The Bishop of Nottingham has joined figures from around the country in paying tribute to Claudio Ranieri after his club, Leicester City, were crowned Premier League Champions.
Bishop Patrick McKinney expressed his delight for Mr Ranieri, the Leicester team and the people of Leicester, an area covered within his diocese of Nottingham, in a tweet on Monday evening, following Tottenham Hotspurs’ 2-2 draw away to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
‘Delighted for Leicester City Football Club and for all their fans within the diocese. A wonderful ending to a surprising season. Thoroughly deserved!’ he wrote.
The bishop revealed to The Universe that he listened to the final moments of the game on the car radio as he returned from a parish engagement in Lincoln. “The score was 2-2, and it was a very tense time as I and my priest companions waited anxiously for the referee to blow the final whistle,” he said. “There was great relief in the car as the match finally ended and what we had been waiting for was officially announced: ‘Leicester City are the champions of the Premier League!’ He tweeted his message when he returned to the house.
Bishop McKinney, who was installed as Bishop of Nottingham, a diocese that covers the whole of the East Midlands, in 2015, said that it was a joy to see the club defy the odds. “I am a football fan and it has been so encouraging this season to see Leicester, a ‘smaller club’ and expected by the ‘experts’ and bookmakers to be relegated, do so well.”
The bishop applauded Mr Ranieri for his incredible management and the team for their phenomenal team spirit. “I have been so pleased to hear of the ‘togetherness’ of the players, working hard for each other, of how their manager used the promise of pizza to motivate his players, and to witness the charming, very professional and polite manner in which he has consistently conducted his press interviews throughout this season,” he said.
He said the people of Leicester could now celebrate the sporting achievements of their beloved city, as it was not only football where they were top of the class. “This achievement is a real tonic for the hard-working people of Leicester.
“Their football team are now champions, and ‘one of their own’, Mark Selby, has just won the World Snooker Championship. What a week it has been for them. I am truly delighted for them, as are so many of the laity and clergy of this diocese!”
Picture: Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri celebrates with his players. (Nigel French/EMPICS Sport).