Statistically speaking, very few of the people reading this are likely to be Leicester City fans. If we accept that the internet takes everything bad about real life and multiplies it by a factor of ten, then 63% of the people reading this are Liverpool fans, 75% are Arsenal fans, 109% are Manchester United fans, and ten of them are Mario Goetze’s face.
As such, you won’t be in the mood for anything new about just how remarkable a thing Leicester City—who went seven points clear at the top of the Premier League this weekend after beating Southampton—are in the process of doing. You’re not here for praise of Claudio Ranieri, or their absurdly well-drilled and well-structured defense, or the attack-dehydrating midfield of Kante-Drinkwater.
No. You’re here because you want to know how to cope with the fact that your team, your beautiful and all-powerful and all-conquering football club, are about to get beaten to the title by Leicester. Leicester. A city famous for orange cheese and Gary Lineker, a football club founded by noted choreographer Bob Fosse, maybe. A team put together for thruppence ha’penny, and managed by a bloke whose previous job ended when he lost to the Faroe Islands.
Well, you’re in luck. Here is the Official Diary Guide to Diminishing Leicester City’s Impending Achievement!
Option 1: They’ve had no competition from other, proper teams
When the second-best team in the country is Tottenham, does a title even count?
Option 2: The players are bellends
This option’s probably the best, being as it is both straightforward and morally righteous. From Jamie Vardy’s unpleasant approach to race relations to Danny Simpson’s conviction for domestic violence, via Robert Huth’s transphobia, there are important parts of this team that have been, not to put too fine a point on it, assholes.
There are interesting conversations to be had about separating a person’s moral character from their sporting achievements, and about whether a team can and should be defined by its lowest denominators, and whether football is so fundamentally broken on every conceivable moral level that caring about such things is like caring about a headcold in the middle of a blizzard.
We don’t pretend to have definitive answers to those questions. Luckily for us, you’re not looking for definitive answers; just some reason to hand-wave away the embarrassment that Leicester is inflicting on your better, bigger, shinier, richer team.
However, you only get to do this if you can be sure that, deep down, if these players—or some other, equivalently repulsive players—were doing this for your team, you wouldn’t be finding some convenient way of eliding, minimizing or straight-up ignoring everything in favor of the fairytale.
You can, right?
You’re sure you’re sure?
Okay then. We believe you.
Option 3: Well, you know. That thing. It was in the papers.
Been saying it all season. You know what we mean. From that bad to that good? That quickly? You’ve looked at the numbers. Some very interesting statistical shifts. And it was in the papers. Source was a bit dodgy, of course, but there it was. No smoke without fire and all that. If this was any other sport there’d be investigations. Football doesn’t even raise an eyebrow. They’re laughing at football, you know. The cycling fans and the athletics fans. Well, fan. They’re laughing. It’s just not credible. You wait and see. You know what we mean. That’s right. Dodgy. Very dodgy.
Option 4: Something about refereeing decisions
Don’t do this one. It’s boring.
Option 5: They give out handclappers at home games
Don’t do this one either. It’s even more boring. “Oh, stop doing fun wrong.” An overweening obsession with authenticity and properness doesn’t just make you look miserable, it leads inevitably to a deep, dark Toryism of the soul.
Option 6: Cling tightly to the thought that the world is likely to end well before anybody has time to place this title triumph within anything like its proper historical context, and that human consciousness will boil away into the void without anybody truly understanding just how embarrassing this all was for your stupid, stupid football team
The Diary recommends this option.