Tuesday 17 July 2018

Comment: Comparing EVERY single underdog to Leicester City is already ruining the fairy tale

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

If you are a sports fan who keeps abreast of news by reading stories, listening to the radio or watching pundits argue on TV, then Leicester's surge towards the Premier League title should worry you very, very much.

It isn't an understatement to say that an unlikely Leicester league win could be the worst thing to happen to sports commentary since a 19th century haymaker spawned 'a puncher's chance' or an improbable second half comeback created 'a game of two halves'.

You see, even though Claudio Ranieri's Foxes have yet to win the Premier League, they have increasingly been the subject of an infuriating cliché that has grown more and more prominent as they inch ever closer to glory.

Leicester's improbable season thankfully cannot be distilled down to one neat clichéable phrase, but instead, like the devil, it comes in many forms.

The Foxes' title challenge is built on maximising every ounce of the squad's ability, something that hasn't been lost on seemingly every pundit, fan, player or manager over the last few weeks.

Think of the amount of instances recently where you've heard a sports figure say something like Team X 'need to be like Leicester City' or Team Y 'can be the Leicester City' of whatever competition the team happens to be playing in.

You'll need a calculator, a log book and rough work paper to accurately tot up the number because the cliché has spread quicker than the Zika virus.

Emmanuel Petit and Brian Kerr both think the Republic of Ireland team can 'be like Leicester' at Euro 2016. Inexplicably, an England supporter told the BBC he wants their talent-laden squad to 'be like Leicester' too.

English rugby pundit Austin Healey, writing in the Telegraph, has compared the Sale Sharks to Claudio Ranieri's men.

Kerry hurling manager Ciaran Carey reckons that if Leicester can top the Premier League table, his outfit can stay in Division 1B.

Taken at face value, there is nothing wrong with these comments. A lot of these teams are underdogs that either are performing well or could certainly spring a surprise.

But the vessel these individuals have used for their analogies - *shudder* Leicester - makes for excruciating reading/listening when taken collectively.

The first time you heard it, you may have thought - 'huh, that team actually could be a bit like Leicester'.

But now that it has been said an infinite number of times, it would almost make you cheer vehemently for whoever the unlikely Premier League leaders are playing every weekend.

At first, you no doubt wanted Leicester to win the league. Riyad Mahrez's skill, Jamie Vardy's pace and Claudio Ranieri's charm have been brilliant to watch all year, but now that the prospect of the underdogs winning the league is very real, we need to seriously consider the implications.

Do we want underage managers imploring our children and our children's children to 'remember Leicester City' when they are woefully undersized against a team of mini-rugby behemoths or 15 points behind in a Division 7 Feile clash?

What about the amount of potential Sky Sports News split-screen comparisons whenever a relegation favourite strings together a few wins to start the season?

We might think we want a Leicester City title win right now, but our lives as sports fans will be irreparably damaged.

Would somebody please think of the clichés.

Online Editors

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