Sunday, February 26, 2017
You don’t need long knives to put down a Fox
When a fellow Leicester fan remarked as we lined the streets to watch our heroes pass with the Premiership trophy: “can you imagine anything better than this?” there was a universal shaking of heads. But I had one further scenario in mind. If I could perhaps, don the mascot suit and run out with the team for the first home game of the following season, that would probably, I had to admit, put the topping on the pizza. this fittingly poignant one created by Telegraph cartoonist Matt Pritchet. The one where a club official brought a vet to the stadium and told him: “We’d like to have the team’s mascot put down.” And they might as well have done, as most of Fleet Street seemed to recognise with equally-fitting attacks on the club’s Thai owners for managing to turn football’s greatest fairytale into a sordid and sorry soap opera of back-stabbing and deceit. Like most of Matt’s cartoons, it said in a picture what many columnists would take an inside-back dps to do: you might as well kill the mascot, they’ve already killed the spirit of the club. How reassuring then to see fellow Italian Jose Mourino wear the initials CR on his chest at a press conference the following day. He may have been echoing what the Milan-based daily Gazzetta dello Sport described with their splash: Inglesi Ingrati (ungrateful English). Or he may just have been giving us a subtle lesson in the sort of humility, good grace and sense of fair play few involved in this sorry affair, if not the current game, would understand. What do I mean? Semplice: A season earlier, the same thing had happened to him when he was sacked by Chelsea only a few months after having won them Premiership title. And he isisted that, while it was “a giant negative” in his career – “I realise it was peanuts to what happened with Claudio”. And which was the game that cold December day that sealed his fate? Only an embarassing 2-1 defeat at the hands of Ranieri’s Leicester City.