How Leicester City’s FA Cup Victory Was a Win for Football

The FA Cup final. A historic day on the football calendar, and one that every football fan dreams of supporting their team in.

The beauty of the FA Cup is the opportunity it provides to any side from the football pyramid, whether it be a Premier League side or non-league.

From giant killings to 90th minute winners, the FA Cup has it all.

The 2021 final pitted Leicester against Chelsea, in a mouth-watering clash. Prior to this fixture, Leicester had been to four FA Cup finals in their history, losing all of them.

In contrast, their opponents Chelsea had won the tournament eight times in their history, with most of them coming after Roman Abramovich acquired the club in 2003. Since his takeover, the Russian’s investment has transformed the London club into a successful club, whose financial muscle is well documented.

The final this year carried extra pressure, as it saw the return of 21,000 fans to Wembley, a comforting sight on the back of a difficult year with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The return of the fans had a major impact on the game, and the atmosphere was electric despite Wembley being well short of capacity.

A stunning 25-yard strike from Youri Tielemans in the second half sealed Leicester’s first ever FA Cup and reinforced their credentials as a top four side.

VAR threatened to mar the celebrations, as Chelsea’s goal in the dying moments was ruled out for a marginal offside, but the joy and emotions displayed by Leicester fans could have melted even the coldest of hearts.

This was a win for football.

Having been promoted to the Premier League in 2014, Leicester looked destined to drop back into the Championship in the 2014/2015 season but produced one of the greatest escapes in Premier League history.

The following season, Leicester stunned the footballing world once more, winning the Premier League title in unprecedented circumstances.

This thrusted Leicester into the unfamiliar territory of Champions League football, and the financial backing that it provided.

For the seasons following their brilliant achievement, the Srivaddhanaprabha family invested their finances wisely, allowing Leicester City to rival the infrastructure and facilities of any Premier League team.

Following the tragic loss of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter crash in 2018, his son, Aiyawatt became chairman. Since then, he has run the club in an identical manner to his late father, endearing himself to Leicester fans, and endearing Leicester as a club to neutral fans of the sport.

Many neutrals desired for Leicester to succeed, as recognition of the impact of Vichai and an appreciation of the correct way a football club should be run.

The foundations that the Srivaddhanaprabha family laid have allowed Leicester to perform consistently at a high level. The club has been able to attract top footballers, and continually develop its side.

Such has been the efficiency of their investment and the way the club is run, Leicester look set to finish this season with a top four finish, and silverware.

Match winner Youri Tielemans acknowledged the impact of the owners, stating: “We will give everything for this club and for those men that built this club and built this history and legacy.”