Belfast Telegraph

Leicester's glorious year beyond our wildest dreams, say Northern Ireland dad and son

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland's small band of Leicester City fans are in dreamland today after their team's Premier League success.

With Tottenham throwing away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Chelsea last night, Claudio Ranieri's heroes became champions of England completing one of sport's greatest triumphs.

For Northern Ireland father and son John and Paul Hill, the title glory was by far the finest moment in their long-running obsession with the Foxes.

Belfast man John, 62, who has supported Leicester for 50 years, beamed: "We could never have envisaged this. The height of our ambition is to win a Cup. It is beyond our wildest dreams.

"What the team have done has been astonishing. The manager, players, owners and fans deserve so much credit for winning the title. And to think next season we have the Champions League. This is the most special time to be a Leicester City fan."

Former Primary School teacher John and his son Paul attended Leicester's 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday at Old Trafford. Had the Foxes won, they would have been champions, but Paul, who lives in Manchester, was more than happy to clinch the crown a day later.

Paul was delighted to be able to share an unforgettable experience last night with John.

"It was great to be with dad when we won the league. We have followed Leicester for years and taken some stick and becoming champions is amazing... it is dream come true stuff," said Paul. "It wasn't that long ago that we were in the third tier. Now Leicester are champions. Unbelievable! There are few Leicester fans in Northern Ireland but hopefully that will change."

Leicester and Northern Ireland have plenty of connections. The country's World Cup skipper in 1982, Martin O'Neill, was a successful manager for the Foxes winning two League Cups and guiding the side into Europe.

In his team were Northern Ireland stars Neil Lennon and Gerry Taggart. Other Northern Ireland internationals to have played for Leicester down the years include Derek Dougan, John O'Neill, Paul Ramsey, Keith Gillespie and Gareth McAuley.

Former Northern Ireland bosses Bryan Hamilton and Nigel Worthington had short spells as manager of the club.

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