What is it about football that makes it so hard for us to hold our hands up when we are wrong? I’m a bloke who happily apologises/admits defeat/concedes when in the wrong in real life but when it comes to football, I will fight tooth and nail to be ‘right’.
It’s as ignorant as it is foolish.
So, I’m here today, to offer Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes fanbase & co, my sincere apologies after I wrote this earlier in the season; a piece titled ‘Leicester City Will Destroy The Premier League Forever’.
Bit dramatic, I know.
Gary Lineker had previously claimed that, should the Foxes lift the title in May, it will be one of the greatest achievements in team sport history – and you’d be hard-pressed to argue against him on that – with Leicester, almost inexplicably, turning from ‘favourites to be relegated’ to ‘favourites for the Premier League title’.
What disappoints me most about my previous attack on Leicester potentially winning the title is that my points were from such a ‘corporate’ point of view. They came from such a strictly business perspective thanks to what the football governing bodies have made the (once) beautiful game: a soulless amalgamation of branding, business and money with a hefty side order of unbelievable arrogance.
It really hit home that I’d been a major douche when fellow douche, US Sports executive, Charlie Stillitano’s, comments hit the media recently:
“Let’s call it the money pot created by soccer and the fandom around the world. Who has had more of an integral role, Manchester United or Leicester? It’s a wonderful, wonderful story – but you could see it from Manchester United’s point of view, too.
“Maybe that [Leicester being in the Champions League] is absolutely spectacular unless you are a Manchester United fan, Liverpool fan … or a Chelsea fan.
“I guess they don’t have a birthright to be in it every year but it’s the age-old argument: US sports franchises versus what they have in Europe. There are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful elements to relegation and promotion and there are good arguments for a closed system.”
Who the fuck are we to say that the Foxes don’t deserve to be involved?
Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea (barring their Munich heroics, of course) have been nothing short of a disgrace in club football’s elite competition in recent seasons. Furthermore, all the aforementioned clubs except Arsenal have been put to the sword by the Foxes at least once this season, so the Champions League would be bloody lucky to have ’em. If anything, the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona must be sick of drawing weak-minded and timid Arsenal and would welcome a fresh challenge of a fearless Leicester outfit.
I mentioned that it was ‘concerning’ that Leicester can potentially win the Premier League, but you know what’s more concerning? That Bayern Munich will win the Bundesliga for the next 50 years (minimum), and at a canter. It’s anything but concerning that the Foxes can be top dog in England, that West Ham are so close to a Champions League spot and that Chelsea were in a relegation battle for awhile. It’s bloody magnificent; it’s exciting and it’s because it all seemed so god damn unfathomable.
“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? “
I’m sure if you stuck a ‘dinho’ or an ‘o’ on the end of those names, I’d have no qualms with Danny Drinkwaterinho and Marc Albrightono winning the Premier League. It’s a weird, yet real issue, that a name deemed ‘exciting’ carries more credibility than your bog standard ‘Joe Bloggs’ (this is actually a genuine problem the blandly named Harry Kane is facing, but that’s for another day).
So, there we have it. Leicester City, you know what you have to do and I apologise for ever not wanting you to do it. Go and live that fairy tale.