Leicester's success is not a one-off
New TV deal means EPL is no longer a playground for rich clubs
Even at the time, Blackburn Rovers' title win felt like the last of the Mohicans.
The late, devoted Jack Walker lavished much of his personal wealth on his beloved local club to achieve a lifelong dream.
And the Rovers reciprocated, winning the English Premier League in 1995.
But Blackburn's finest hour was also a final hurrah for the league's lesser lights.
Never again would the most profitable industry in world sport succumb to the whims and fancies of the romantic idealists.
Like a crack team of callous burglars, the EPL's wealthiest beneficiaries would divide the silverware among themselves.
At first glance, it's easy to dismiss Leicester City's achievement as a Blackburn Rovers reboot; an updated re-imaging of a faded Cinderella story for the 21st century.
But Blackburn marked the end of an era. The Foxes feel like a new beginning.
Whether Leicester's heroics are a one-off fantasy or the foundation for an unlikely franchise, it probably doesn't matter.
There will be more "Leicesters", more unexpected title winners.
The rich-poor divide has been replaced with a pool of near limitless TV cash to be shared among the rich and richer.
Special circumstances helped the Foxes on their way to history, namely a generous Thai benefactor, a tinkerer who stopped tinkering, a squad of freakishly committed automatons and a poor campaign from their challengers.
But there were other underlying factors that will come to the fore in the coming months and seasons.
In February, Leicester smashed their strict wage structure to accommodate Jamie Vardy's salary demands of £75,000 ($148,000) a week.
In the same month, West Ham United did the same, agreeing to pay £125,000 a week in exchange for Dimitri Payet's signature on a five-year contract.
Over at Tottenham, chairman Daniel Levy, notorious for his ability to extract huge profits from last-minute transfer deals, had already informed manager Mauricio Pochettino that Spurs were no longer a selling club.
Whatever financial carrots are dangled for Harry Kane or Dele Alli, Levy has promised not to bite. He doesn't need to.
A previously lopsided playing field has been smoothened out, its pockmarked surface filled with the cash raining down from cable TV subscription packages.
From next season, a TV revenue stream that once earned £250 million ($492m) over five years will make close to £9 billion ($17.8b) in just three, a shade under £3b a year, give or take a few million.
The overriding incentive - the only incentive - for all clubs next season is to stay up. Finish one place above the relegation spots and the club bank £105m.
Last season, Barcelona picked up £44.6m for winning the Champions League.
Like a devilish game of thrones, the Premier League now hosts too many princes jostling for supremacy and not enough paupers to abuse and plunder.
Traditional powerhouses struggled all season with the uncertainty. Watching the established status quo sing out of tune was a guilty pleasure and their erratic warbling is likely to get worse.
Jose Mourinho and Manchester United remain wary of each other, with the manager keen on Champions League football and the club keen on less childish behaviour.
At Chelsea, Antonio Conte must go headhunting without the incentive of European football, while tearing apart a broken squad and starting again.
Even Pep Guardiola isn't yet guaranteed Champions League football at Manchester City.
United, Chelsea, City, Arsenal and Liverpool can all offer a brand name, but what's in a name?
Names are for tombstones. The only one that currently counts is the one being inscribed on the Premier League trophy.
In the past, the bloated big boys simply waved their chequebooks, like a smug Victorian industrialist throwing a couple of pennies into a beggar's bowl.
But cash is yesterday's news. Everyone brings a cash cow to market now.
But Leicester also bring a league title and Champions League football.
The Hammers offer a shiny, sparkly new Olympic Stadium that dwarfs the attendance capacities of both White Hart Lane and Stamford Bridge.
And Tottenham boast the brightest young manager in European football and a clear mandate to go one better next season.
So Leicester's success is rightly being celebrated as a victory for the underdogs.
But in time to come, their title triumph may be remembered as the first of many.
"Thanks Mister (Claudio Ranieri), because you’ve shown that one must not stop dreaming."
— Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon
"They’ve had an amazing season. Miracles don’t exist in football; it’s a just reward for their year of hard work. "
— Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane
"It’s one of these beautiful football stories that only football can write. This is the magic of football."
— Fifa president Gianni Infantino
"The greatest achievement in the history of English soccer was led by an Italian. fantastic Mr Ranieri."
— Italian PM Matteo Renzi, in a tweet
Ranieri: The rich clubs will still rule
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri believes England's rich clubs will dominate the English Premier League for the next two decades despite his team's unlikely run to their first top-flight title.
"Big money makes big teams and usually big teams win. Now we can say only 99 per cent of the time," the 64-year-old Italian (below) was quoted as saying by the BBC.
"Next season will be the same and for the next 10 or 20 years, it will be the same," he added after his 5,000-1 outsiders clinched the trophy on Tuesday morning (Singapore time).
He noted surprise winners emerge once every 20 years, with Nottingham Forest in 1978 (the old Division One), after promotion the previous season, and Blackburn Rovers in 1995, three years after going up.
"How many years after Nottingham Forest and Blackburn have another team won?" asked Ranieri.
BIG TRANSFER FEES
"The richest, or the team who can pick up the best players to make a team, will win."
Leicester's squad cost less than £60 million ($118m), although their billionaire Thai owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha said two years ago he was ready to spend £180m to claim a top-five finish within three years.
But former Chelsea manager Ranieri said he would not pay big transfer fees despite the extra demands facing Leicester, who will play in their first Champions League campaign next season.
"We don't need superstars, we need our players," he said.
"I want to improve the squad without big stars, but the right players."