Dilly Ding Dilly Dong!

Leicester City were presented with the Premier League trophy on Saturday as they were crowned Champions of England for the very first time in their 132-year history. Captain Wes Morgan and manager Claudio Ranieri lifted the famous trophy together as celebrations inside the King Power Stadium continued.

After the most remarkable of seasons, the Foxes were officially crowned champions last Monday night when Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard scored for Chelsea to fight back and draw against second-placed Tottenham, meaning that Spurs could no longer catch the East Midlands club.

The result cued wild celebrations in the Jamie Vardy household, where most of the players had gathered to witness the Chelsea-Tottenham game, as well as in the streets of Leicester City Centre and outside the King Power stadium, with fans rejoicing well into the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Ranieri took his players and coaching staff out for lunch on Tuesday to a pizzeria in the city centre after yet more celebrations at training on Tuesday morning, along with Leicester’s Thai owners, who have gifted each of the players a £32,000 Mercedes and an all-expenses-paid-for trip to Las Vegas.

The excitement and buzz among everyone in the city was tangible as the city united to support and congratulate the players, with the week building up to the party at the King Power on Saturday evening.

In what was a momentous occasion for all involved, the party started early in the day, with fans gathering in the city centre as well as at pubs near to the ground to get in the mood for the main event; the electric atmosphere could not be dampened by the thunderstorms that hit in the build-up to kick off. Instead, fans entered the stadium and sang solidly for around 45 minutes in the concourse before legendary opera singer Andrea Bocelli took to the stage alongside fellow Roman Ranieri.

After a sensational rendition of Nessun Dorma, Bocelli revealed a Leicester City shirt, to the delight of the home crowd who were fully supportive of the Italian. Following Bocelli, the Everton players and match officials came out of the tunnel, forming a guard of honour for the new champions.

The match itself was somewhat of a distraction and a nuisance for many because of the excitement and anticipation at lifting the Premier League trophy after the game. Leicester showed no signs of tiredness from a week of celebrating and were dominant throughout, with returning top scorer Jamie Vardy scoring just five minutes into the game.

Leicester doubled their lead on 33 minutes, when Leighton Baines’ tackle on Algerian wizard Riyad Mahrez could only divert the ball to Andy King in the penalty area, with the Welshman slotting home as coolly as ever. Vardy made it 3-0 after the interval when he picked himself up after a challenge by Matthew Pennington to fire home a penalty.

Vardy then had the chance to put himself level at the top of the race for the Golden Boot alongside Harry Kane when Darren Gibson wiped out substitute Jeffrey Schlupp, but this time Vardy blazed his penalty well over the crossbar.

Everton pulled a consolation back late on through Kevin Mirallas, but this did not dampen the spirits inside the stadium as the main event was yet to come. After full time, once the celebrations had been set up, Ranieri and his coaching staff were welcomed back to the pitch, followed by the title-winning squad.

The colossus Morgan received his medal last and as emotions ran high among players, coaches and fans alike, the Jamaican international and his Italian boss lifted the Premier League trophy high above their heads, cue mad celebrations from the players behind them and the supporters in the stands.

Leicester’s Thai owners joined in the celebrations and the sense of unity and sheer joy filled the stadium. Families of the players joined the winning squad on their well-earned lap of honour after lifting the trophy.

All-in-all, it was an unforgettable way to top off a simply unbelievable season for the Foxes. In the famous words of Ranieri himself, Dilly Ding Dilly Dong!

Josh Jones

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