Small English city celebrates improbable soccer championship


Leicester City fans celebrate outside the stadium on May 3, 2016 in Leicester, England.


LEICESTER, England -- There's no stopping the party in Leicester, England, where the soccer team pulled off the biggest surprise in sports by winning the Premier League championship.

It was a Cinderella story, but as CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips says, this time the clock never struck midnight.

The players of Leicester City Soccer Club had been watching their closest rivals falter in a must-win game on TV. That's when they began their champions' dance, and they were still dancing Tuesday morning as the grateful town sang their praises.

The boys have become a worst-to-first story with overlays of David and Goliath; a team made up of other teams' rejects and late bloomers, their entire roster cost less than what big name teams spend on a single player.

A man cycles past an advert on a bus stop in Leicester, Britain April 21, 2016. REUTERS

They were so bad last year that they wound up dead-last in the standings. But then something strange, and maybe even mysterious happened.

He's a fifteenth century King of England whos... 02:51

Remember King Richard III, whose long-lost remains were discovered under a parking lot in the middle of Leicester? Remember how he was reburied with honors in Leicester's cathedral?

Richard may have died centuries before soccer was invented, but Leicester's winter of discontent ended there and then.

The team immediately went on a 7-for-9 winning streak, and haven't looked back since.

Diehard Leicester fan Darrell Brown thinks he knows why.

"We've got a king, and the king's just made it happen for us, hasn't he?" Darrell told CBS News.

Other fans who may have helped include Buddhist monks in Thailand, where the team's owner is from. They've been praying hard for wins. The Buddha too, it seems, is a Leicester City fan.

Thai Buddhist monk Phra Prommangkalachan, who had blessed Leicester City football players, looks on during a press conference at the Traimitr Withayaram Woraviharn Temple in Bangkok on May 3, 2016. LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images

And why not? In a modern world where sports is about big business and the highest bidder, a little team of no-hopers, from a little town that few had heard of, has beaten the big boys.

It's not a bad time to be from Leicester, says sociologist -- and fan -- John Williams.

"'Remember Leicester,' it'll stand for something, won't it?" he told CBS News. "'Doing a Leicester,' it'll become a verb."

This week, sports fans the world over -- and anyone else who loves an underdog story -- are doing the Leicester.