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5,000/1 outsiders in pole position

£150m title-winning bonanza for Leicester

Claudio RanieriLeicester City, one of the journeymen clubs of English football, completed a remarkable sporting fairy story tonight after being crowned champions of the biggest league in the world.

According to sports data and marketing firm Repucom, the club is now poised to earn up to £150 million in Premier League prize money, earnings from the UEFA Champions League, and increased match day revenues from ticket and hospitality sales.

The Midlands club will also enjoy enjoy higher bargaining powers with sponsors, and potential revenue from their new found global fame.

Bookmakers are facing a massive pay-out on Leicester’s unlikely success. It will trigger a £15 million windfall for punters who took odds as long as 5,000/1 at the start of the season.

Spurs failure to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge meant they could not overtake Leicester who have won the title with two games remaining.

William Hill said it had never paid out on a 5000/1 shot. Joe Crilly, a spokesman for firm, said it is looking at paying out more than £3m after Claudio Ranieri’s (pictured) team pulled off the most unlikely title win since Blackburn Rovers won the league 21 years ago.

The odds are on a par with a sighting of Elvis Presley or aliens landing on the moon.

Mr Crilly said: “Leicester’s price has been artificially high all season as we, like most people I’m sure, will have been expecting them to tail off. It has been an incredible year and an incredible story.”

Just 25 people – including just three from Leicester — wagered a total of £166 on the team to win the Premier League at the start of the season at the longest odds and 40% have cashed in, some believing the club’s run would not last.

Now just £35 remains staked and will pay out £191,128. Others took shorter odds as the club appeared capable of mounting a challenge.

Leicester last season pulled off what was considered a miraculous escape from seemingly inevitable relegation, but that barely compares with their ascendancy to the top of the world’s biggest league.

Former Leicester and Celtic manager Martin O’Neill, who led the Midlands club to their previous highest Premier League finish of eighth in 2000, said: “Not only is it a brilliant story, but it gives everyone that little bit of hope again. That romance has not left football.

“It’s been the talk of Europe, there’s no question about that. Everything about this season has been remarkable.”

Leicester’s success will be welcomed by those who feared no club from outside the big four – Chelsea, Arsenal, and the two Manchester clubs – had any chance of winning the English premiership.

They have done it with a team that cost a reported £23m – a fraction of the transfer fees paid by their illustrious rivals – recalling memories of Brian Clough’s league winners Nottingham Forest who achieved the seemingly impossible on a shoestring budget almost 40 years ago.

Questions will now be asked of Leicester’s ability to repeat Forest’s achievements in Europe. Clough led his teams to two European Cup triumphs.

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