Video - Are these the biggest shocks in sporting history?
WE MAY be less than a month away from the greatest sporting upset of all-time, with Leicester City closing in on Premier League title glory that not even their most deluded supporter could have predicted last summer.
The Leicester story is the ultimate tale of an underdog defying all sporting logic, with a movie certain to be made of this captivating tale whatever the outcome may be in the coming weeks.
It is a sporting odyssey that is putting these iconic shocks into the shade.
FOINAVON WINS THE GRAND NATIONAL - 1967
The scenes that led to an Irish winner at one of the most talked about Grand National’s in history are the stuff of sporting folklore, with the pile-up of horses paving the way for the 100/1 outsider to secure a place in racing history.
Jockey John Buckingham was well behind the leaders as he led Foinavon to the scene of devastation at the 23rd fence, giving him time to navigate a path around a chaotic scene that saw the rest of the field knocked out of contention.
Buckingham had a 30-length lead on his rivals as he headed into the final six fences to claim glory. Michael O’Hehir’s famous commentary added to the drama.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST WIN THE TITLE - 1978
Brian Clough’s achievement in lifting two European Cups with Forest helped to secure his legend, yet his one and only First Division title triumph with the midlands club was, arguably, even more impressive.
Promoted from the second tier of English football in unspectacular fashion in 1977, Forest were being tipped for relegation before the first ball of the campaign was kicked, but they quickly clicked into a winning groove and held on until the end under the guidance of their inspirational manager and his assistant Peter Taylor (above).
If Leicester are crowned as Premier League champions this season, Forest’s title win 38 years ago may be the closest comparison to their achievement, which included a 13 goals contribution from a certain Martin O’Neill.
BORIS BECKER WINS WIMBLEDON - 1985
A towering 17-year-old teenager from Germany named Boris transformed tennis when his booming serve and athletic frame took the sport to a new dimension as he became the youngest Grand Slam champion of all-time at Wimbledon.
Becker turned professional in 1984 and after playing just a handful of matches on the senior tennis tour, he pulled off a first title win at the Queen’s club in London and headed into Wimbledon a couple of weeks later as a dangerous floater in the draw.
Few believed this kid could pull off a miracle victory, but after nearly going out in the third round to Sweden’s Joakim Nystrom, he beat Kevin Curren in four sets to become an overnight sporting superstar.
VERONA WIN SERIE A TITLE - 1985
How did Verona win Italy’s top flight title back in 1985?
This was a triumph for a minnow over some of the true giants of world football, with Giovanni Trapattoni’s Juventus side among those left trailing in their wake as all of Italy celebrated the victory of a minnow against the establishment.
Coach Osvaldo Bagnoli claimed much of the credit for the triumph, while his Danish forward Preben Elkjaer led from the front with goals a series inspiring performances. Like Leicester, their flirtation with the top spot was dismissed a brief fantasy, but they saw it through to the end to be crowned as champions.
WIMBLEDON WIN THE FA CUP - 1988
While Sunday World columnist John Aldridge will never appreciate the ‘romance’ of Wimbledon beating his mighty Liverpool side in the 1988 FA Cup final, the magnitude of this triumph is still impossible to behold.
Unlikeable and, in truth, thoroughly ugly to watch, this was a rag-bag of a football team that bent the rules to triumph in what was then regarded as the most significant cup competition in world football.
Lawrie Sanchez’s goal and Aldridge’s second half missed penalty are etched into FA Cup history forever.
BUSTER DOUGLAS BEATS MIKE TYSON - 1990
It had got to the point where a world sporting audience were starting to lose interest in Tyson’s dominance of the heavyweight division, with his antics out of the boxing ring becoming more interesting that his invincible status inside the ropes ahead of a title defence in Japan.
James ‘Buster’ Douglas was a no-hoper who was tipped by many to leave the ring on a stretcher, if he was lucky.
Instead, the 42/1 outsider produced one of the great sporting shocks, knocking out an ill-prepared and complacent Tyson, who was never quite the same again after this defeat.
GREECE WIN EURO 2004
Great sporting upsets are not always pretty and that was certainly the story for Greece as they won the European championships as 150/1 outsiders 12 years ago.
Otto Rehhagel functional style was an entertainment killer, but the Greeks were the ultimate party poopers in Portugal as they beat the host nation - including a young Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks - in the first and last game of the tournament to triumph.
In many ways, this Greek win was a blow to the game for a brief period, with the blueprint for defensive football promoted by an increased majority of teams across Europe following this triumph.
MONTPELLIER DEFY THE ODDS IN FRANCE - 2012
It seemed as if French football was destined to be dominated by one club when Paris Saint-Germain were taken over by Qatari investors in the summer of 2011 and while that has proved to be the case now, there was still time for the most unlikely of upsets four years ago.
With the 13th highest budget in the French top flight and a host of unheralded players who rose to the challenge of taking on the big-hitters in Ligue 1, this is a tale that has much of the DNA associated with the Leicester story this season.
Olivier Giroud made his name in this Montpellier story as his 21 goals fuelled their title challenge, with coach Rene Girard hailed as the tactical master who made it all happen. This was a once in a lifetime moment for a club that have fallen back into the Ligue 1 pack in the years since.
ATLETICO MADRID CROWNED SPANISH CHAMPIONS - 2014
A little like Leicester in 2016, Atletico were expected to lose momentum in their high stakes La Liga battle with Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Beating the ‘old firm’ of Spanish football had seemed like an impossible dream for a club used to selling their best players each summer, but Diego Simeone’s Atletico were crowned as champions on the final day of the season after a dramatic 1-1 draw against Barcelona at the Nou Camp.
They came within seconds of adding a Champions League title to their record a few days later, only for a late Real Madrid comeback to deny them the ultimate glory.
RANK OUTSIDE BETS
Odds of 5000/1 tend to be a throwaway offering from bookies, with these ridiculous bets currently on offer at a much slimmer price than Leicester’s Premier League title odds last summer.
Podge and Rodge to be the next Late, Late Show hosts - 250/1
Ryan Tubridy is in charge of steering the RTE Friday night fest for now, but one cheeky bookie is offering these odds on him being replaced by these two lovable rogues.
Piers Morgan to become Arsenal manager - 500/1
Controversial TV presenter Morgan has long been Arsene Wenger’s most vocal critic in recent years, yet one cheeky book maker is currently offering these relatively slim odds on the Gunners fans being handed the chance to prove his worth in the dug-out.
Roy Keane to buy a holiday home in Saipan - 500/1
Mention the location of Saipan and only one man comes to mind after his infamous walk-out ahead of the 2002 World Cup finals, so maybe Keano would fancy a little villa to get away from it all with wife Thresa and the kids? After all, Saipan has some lovely golden sandy beaches.
Alex Ferguson to win Strictly Come Dancing - 1000/1
There is no evidence that the former Manchester United manager is about to become a reality TV star, but this improbable scenario was considered five times more likely than a Leicester title win last summer.
Barack Obama to be the next James Bond - 1000/1
The US President will have plenty of time on his hands when he leaves office next year and these odds on him succeeding Daniel Craig as 007 are currently available with one bookie.