We are Premier League: Leicester City clinch Championship title

Leicester City supporters have witnessed more than their fair share of ups and downs in the last seven years.  The horror of relegation to League One in 2008 saw Nigel Pearson appointed as Leicester’s new manager, followed by a thoroughly successful season in which the Foxes secured promotion back to the second-tier as champions.  Pearson guided Leicester to the Championship playoffs during the 2009-10 campaign, only to be beaten on penalties by Cardiff City.  Eighteen months of managerial turmoil followed, with limited success on the pitch, before Pearson was reinstated at the club in November 2011, to the delight of most Foxes supporters.  After being given time to make the side his own, Pearson guided Leicester City to the playoffs at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, despite a disastrous run of form which saw Leicester win just three of their remaining seventeen league fixtures, only again to suffer the most gut-wrenching playoff heartache at Vicarage Road.  Critics began to suggest that Nigel Pearson may not be the right man to guide Leicester back to the top-flight.  For want of a better phrase, and the avoidance of a footballing cliché that even I have used before, being a Leicester City supporter has been a roller coaster ride over the last seven years.

Leicester City clinched the Championship title last night at the Reebok Stadium with a 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers, courtesy of a howitzer strike from Lloyd Dyer, and will return to the Premier League in August for the first time in a decade.  Nigel Pearson has steadied that roller coaster – at least for now.

There’s no big secret to Leicester’s success this season; it is purely down to hard work and consistency.  Nigel Pearson is not the type of manager to spend millions on big-name players.  He is smart enough to realise that promotion from the Championship cannot be bought.  As such, he made minor tweaks and additions to last season’s squad.  Despite the perception that many have of Leicester City being a big-spending club, five of Pearson’s seven signings this season were free transfers, including free agents Marcin Wasilewski, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Kevin Phillips, who have all played their part in Leicester’s success this year.  They are typical Pearson signings: those who are willing to work hard for each other, the fans, and their manager.  They are a welcome addition to an already strong core of players that are used to lining up alongside one another.  Right now, this Leicester City squad is more united than it has been in a long time, and it is clear to see in every game that they play.

On the same day that David Moyes was added to the seemingly endless list of managerial casualties, Nigel Pearson, currently the longest-serving manager in the Championship (although still less than two and a half years into his second spell at the King Power Stadium), stands as a reminder of the unsympathetic, disadvantageous revolving-door culture in modern football.  Huge credit must go to chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, not only for the financial stability they have given Leicester City for years to come, but also for the faith they have shown in Nigel Pearson, and for their patience in a game that is becoming increasingly impatient.