Does the Leicester City fairy story affect us…?
This time next year, Rodders, we’ll be top of the league.
I am utterly convinced that no Leicester players were even dreaming of this little fairy story twelve months ago, but here we are. Jamie Vardy is the brave Knight, slaying all defences in front of him, while a year ago, Leicester were hoping for only one wish; the same as our wish now.
Twenty years ago, we, like Leicester City today, were daring to dream. We were leading the charge towards a castle in the sky and it was awesome. Tino had just signed, albeit after duelling with a bus, and nothing could possibly go wrong.
Turns out it could, when the tenacious Sir Ferguson clawed his way back from the brink. Twenty years seems like a long time ago. I’m sure David Baddiel and Frank Skinner should have written a song about it, although in hindsight, maybe some things are best left in the past.
But how does the Leicester City fairy story affect us? Does it? I think maybe it does. And I can’t decide on which way to look at this. Either my tankard is half full, or it’s half empty.
I’m an optimist. When things go wrong, I like to think they can be made to go right. Lots of Newcastle United fans are, at heart, dreaming of that day when we begin our happy ever after. Leicester City have demonstrated that in this money and golden goose laden era, being organised and running a lot can be mixed with some pace and skill to create a very effective potion.
Even if they lose every game 10-0 between now and the end of the season, as they so surely will against us(*), they’ve had a great time. Europa League qualification has become Champion’s League maybe, and… champions of the Premier League? And if they can do it, perhaps we can. Squint a bit, think of the good times, and that could be us. Could it?
Of course, reality is different. Reality is a poor start to the season, signings flouncing like a spoilt princess and not enough goals. The reality is, these footballing fairy stories happen maybe every twenty years.
A little over two decades before our nearly year, there was the miracle of Derby County. But every generation isn’t much of a break in the clouds of the dominance held by the rich princes. It just isn’t very likely.
I think we all agree, it’ll need a few more pots of gold to make our dream come true. There have been some positive signs of what could be. Yet, despite our hopes, my worst fear is that Mike Ashley sees Leicester City and thinks he’s done enough to dream.
If we stay up and Leicester win the league, he might see the investment as complete…
‘Leicester City’s team didn’t cost much to put together and look at them go,’ he might ponder. ‘Why should ours cost so much? Here, Shteeve. Have some magic beans.’
So maybe, we’ll have to wait another five World Cups. Mind, if you’re going to the bar, I’ll have half a tankard of blind optimism, please, because mine is half empty.
*May or may not happen.
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