Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore summed up Leicester City's astonishing title triumph yesterday by declaring the Foxes had "made mugs of all of us".
He was not wrong. The bookies are paying a heavy price for offering odds of 5,000-1 for Leicester to win the title, but the football pundits have also been left with egg on their faces.See related Leicester City: Premier League champions in picturesLeicester City: The Premier League champions in numbers
Unsurprisingly, Leicester fans and an army of Premier League armchair critics have been revelling in the schadenfreude. But it's easy to see why.
At the start of the season, the team were most pundits' pick for the drop. Ten of the Daily Mail's 17 football writers expected them to go down and not one predicted either them or Tottenham Hotspur making the top four.
Indeed, 15 of the panel predicted Chelsea would retain their title.
Even in January, the Mail remained unconvinced of the Foxes' pedigree. Although Leicester were top of the table at the time, the paper predicted a fourth-place finish.
"Europe beckons for next season and the rare riches that Champions League football bring should be headed for the Midlands," it said.
However, it would be wrong to single out any one set of experts. Over at The Guardian, ten of the paper's panel of 11 football writers expected Leicester to be relegated. Only Louise Taylor thought otherwise, saying: "Claudio Ranieri may just exceed expectations."
That was about as positive as the predictions got for the Italian boss and Taylor was one of very few people to think he would be anything other than a disaster.
Predicting a 17th place finish for Leicester, one place above the relegation spots, Robbie Savage of the Daily Mirror said the jury was out on the manager at the start of the season. He "hasn't pulled up any trees lately, and he will struggle to live down being the Greece manager who lost to the Faroe Islands," he said.
Appointing Ranieri could "only be described as a huge punt", said Alan Smith of the Daily Telegraph, who tipped the Foxes for the drop. Without Nigel Pearson in charge, they would "lose some of the energy, aggression and spirit that pulled them to safety", he forecast.
Replacing Pearson with Ranieri was "at best left field and at worst uninspiring and unwise", declared Phil McNulty of the BBC. "Time will tell - but this one does not quite sit right and it is to be hoped Leicester are not plunged back into the danger zone they occupied for so long last season."
His wishes came true, as the Foxes raced towards the title he felt was destined for Chelsea.
And in the spirit of full disclosure, it should be noted that The Week predicted Arsenal would win the title, with Chelsea second and Man United pushing hard in third.
However, not everyone was wide of the mark. FourFourTwo magazine refused to dismiss Ranieri as a mistake: "Leicester's largely settled squad features few egos and has a fearless instinct that always makes them dangerous. With the experienced Ranieri in charge, there's enough to suggest last season's attack-minded entertainers can keep things a little tighter at the other end to give themselves some breathing room."
Breathing room at the top of the table, presumably.
This news has been published by title Premier League Predictions: Telegraph Writers Select Their Bankers For The Season
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