Leicester City, Campioni!



A fun blog of 'soft' philosophy about the life and times of a Westiepoo called Chester. Written as a prelude to a more serious novel raising the question: Who is the most bankrupt: the banker who won't whistle-blow or the chef who loses her livelihood?

Fifteen miles away, in my nearest city, is the King Power Stadium, where Leicester City play their home fixtures. Early this month, the team incredibly claimed the Barclays' Premier League: a story that has resonated worldwide as a 'David defeats Goliath' tale in the stupendous world of footballing pedigree and finance. Not, of course, that a little dog with a tail of my own understands football (or soccer as my North American friends might call it). No, the reason I mention is that wherever I walk there are blue and yellow flags, scarves and banners adorning homes, public buildings, people, and even dogs.

Take for example my local neighbourhood dog walking service, 'Fetch and Walk'. They are a reputable pet care business, helping owners to walk my companions in and around Market Harborough and surrounding villages. While our owners are at work, on holiday, or just on the odd day out, they take care of us pets. One of the firm's partners, Mrs. Mary, her husband, Mr. Blockley, and two boys are mad keen 'Foxes.' Foxes being the nickname of the Leicester City team, not the wild, frightening creatures who scavenge our streets at night searching for food. Now Mrs. Mary, like every Foxes fan is living ecstatically supporting the brand-new champions of English football, taking selfies wearing their replica kit and sipping champagne. They still have to keep pinching themselves that they've won, and their wild celebrations are contagious in uplifting all their customers who also feel wildly celebratory in this euphoric moment. Nobody, not least my master, Mr. A expected them actually to win it. He even had to apologise to Master J's football coaches, who are season ticket holders, for his doubt and lack of belief.

Digressing a little, Master J, who himself is an avid fan of the previous champions, Chelsea, was pleased that his team helped Leicester by defeating their Premiership rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Master J, like Mr. A, is a bit of a glory supporter. Chelsea, with their multi-million-pound squad, were unable to defend their title successfully and ended up as the Goliath, consigned to mid-table mediocrity.

Leicester City's achievements now provide enormous hope for Mr. A's team, Leeds United, who have now spent twelve years away from the Premier League. They've languished as low as the third tier of English football for some seasons and now reached the 'also-ran' status in the second tier. The Leeds team hasn't won the league since 1992. The 1991/92 season being the last before the creation of the Premier League, and consequently, according to Mr. A, they are the permanent champions of the ninety-two club football league! Mr. A's club's golden period was in the 1970's when, like Chelsea, they were hard to beat.

Moving onward, I can't help but feel that Mr. Raniero, Leicester's Italian manager, is a gentle genius and a generous man. He has a similarity to someone else I know: Grandad Smith. There is a striking resemblance of tone and humility in Mr. Raniero's facial expressions that Grandad Smith exhibits when he is here at home with me. Not only that, Grandad Smith often goes out with Mr. A, Master J and myself to play football.

In his octogenarian year, Grandad Smith might not have the speed and agility he once possessed, but he is not like most people who say, 'we have to win the league, we have to win the league.' Perhaps like Mr. Raniero, Grandad Smith would say, 'it's not relevant what the public or journalists think about the team or the players or the manager. What's imperative is to win the trust of your teammates and gain confidence. Do that and performances will improve, results will come and maybe eventually the team will win the league.' Which they just did: Leicester City, Campioni!!!.

Mr. Raniero, like Grandad Smith, is, therefore, a hero: a local hero.

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