Skip to main content

One for all the underdogs LCFC

Sport, as they say, is the great leveller. Nothing else quite matches it to inspire, to lift, and to take us out of ourselves. In England today, perhaps the greatest sporting long-shot in living memory reached its spectacular conclusion. The path of bolters Leicester City to win  the English Premier League title is the stuff of legend, the kind of story parents yearn to tell their children. Is this something that can define a far larger moment?

Leicester have already become everyone's favourite second team. Even some Spurs fans have a soft spot for the former battlers from the Midlands.

as the usual big-money suspects - Manchester United and City, Chelsea, Arsenal - dropped out of contention as the season has progressed, Leicester kept ;ighting up stadiums across the country with an exhilarating combination of speed and directness.

As a result, we have all become Leicester City now.

The team itself is mostly made up of also rans and never weres. Few had heard of many of them before this season. Journeyman players, lesser league dwellers, reserve team, not-quite-theres and nondescript toilers like Vardy, Kante, Mahrez and Albrighton have become international stars, transfer wish list toppers, fantasy league favourites and major stars on the world game's biggest annual stage.

Around Christmas 2014, last season, Leicester City were flat out last in the EPL. The script seemed to be written: small team who had a decent season but can't afford to compete with the big boys drops out and more or less disappears back into the oblivion of the lower leagues. The EPL eats narratives like this for breakfast.

But an impossible rally last year saw them survive. Just. Their avoidance of the drop last season is considered by statisticians as the most dramatic season recovery in modern English football history. This season, with largely the same players, (but a new manager) something clicked and they can't stop winning.

Leicester's surge comes at a time when good news stories are hard to find. Right now, it is easy to assume a position of despair and to accept the world is without hope. With media outlets opting for bad news headlines and leaders finding value in fomenting fear and confusion, the positive power of sport becomes more important than it might be in pure objective terms.

This is why we are making Leicester City my hero right now. For those of us who search for hope amid the darkness, and believe in humanity in the face of plenty of evidence to the contrary, this is a moment worth holding on to.

Like other moments of inspiration, this is not perfect. There are no white hats that don't bear the grubby fingerprints of human folly, no solutions without compromise, no clean answers to anything. All light casts a shadow somewhere. Leicester City FC is no white knight.

But,  we can all appreciate a loser's tilt at victory. We can understand the net swish of a winning goal which gives a hopeless team the glory against its big name opponents. we get that the power of sport is that it tells a whole story, from start to finish, in the blink of an eye; a whole life, paraphrasing Blake, on a blade of grass.

Leicester City's flushed run to the finishing post gives me motivation. We can choose this event to define this time, this moment in space, because even as we become defined by ISIS and climate change ignorance, refugee crises and economic disparity, We need to know something exciting, fun, inspiring and good can happen.

Let that energy give me the reason to believe in a world that makes sense to me, that delivers gold.


Popular posts from this blog

Post-UNOSDP - Is the IOC fool's gold?

This is a longer version of an article published on
With the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace closed down by the global body, there is undoubtedly a void in this space in which many of us here work.
But, for all the high profile oomph the UNOSDP added to the world of sport for good, it’s passing need not be seen as devastating.
For one, the work the UNOSDP has already done in its 16 years of life has laid a platform for the development of sport for social justice. While many of us knew for years that sport had a wider purpose beyond mere business or entertainment, the UNOSDP has provided a base of credibility that may have otherwise taken much longer to establish.
While much of the work is, in many ways, still to be done, the UNOSDP has left a positive legacy on which we can all build.
More problematic is the shifting of the UNOSDP’s brief to the IOC.
Obliging the IOC to administer to the peace and development facets of modern sport raises three qu…

Statement on Funding for the Rohingya Football Club

We are very pleased to announce that The Kick Project has received a $AUD16,500 donation from the Australian Government to fund a pilot soccer program with Rohingya refugees in Malaysia. The funds, coming through the Australian High Commission in Malaysia, will allow the charity to support the Rohingya Football Club which has become a vital part of the exiled Rohingya community in Kuala Lumpur. The program entails kitting out the team, providing transport to games and establishing a sports and community hub where Rohingya people can access sporting equipment and coaching. Young people, and girls in particular, are the long term focus of the initiative. The Kick Project founder James Rose says the Rohingya are in dire need of assistance. "The UN has called the Rohingya arguably the most persecuted group in the world. They've been forced to flee their homelands in Myanmar, where they have been made stateless by government decree, and many have lost their lives as a result." As r…

Playing for Positives: How Pro Sport and Good Causes Can Work Together

Interesting read from The New Yorker on the authority and power invested in professional athletes, in relation to influencing the progress of social justice.

The focus here is on American sports, but the theme can be easily extended to other sports, worldwide.

It's perhaps no surprise perhaps that the rise of pro sports as a massive industry in its own right, with the parallel gains for individuals in money and celebrity terms, that more athletes don't speak out about important issues. There's clearly a lot at stake, and a lot to lose for those who step off the tightly managed corporate line running through most large sports organisations and clubs.

But, the fact that a large percentage of today's professional athletes come from simple backgrounds, if not from situations of outright poverty and/or abuse, begs the question of why don't more speak up about the circumstances that they escaped from and in which some of their peers in youth remain ensconced?

The Kick P…