David and Goliath stories are a theme that tend to resonate with the general public (we all wanted Michael Jordan to succeed in Space Jam). However, with that being said, one ‘good triumphing over evil’ fairytale that just cannot be allowed to happen is Leicester City winning the Premier League title – although it already appears to be too late.
Now, before you pull out those pitchforks and send those 140 character obscenities to me…
…hear me out.
I’m struggling with the concept that, other than Foxes fans and every cliched pundit who utters the same tripe: “It’s refreshing…just what the league needed…everyone likes the underdog to do well”, there are people who genuinely want Leicester to win the biggest trophy in English football.
This isn’t an American rom-com. Jamie Vardy won’t be played by Ben Stiller and Claudio Ranieri’s stunt double won’t be Christine Taylor – side note: anyone else feeling old that Dodgeball was released 12 years ago?!
Anyway, I digress.
No one in their right neutral mind wants to see Jamie Vardy standing there with a Premier League medal in one hand and a blue WKD in the other, surely?
That would be a hugely damaging and concerning situation for the Premier League, for Leicester’s success would only highlight the continual decline of the league that is the (self-proclaimed) best in the world.
Cast your minds back to the 2008 FA Cup Final, when the ‘magic of the cup’ gave us a shower of sh$te final between Portsmouth and Cardiff City. That’s the problem when the underdogs succeed, you end up with a finale that is ‘watered down’, something that loses importance (no matter what the staged pre-match build-up suggests) and, ultimately, the whole spectacle diminishes in every aspect.
Do we want the Premier League to become a league where Danny Drinkwater is a league winner? Where a player deemed not good enough for relegation-threatened Aston Villa, Marc Albrighton, owning a winner’s medal? Or where Wes Morgan joins a list of centre-backs that includes: John Terry, Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand et al?
Or do we want the Mesut Ozils, the Sergio Agueros and Anthony Martials of this world demonstrating why they opted to join the top flight of English football?
You then have the matter of the Premier League’s Champions League spots. Will Leicester’s inclusion in the upper echelons of club football help strengthen England’s four qualification berths? Highly unlikely.
We’ve seen how long it has taken Manchester City to become a side that is more than just one making up the numbers in the Champions League. And we are talking about a squad that is the strongest in the Premier League, with an envy-inspiring spine composed of Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero.
For all their deserved plaudits – and I promise you, I do believe they deserve them – will Kasper Schmeichel, Wes Morgan, N’Golo Kante and Jamie Vardy really trouble the likes of Olympiakos, Marseille and Anderlecht let alone Juventus, Barcelona and Bayern Munich?
I sound like a right miserable b*stard, don’t I? Rhetorical question, guys and dolls. I already know the answer.
The footballing world will collectively laugh at the English Premier League should Leicester pull it off. Just imagine how we’d react if Eibar won La Liga or Carpi took home the Serie A title; you’d be turning to your fellow football fans and throwing out cliches along the lines of: ‘Remember when AC Milan and Inter were up there with the elite clubs?’, ’Such a shame to see Juventus’ fall from grace.’ or ‘what an earth has happened to Barcelona and Real?’
We all pretend we want it but we don’t, really. We don’t even expect it to happen either, so it’s just pleasant to pretend that we want the plucky underdog to go all the way. And the Premier League’s elite clubs can’t possibly allow Leicester City to win the title, no matter how good the Hollywood movie about the Foxes story may well end up being (Meryl Streep would play Ranieri).