liverpool were rated as one of the best club sides in the world.  In 1988, they arrived at Wembley for the FA Cup Final to take on Wimbledon FC, a side who were labelled the Crazy Gang and had characters running through the whole side with the likes of John Fashanu, Vinnie Jones and Dennis Wise.  Lawrie Sanchez gave the Dons a first half lead before goalkeeper Dave Beasant saved the first penalty in a cup final from Liverpool’s star striker John Aldridge.  Wimbledon held on to win 1-0, a feat deemed impossible for a side that had only been playing league football for 11 years.

[video width="480" height="360" mp4="http://www.directsoccer.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Liverpool-0-Wimbledon-1-14-05-1988.mp4"][/video]


1992 – From the beach to European Champions!

Denmark failed to qualify for the European Championships.  However at the last minute, due to conflict in war-torn Yugoslavia, the Danes were given a last minute entrance to the competition.  Their lack of preparation didn’t prevent them claiming a historic win, beating the Netherlands and Germany on the way to lifting the Henri Delaunay Trophy.

[video width="640" height="360" mp4="http://www.directsoccer.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Denmark-v-Germany-UEFA-EURO-92-final-highlights.mp4"][/video]


1994 – Dancing in the streets of Raith

1st Division high-fliers Raith Rovers reached the final of the Coca-Cola Cup in 1994, facing up to Premier League giants Celtic at Ibrox Stadium.  With the majority of the crowd backing the Glasgow side, Raith took an early lead before going behind.  With just a few minutes to go in normal time, Gordon Dalziel equalised for the Kirkcaldy side to send the game into extra-time.  With no goals coming from either team, it took a penalty shoot-out to separate the sides with Scott Thomson being the hero between the sticks for Rovers, saving from captain Paul McStay to give the Fife team their first major cup win and leave Celtic with red faces.

2004 – Greece - European Champions

Second last in the eyes of the bookmakers, the Greeks stunned the footballing world by winning Euro 2004 beating hosts Portugal in the final.  Their style of play wasn’t easy on the eye, but was effective enough to lift the trophy.  Their win propelled the team and many of their players to new heights with many more tournament appearances.  In a bizarre twist of fate, a defeat in Euro 2016 qualifying to the Faroe Islands saw manager Claudio Ranieri get the boot, only to end up at Leicester City.  The rest as they say is history!

[video width="640" height="360" mp4="http://www.directsoccer.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Greece-v-Portugal-UEFA-EURO-2004-highlights.mp4"][/video]


2005 – Liverpool’s Istanbul miracle!

The UEFA Champions League final of 2005 took place in Istanbul, Turkey, and pitted two giants of the game against each other in the shape of AC Milan and Liverpool.  In terms of recent success, Liverpool were going through a barren spell and hadn’t lifted the league for 15 years, and the European Cup triumph in 1984 was the last time the Reds had won Europe’s top club prize, so they were seen as the underdogs against a Milan side boasting world class players like Cafu, Maldini, Pirlo, Kaka, Shevchenko and Crespo.  The Italians took the lead in the first minute through Maldini, with Hernan Crespo adding two more to see the Rossoneri lead 3-0 at half-time.  Inspired by Steven Gerrard, Liverpool fought back and by 60 minutes were level after goals from Gerrard, Smicer and Xabi Alonso.  No more goals followed during the duration of normal or extra time so penalties were needed to decide the winner.  Milan missed their first two to leave Liverpool 2-0 ahead, before Tomasson replied for AC and John Arne Riise missed his spot-kick.  Both Kaka and Smicer found the net leaving Andriy Shevchenko needing to score to keep Milan in the contest.  The Ukrainian hot-shot couldn’t repeat his winning kick of the 2003 final and saw Liverpool keeper Jerzy Dudek save the penalty to see Liverpool lift a famous 5th European Cup, a feat that didn’t seem possible at half-time.

[video width="624" height="358" mp4="http://www.directsoccer.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Liverpool-v-AC-Milan-CL-Final-2005.mp4"][/video]


2007 – McFadden’s wonder strike

To qualify for Euro 2008, Scotland had to get out of a group containing Ukraine, France and Italy, with the latter two having just contested the World Cup Final in 2006.  Scotland had earlier defeated the French at home and were in a great position to qualify for the Championships, but travelled to the Parc de Princes as underdogs.  A heroic defensive display from Scotland kept the visitors in the game before a great 30 yard strike from maverick attacker James McFadden in the 64th minute saw the Scots score a famous win over their more illustrious opponents.  Sadly, a defeat in the last game against Italy kept the Tartan Army away from Austria and Switzerland.

2013 – Wigan shock big spending City

The 2013 FA Cup Final at Wembley between Wigan Athletic and Manchester City was supposed to be a foregone conclusion.  Though both teams were Premier League sides (Wigan would be relegated a few days later), the contrasts in the club’s fortunes were immense.  City, bankrolled by the Abu Dhabi United Group, had an array of expensive world-class stars in their squad like Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and David Silva and had were defending Premier League champions, while Wigan had only joined the Football League in 1978 and didn’t reach the top flight until 2005.  But a spirited fighting performance from Roberto Martinez’s side was rewarded with an injury-time header from Ben Watson that beat Joe Hart in the City net and gave the Latics their first major trophy in English football.

[video width="640" height="360" mp4="http://www.directsoccer.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/HIGHLIGHTS-Wigan-Athletic-vs-Manchester-City-1-0-FA-Cup-Final-2013.mp4"][/video]


So after these examples of many shocks in football over the years, which would you rate as the biggest surprise?  Has your team ever pulled off a shock win?  Suffered an embarrassing defeat against lesser ranked opponents?  Let us know on our Facebook page.

Don’t forget our great Weekly Deal available until 2pm this Friday (13th May).  You can get the fantastic Prostar Density Tracksuit Jacket in either Junior or Senior sizes for just £4.99 a jacket!  Available in a wide variety of great looking colours and in various sizes, this tracksuit jacket is a comfortable high quality woven polyester jacket that is suitable for many sports clubs to wear.  Combine these with the Density Trousers at just £3.75 a pair and you will have a great tracksuit at an unbelievable price!