Leicester City fans carried on their celebrations into a second day after what has been described as the most unlikely triumph in team sport.
The Foxes secured the Premier League title with two games left in the season after Tottenham could only draw their must-win game against Chelsea on Monday, with fans celebrating the title win well into the small hours.
Manager Claudio Ranieri mustered an “I feel good” when quizzed by reporters at the side’s training ground on Tuesday morning, with fans across the city also revelling in the astonishing title win.
Outside the King Power Stadium, cars were driving past beeping their horns with others blaring Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’ while jubilant fans sang “Championes!” and, ironically, “We are staying up!”, a reference to last season’s battle with relegation.
Fans watching the match on Monday evening at the Local Hero pub in Aylestone Road were looking glum as Spurs raced to a 2-0 lead at half-time, but dared to dream during the last 10 minutes knowing a draw would be enough to see the Foxes claim the title.
The party started shortly after Eden Hazard grabbed an 83rd-minute equaliser for Chelsea.
The celebrations then poured out from the bars and pubs in the city and onto the streets, with thousands congregating in the city centre and outside the King Power Stadium.
Flares were lit, chants of “Leicester till I die” rang out, and men selling Champions flags were doing a swift trade. Among those in the crowd was Stuart Hamilton, 68, who stayed out until 2am.
He said: “I just didn’t want the party to stop. I can’t put into words how it felt when that final whistle went.
“I’ve been following this club through thick and thin — and it’s been more thin — but just to say the words ‘Leicester City are champions’ is phenomenal.
“You’ve got to credit the manager and the whole team for this and the fans too. The city as a whole can be so proud of what the club has done.”
The league win, which was a 5,000/1 shot at the start of the season, is expected to be worth around £22m (€28m) to the city’s economy next season, the East Midlands Chamber said.
But fans have said the feeling at watching their side pick up the Premier League trophy at their next home game against Everton on Saturday will be priceless.
Harry Phillips, a 21-year-old student, said: “I woke up this morning and had to check my phone because I thought I was dreaming.
“Saturday is just going to be a party. No other word for it. The whole city will be rocking.”
Hundreds of fans, many nursing hangovers, travelled to the King Power, branding the achievement “unbelievable”.
In the shadow of the stadium, lifelong supporter Steve Worthy, who is the third generation of his family to follow the club, told how he has double cause for celebration. Mr Worthy has won the honour of handing the league trophy to club captain Wes Morgan after Leicester’s game against Everton on Saturday.
The 39-year-old watched Leicester’s victory at home with friends and family .
Watching alongside him, his 98-year-old grandmother Gladys Kenney — whose first trip to see Leicester was the 1949 FA Cup final — was left “teary-eyed”.
“I had a few tears in my eyes, as well,” added the printing promotions worker.
Season ticket holder Jim Steel, a retired jeweller from Glasgow in Scotland who moved to Leicester 44 years ago, said watching Monday night’s London derby had been a rollercoaster.
He said: “It’s so emotional really, to watch that game and see Spurs go two-nil up, and then they looked as if it was going to have to depend on that game against Everton on Saturday.
“I thought ‘oh dear, here we go, another seven days of pains in the heart’.
“Then Chelsea scored — it was unbelievable.”
Afterwards, the 69-year-old came down to the stadium and partied alongside thousands of other stalwart fans into the early hours.
He said: “I was down here last night until 2am, so I came down here (today) for two purposes.
“My heart’s not too good with all the excitement and I felt I was going to have a heart attack both last night and this morning.
“But the Leicester Royal Infirmary is just up the road and nice and handy if I conk out. And also — to come down for my season ticket.”
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