Leicester City wining the Premier League isn’t a Cinderella story, but rather THE greatest Cinderella story of all time. Cinderella herself might be a fictional cartoon character that has since been elevated to the status of an urban myth, but what Leicester City have done is more of a fact turning the norm on its head.
You have probably heard it all before: how the club escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth, how they are a team of average players and rejects, how their manager is a journeyman coach with more misses than hits, and how their budget is so thin that it’s almost a compliment to call it a shoe-string. Yes, you probably went ‘wow’ and ‘oh’ when you heard all that but what you might not have been told is that Leicester’s success could as well be down to fate.
Fate not in the context of spirituality or predestination, but rather of how football sometimes predetermines itself to play out. With football, when the norm essentially becomes too much, it goes out of form. You can suggest whatever theories as to why these inexplicable feats occur but football likes spinning surprises to rebirth itself and strengthen its appeal.
This is why the average football fan is a sucker for the underdog story. Sooner or later, it was always going to happen that the top teams in the Premier League would connive to be so pathetic that a club outside their clique would come from nowhere to win the league. Yes, by the indiscriminate whims of football, it was always going to happen someday — maybe not just as soon as it has. For to try and justify Leicester’s success by what they did, and what others didn’t, is like trying to justify why Jamie Vardy has so far scored over 22 goals this season. Let’s face it, is he really that good?
Leicester as a team aren’t really that good either, just as Claudio Ranieri isn’t one of the better managers in the business. Thus, this feat of theirs is at best regarded as a fluke, albeit a fated one as decided by the madness of football. Like Denmark, Greece, Porto, Zambia, Montpelier, Iraq, Athletico Madrid… All these teams did the impossible because football probably thought it was time for someone to do so. I can’t explain how or why this happens, just like I can’t explain to you why and how the sun chose to rise in the east.
You can credit and applaud the Foxes till the next fifty years all you want, because it might probably take that long for anyone else to attempt a repeat of their feat, I have no issues with that. Just don’t tell me about their discipline, dedication, quality, and tenacity because they weren’t the only team in the league who had all that.
It’s humanity’s love affair to construct reason for done deeds, even when there’s no substantial reason behind the said done deeds. So, when you find pundits going all analytical to explain how and why Leicester won the league, you shouldn’t be surprised. It’s in our nature to over-analyse success, that’s why some of us like reading and writing
articles about the ’50 Things Successful People Do’ without asking if all successful people really do those things. Basically, trying to attach reason and justification to events is part and parcel of our makeup as humans.
But it’s futile to try and justify what Leicester has done, because they didn’t do anything no one else didn’t. Football wanted something different… Something that reminds us of its beautiful madness. No doubt Leicester positioned themselves to take advantage of the opportunity, and its credit to them that they never gave it up. In the end, what they achievement has done is solidify the idea that football is a crazy old game that is more art than science.
Follow Dhee Sylvester on Twitter – @DheeGenius