It’s always good to see a great con trick in action. Take Boris Johnson: not really the lovable quick-witted scamp with a good line in Latin gags and a few problems in the trouser department, but a ruthless opportunist with a dreadful attitude to women and a strong line in extreme rudeness to visiting presidents. Not what he seems at all. I’m beginning to feel the same about Leicester City.
Wonderful story and all that: fairy-tale, Jamie Vardy, blah blah. Enough already. ‘Uncle’ Claudio Ranieri has brilliantly and charmingly pulled the wool over our eyes with his free -pizzas and ‘dingly-dong, dingly-dong’ stuff about waking up dozy players, all done in a comedy Italian accent straight out of a 1950s Sophia Loren flick. The reality is that Leicester are clearly the biggest bunch of lump-it-long, kick ’em high players since Billy Bremner’s Leeds circa 1972. And everybody knows it. They walloped a dismal Swansea at the weekend and at one point their powerful, speedy midfielder Jeffrey Schloop raced down the left, roared past a hapless Swansea defender and duly made the second goal. Up in the commentary box, they made the point that if any attacker had tried to do that to Leicester, central defenders Wes Morgan or Robert Huth would have made sure he ended up in Row Z.
As it is, Leicester will be the first team to take the title without one memorable performance — with the possible exception of their home victory over Liverpool, and that was really only a couple of good goals against a struggling side. It’s essentially a team put together by Nigel Pearson, one of the less likeable people to work in elite-level football: a triumph of brutality over the beautiful game, and just because it came cheap everyone swoons.