Leicester City`s Premier League-winning success has been described by many as "a miracle", and even, "the greatest achievement ever". Former Leicester, Everton and England striker, Gary Lineker, said that he couldn`t "think of anything that surpasses it in sporting history". Similarly, Alan Shearer, who won the Premier League in 1995 with underdogs Blackburn, said, "For a team like Leicester to come and take the giants on with their wealth and experience - not only take them on but to beat them - I think it's the biggest thing to happen in football." Not unsurprisingly, fellow pundit, Robbie Savage, agreed, saying it was "the greatest achievement ever", one apparently never to be surpassed.
Don`t get me wrong. I was as delighted as the next person about Leicester`s success, but remarks like those above are simply nonsense. What pundits, such as these three from the BBC, and they are not alone, don`t like to admit is that they didn`t see it coming, and therefore, as they are experts, it must be, possibly the biggest sporting surprise ever. The fact is, "experts" should have seen it coming, and the only thing it proves is, they`re not "experts".
So used are they to the Premier League being won by the richest clubs, which buy the most expensive players, which pay the highest wages, which employ the largest squads, and which have the most experienced managers with proven track records, pundits and journalists lacked the expertise to foresee anything different. They didn`t look at the obvious facts! Well, it would require a little more effort, not to mention knowledge, than watching endless replays to show wrong split-second decisions by referees, wouldn`t it?
At the end of last season, Leicester were the form team, winning seven out of the last nine matches. Superb scouting had brought in exciting, ambitious new talent, and soon into this season, was to provide the club with one of the players of the year, Kante. The replacement of Pearson as manager with Ranieri should have been seen as, at least, likely to have a rejuvenating effect on a team already with a winning habit, whilst the sacking of players for off-field misdemeanors was only viewed as a club "in crisis", rather than having a likely significant effect on attitude and focus.
Furthermore, closer scrutiny of the supposedly "top" clubs would have revealed some very worrying facts: defensive back lines without pace, with tendencies to injuries, and with many players nearing their "sell by" dates, not to mention a few superstars clearly with thoughts either on 2016`s European finals, or on the possibility of becoming a "galactico" in La Liga. Tactics, too, had become far too reliant on possession, a la Arsenal and Barcelona, with too little thought given to pace, incisive passing, and accurate crossing. Preventing the other team from having the ball as a sole tactic wins few games!
So it`s "Well done, Leicester", but let`s get rid of the idea that it was a "miracle"; experts would have seen it coming!
Talking of experts, how similar are our television pundits and top Tories? Both concentrate only on the top one percent, both tend to ignore advice when it goes against their pre-conceived ideas, both advocate close scrutiny of adversaries (referees and Labour) but argue against any form of regulation of their own activities, and both get extremely angry when criticised!