Congratulations to Leicester City worthy champions of the Barclays Premier League; quite an incredible feat.
To those in the know it is painted as a hitherto unrivalled feat of triumph against all the odds; a real-life David vs Goliath in which David’s hand-made, bodge-job slingshot has pierced the expensively assembled, diamanté-clad armour of the petrodollar-backed Goliath. In short, for those of us who have witnessed the time-honoured domination of the footballing elite on a weekly basis, the scale of Leicester’s achievement is obvious, in that it was completely and utterly impossible. Until it wasn’t.
However, there will be those fans of other sports, disillusioned or just simply not interested in football, who will wonder what all the fuss is about. They will hear such phrases bandied about as ‘a footballing miracle’, ‘absolutely unthinkable’, and ‘the greatest achievement in the history of sport’ (thank you Robbie Savage), and will be more than a little bemused. One team beat the other teams, over the course of a number of games, at kicking the ball in the goal. What’s the big deal?
Well, for those of you in that position, here is a bit of context. Leicester City were 5000-1 with bookmakers to win the title back in August. These are just some of the things that were deemed to be more likely:
David Cameron becoming the next Aston Villa manager, despite not remembering whether it is them or West Ham that he supposedly supports (2500-1)
Elvis Presley still being alive, having been indisputably dead for 40 years (2000-1)
Kim Kardashian becoming president of America (also 2000-1)
Dean Gaffney winning an Oscar (with the alarmingly short odds of 1000-1)
Tyson Fury announcing that he is an atheist (750-1)
The Loch Ness Monster being discovered (very much an ongoing bet, for stupid people, at 500-1)
And finally, and perhaps most worryingly, boarding a plane with a drunken pilot (117-1)
Well there you have it. The last one on the list notwithstanding, as that is evidently pretty likely, all of these things are unequivocally impossible. At least let’s hope so. With that, should come some much needed context to make sense of the hyperbole, and explain the apparently nonsensical claims of football pundits that Leicester’s title charge is some kind of miracle. Seen in these terms, it really is exactly that.