By Jed Stone
The English Premier League is one of the best. Moreover, it is just about the most watched. Last year, 4.7 billion viewers around the world tuned in to watch the Premier League. If you were one of those viewers last year, then you probably suspected Leicester City would not be present in this year’s Premier League. As part of the unforgiving nature of the League, a chunk is cut each year. Out of 20 teams, the lowest three teams must bid farewell into one of several lower leagues plaguing England’s hungry but less talented soccer scene.
Leicester City was certainly at risk to drop out of the Premier League. However, the past is the past. Look at the Premier League standings today. At the top of chart sits Leicester City. They have accomplished what few have done. And come Sunday, they are in a position to clinch their title. What makes this story all the more fascinating are the hurdles they’ve jumped through in effort to make it this far. In particular, Jamie Vardy.
First, to set the stage, one must understand that the Premier League has no salary cap system in place. Essentially, this would allow the teams with most investors and money to run the league. However, money doesn’t always win championships (just ask the New York Yankees, Miami Heat, LA Lakers).
Jamie Vardy is a star to the soccer world. Yet he was signed for a true fraction of the cost most star players are signed for. And not just that, Jamie Vardy would have never been predicted to have been a star. He wasn’t brought up in the Barcelona Academy like Messi, or touted to be the one to change the game from an early age. Instead, Vardy struggled. He attempted to play for Sheffield when he was just 16, but was rejected. Thus he was relegated to a lower, unheard of league in which he had to work in a factory to actually pay the bills. At this point, he was hardly a professional soccer player. Finally, his talent broke out and three transfers (and $1.2 million) later he was on the Leicester City squad. He has broken records. His team is shocking the league, and maybe the world.
So what does this mean for the Premier League? Well, it means you can’t count a team out. But for me, I question the validity of the “drop” policy. In any given season, a team can perform terribly for a number of reasons. Maybe their top player(s) was out due to injury. It seems to me that perhaps it would be more fair to drop the last place team every year, and then only drop the other two teams if they are in the bottom three for two consecutive seasons. What if Leicester City just missed the cut last year and didn’t make it back to the privileged Premier League?
 Alexander Smith, “Leicester City’s Soccer Underdog Story Rivals ‘Miracle on Ice’”, NBC News, April 30, 2016, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/sports/leicester-city-s-soccer-underdog-story-rivals-miracle-ice-n564766”.