With Leicester City taking out sport’s most unlikely and popular championship in years or ever depending on your point of view, we present six other great sporting wins against the odds and expectations according to us.
We even apply the Leicester City rating, with the highest being 5 Foxes and 1 Fox being the lowest.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST – 78 1st DIV TITLE / 79 / 80 EUROPEAN CUP
Nottingham Forest were promoted from the old second division in 1977 after finishing third. A year later they had won the old First Division. A year after they were champions of Europe. Two years after that they did it again. Not many teams have won the first division/EPL a year after let alone won in Europe a year after that, so in the grand scheme of footballing achievement one could argue that the Foxes still have a way to go to match the overall unexpected success.
However, the 70’s and 80’s was a time where money was still yet to ruin/rule football and Championships and Cups were fought out each year between different sides. Even Ipswich Town fought for First division titles back in this era. Led by Brian Clough, the self titled best manager England never had (and similar to Raineri after his his ill-fated stint at Leeds United), it is likely that these achievements will never be repeated. Although Leicester are in the Champions League next year, and they can also win that too. After this season who could argue they couldn’t.
FOX UPSET RATING
KEKE ROSBERG – 1982 FORMULA 1 WORLD CHAMPION
In 1982 Formula 1 had become a series of haves and have nots. Not unlike 2016, except that there were 6 cars that had the giant advantage of the day instead of the 2 Mercedes which seems to be the only realistic chance of winning a race these days.
The haves were the Turbo engine cars – Renault, Ferrari, Brabham. These engines were amongst the most powerful of any F1 engine, and the advantage they had over the normally aspirate cars was huge. The engines breathing normal air were 100 horse power and more behind the turbo cars, and at some Grands Prix were blown away down the straight. But the Williams which powered Rosberg to the Championship had one advantage – the Turbos were hopelessly unreliable.
In the end Rosberg took just one victory for the season, as the Turbos threw points away when miles in front or the death of Gilles Villeneuve and serious injuries to Didier Pironi halted Ferrari’s chances of winning the title. Not bad when giving away so much power, and also considering that Rosberg was disaqualified from one race and due to politics didn’t enter another. Yet he still won the Championship with a car with significantly less power and 2 less races to do it in.
FOX UPSET RATING
GREECE – EURO CHAMPIONSHIP 2004
A link to Ranieri here as he managed and was sacked from the Greek national side before taking the Leicester job.
But in 2004 Greece took probably the most unlikely major International football competition win by surprising all in the 2004 Euro tournament in 2004 held in Portugal.
Previous to the tournament Greece had made only 1 World Cup and 1 Euro and had tasted victory in neither. They had only gone one better by the group stages with just one win from three games, but went through on goals scored after having an equal for and against as third placed Spain.
But the Greeks grew and required only three more goals to win the entire competition as they won through the Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Championship game with a treble of 1-0 wins. Against the odds sure, but with only six games to play, it drops to a three Fox rating.
FOX UPSET RATING
STEVEN BRADBURY – 2002 WINTER OLYMPICS
One of Australia’s most famous sporting underdogs, and who could begrudge such a guy from winning anything.
As the now infamous footage shows, the Australian benefitted from the three skaters in front crashing at the final corner, despite being quite far behind for the 1000m speed skating race. Whilst it’s easy to dismiss this as pure luck, there’s quite a qualification process to even get to the Winter Olympics, and to be in the final with just three others was achievement enough for the Aussie hero. He went one step further with lady luck on his side, and wrapped up Austrlia’s most famous sporting upset.
FOX UPSET RATING – Big upset gifted after hard work. Still only had to race a few times to win gold.
JOHN DALY – 1991 US PGA GOLF
John Daly is famous for his wild ways on the golf course, but he also achieved a major win – twice – which is plenty more than a great bunch of golfers including Rod Pampling.
After missing out initially on the 1991 US PGA, he was called in as a late replacement when 8 other emergency players couldn’t make it, and took full advantage with a win in just his third major and first year on the US Tour. Something aside from the fancy pants he will be remembered by.
FOX UPSET RATING – Great achievement and bloke, but was only after 4 rounds instead of 38 games like Leicester.
OLIVIER PANIS – MONACO GP 1996
OK, not quite a season long achievement, but still a 200-1 shot on the day to taste success. And he started in 14th on a track that had proved to be impossible to pass on.
And pass he did, overtaking more cars on one wet sunday afternoon than is the usual total during an entire Monaco Grand Pirix. His move on Eddie Irvine was not very polite at best, but it was effective, and it was key to victory.
FOX UPSET RATING – Only one race so not a season long achievement so it gets less stars but still a great one-off, and any excuse for us to mention Olivier Panis.