By Carlos Ramos @carlosramos93
Picture the scenario. It’s ten games in to the English Premier League season and Leicester City are sixth in the table.
In that time, manager Claudio Ranieri’s side had scored 20 goals, and lost 17.
No prizes for guessing where the problems lay in this team.
The solution? The coach made a pledge: if they could keep a clean sheet, he would buy pizza for the players.
Fast forward to the following match at the King Power Stadium and Leicester beat Crystal Palace, one nil, with a goal from Jamie Vardy.
Ranieri kept his word and took the players to a pizza restaurant.
The place chosen was Peter´s Pizzeria and it is here that many would like to think Leicester’s miraculous charge to the summit of the premier division began.
In fact, Giamba Picciano Moss, the restaurant’s chef, is happy to play his part in the Leicester City fairy-tale and has become firm friends with his charismatic fellow countryman.
“We have friends in common,” explained Giamba. “When he (Ranieri) arrived here, in Leicester, I was introduced to him. I´m here for years, so I showed him some places in the city”.
The Italian chef, who is also a lecturer in Italian at Leicester University, not only spoke about his experiences with Ranieri and the players, but also showed us the Pizzeria that he co-owns and invited us to sample the food.
I didn´t follow the advice of the chef and eat Marguerita pizza like the one chosen by the players, but I had the joy of eating one of the best pizzas I ever had.
The chef also invited us to see the playroom, where the players hung out at the start of their evening. The room is big and friendly, with ping pong and other games.
The Foxes players also were happy with Giamba´s pizza, but the chef didn´t do everything by himself. The players had to prepare their own pizzas too.
“We, of course, put the toppings on, but they (players) had to prepare all the pasta together” said Giamba.” It was Ranieri´s team work idea and is a good lesson to teach”, said Giamba.
Giamba told me other teams have since done what Ranieri did late last year. “After Leicester FC, we had visits from the Leicester Riders, the championship winning basketball team, and the Leicester Tigers, the Rugby team that we hope will be champions like Leicester City.”
Giamba believes The Leicester family became strong after the pizza in Peter´s Pizzeria
Following their victory over Crystal Palace, they would keep another 14 clean sheets, no doubt leading other top teams to ask what the secret ingredient in Giamba’s pizza is.
At this time, he is not telling.
What we can say is that the successful story of Leicester started in pizza, and ended in pizza.
During their last home game of the season, the club gave free pizza and beer for the supporters.
An unforgettable year in Leicester, with some unforgettable pizza.