By Adam Joseph
The Leicester City fairytale is complete. Tottenham’s capitulation against former Champions Chelsea delivered the title to the Foxes on a silver platter. Not only that, it gave it to them with games to spare. The final insult.
There are plenty of ways to perceive the midlands miracle. It is the ultimate underdog story, the tale of a five thousand to one outside winning the title. There simply is no comparison. There’s every chance we’ll never see it happen again in our lifetimes.
Something perhaps not considered due to the incredible story that it is, is how this achievement reflects on the supposed elites of the Premier League. Or more specifically, how it reflects on England’s most successful and financially powerful clubs; Manchester United.
It is embarrassing that amidst such a poor season for so many English teams, United have barely stayed in touch with the chasing pack. They will be lucky to finish in the top four, and will require Arsenal to beat Manchester City this weekend to do so.
That also requires United to win their remaining three fixtures, which they are no guarantee to do so. They face Norwich away, a team who beat them at Old Trafford. Then they travel to West Ham, which is a very difficult task.
This is made all the more difficult due to the fact that it will be the Hammers last game at the Boleyn Ground, meaning there will be a lot of motivation and emotion on hand. Combine that with United’s dismal away record, and it’s a recipe for trouble.
Bournemouth also await on the final day, another team who defeated Manchester United this season. So whilst Manchester City could very well lose this weekend, it could end up meaning little if United can’t take care of their own business.
Ahead of them though the Foxes have the title won, and have two more games to relish and bask amongst. They’ll be afforded a guard of honour at Stamford Bridge where Claudio Ranieri was sacked by Roman Abramovich more than a decade ago.
Among their squad contains former United youth teamers such as Danny Simpson and Danny Drinkwater have played leading roles in the Foxes’ incredible campaign, whilst former United products Tom Lawrence, Ritchie De Laet, Matty James and Jack Barmby all remain in some capacity at the King Power Stadium.
United’s future with their current youth remains bright, but it has to be wondered how teams like Leicester City and even Tottenham have overtaken them on the found thanks to United’s relentless business pursuits.
How can the club’s focus been so on off field matters that they allowed this to happen? The endless pursuit of money and financial endeavours such as any sponsorship possible have cost them dearly.
This season was an opportunity for teams like Arsenal to take their chance in a year of transition for so many teams. That includes United too. Better preparation in the transfer market would have provided a deeper and higher quality squad, and therefore this season could have gone vastly differently.
Now they are left to bore the fruits of their labour. They head into an uneasy summer, with no current guarantee on a new manager’s future, or whether Louis Van Gaal will continue to lead the club. How fans will take this news, remains to be seen.
Approaching this weekend’s fixture in a way sums up their future going forward, with zero certainty around what will happen.
The scariest part of Leicester’s title win is the confidence it will bring to the rest of the Premier League’s underdogs going forward. Nobody will be afraid anymore, which might mean United’s failures only grow greater as they slip further into the chasing pack.
Adam Joseph is a freelance writer from Melbourne, Australia. Manchester United fan from back when they were the only team on Australian TV and it was love at first sight. Manchester United, Oklahoma City Thunder, New England Patriots and Carlton Blues fanatic. If it’s sport related, I’ll talk about it.
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