2020 was the year bookmakers went out of business.
The beginning of the end can all be traced back to 14 November 2018, when Claudio Ranieri took the reigns at struggling Fulham.
Bookmakers cashed in on 5000/1 odds of Fulham winning the 2019/20 Premier League title, safe in the knowledge that Ranieri couldn’t possibly do it again.
Well, dear friends, we all know what happened next.
In the space of 18 months, Ranieri took Fulham from the bottom of the Premier League to the top of Mount Everest.
Obviously you haven’t forgotten Leicester MKII but, just in case the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables available post-Brexit has spun you out, allow us to jog your memory.
Ranieri’s immediate task was to halt the sinking ship.
There was only one man to call, and he just so happened to be out of a job.
On 19 November 2018, four days after getting the job, Ranieri announced Robert Huth as his first signing.
The Italian settled on a 4-4-2 formation, with Tom Cairney playing the role of Riyad Mahrez and Aboubakar Kamara in the role of Jamie Vardy.
To the fool who said lightening doesn’t strike twice, show them 11 goals in 19 Premier League appearances from AK47 to save Fulham from relegation.
With safety confirmed, Ranieri set about adding to his squad in the summer transfer window.
Christian Fuchs was signed on a free transfer to solve Fulham’s left-back problem, just as he had been four years earlier.
In desperate need of a runner in midfield- a clone of N’Golo Kante- Fulham cast their net far and wide.
But, after multiple rejections, Ranieri had to make do with what he had. Jean Michael Seri would have to do, despite his completely different attributes.
Fulham rumbled on. Ryan Sessegnon did his best Nathan Dyer impression, while Andre Schurrle was the picture of Mark Albrighton-esque consistency down Fulham’s right side.
Aleksandar Mitrovic scrapped and fought up top, with AK47 feeding off the scraps and Cairney providing the magic.
The louder the doubts grew, the harder Fulham dug in. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but it was effective.
With the title in touching distance, the squad gathered round Kevin McDonald’s house.
Man City, whose team was now a 1-11 of Silvas, slipped up and a Tony Pulis masterclass secured Southampton a gritty 1-0 win.
The title was secured. Unfortunately Alfie Mawson’s jaw was broken amidst the celebrations, with the club quick to deny rumours about a Mitrovic roundhouse kick.
Ranieri got on the phone to Andrea Bocelli, but he missed his call. Not a problem, as Fulham had a ready-made backup in place.
On the final day of the 2019/20 season, a packed Craven Cottage rocked out to the finest Michael Jackson impersonator in all the land.
It’s what Mohamed Al-Fayed would have wanted.
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