Olly Ricketts plays Grinch as he provides a handful of examples to show why Foxes fans shouldn’t get too carried away with their side being top of the pile when the turkeys come out…
1) Manchester United, 1971/72
Ah, Brian Clough, destroyer of big clubs’ dreams. Ol’ Big ‘Ead’s Derby County side had been inconsistent in the first half of the season, finding themselves five points behind Frank O’Farrell’s star-studded Manchester United on Christmas Day. O’Farrell had taken over from the great Matt Busby in June 1971, with the transition initially appearing to be a smooth one as Best, Charlton & Co. sought a first league title since 1967.
However, a disastrous spell in the new year – which included a run of seven consecutive defeats – meant United ended the campaign down in eighth place, with Derby winning the title from under the nose of Don Revie and Leeds United on the final day of the season. Not that Clough ever went on about it or anything.
2) Swansea, 1981/82
It’s not entirely clear which was the bigger surprise on Christmas Day 1981: that John Toshack’s exciting Swansea side, just four years after labouring in the old Fourth Division, found themselves at the summit of the top-flight table, or that Bob Paisley’s Liverpool were in a scarcely believable 12th place.
Normal service was resumed soon after the festive season, however, as the Reds completed a remarkable comeback to win a 13th title as Swansea finished sixth. Liverpool’s Lazarus-like second half of the 1981/82 campaign suggests that supporters of Southampton, Stoke and even lowly Chelsea shouldn’t abandon all hope just yet.
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