Football

No finer moment for Foxes' fan Bhanji

Leicester native Bhanji can't believe the Foxes will be playing Champions League football next season

They had been tipped for the drop, considering they narrowly escaped relegation from the English Premier League last season.

It is why life-long Leicester fan Mayur Bhanji described his team's remarkable title win as less likely than "someone landing on the moon".

"You still expect to wake up and find them playing Rotherham away in the Championship, but it's not the case," the 29-year-old told The New Paper in a phone interview yesterday.

EUROPEAN GREATS

"Next season, we're going to see clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich - all of these European greats - potentially coming to the King Power Stadium.

"Obviously, you roll on to Saturday and Wes Morgan is going to lift the Premier League trophy; it's really bonkers when you think about it."

Bhanji (above), a Qatar-based football reporter who was born and raised in Leicester "a few minutes away" from the stadium, has stuck by the Foxes through thick and thin.

"When you grow up in Leicester, you've got one football club and a thriving rugby and cricket team, so it's quite a sporting city," said Bhanji, who labelled the Foxes' relegation to League One in 2008 as his lowest point.

"My mum's not the biggest football fan, but she's watched most of this season. So when she sends me a message saying, 'What a header from Wes Morgan!', you know something's happening.

"This will probably never happen again; that's why the fans have been behind the players - these guys have not cost a bomb and they're not stars."

While Bhanji admitted that the Foxes are unlikely to sustain their success next season, he said that fans still have cause to be optimistic.

TOP SEVEN

"Most Leicester fans are aware that they'll be lucky to finish in the top seven next season, but the Premier League changes next year, and the TV deal is massive," he added.

"The Thai owners have been fantastic; the fans love them because they've frozen ticket prices and they're not meddling around too much.

"We've got at least three months of enjoying it over the summer before we start worrying about August."

Calling Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri a "genius", Bhanji said there will not be a finer moment than what his boyhood club have achieved.

"If I win the lottery, I might be just as happy, but there are not too many things that can beat the feeling of being a Premier League champion," he said.

"Many people have said they can't do it; here's proof that you can, just with the togetherness everyone at the football club and all the fans have shown."

What other fans say

"I've been waiting for this day for a very long while and it's finally here. There will always be people jumping on the bandwagon claiming that they're diehard Leicester fans, but I don't believe many know what the club's actually been through."

- Leicester and Everton fan Mohamad Razali Ali, 42

"It's a good thing that Leicester play football the right way, instead of spending a lot of money. Team work is very important, and I think Leicester scored well in that."

- Leicester and Liverpool fan Joseph Tan, 50

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