Monday 20 November 2017

Leicester have lost that loving feeling

Weird Wide World of Sport

Dave Devereux

Claudio Ranieri’s love affair with Leicester City is going through a turbulent period
Claudio Ranieri’s love affair with Leicester City is going through a turbulent period

Oh St. Valentine's Day, a time for feeling more brimful of affection than Jose Mourinho when he gazes at himself in the mirror and more amorous than Usain Bolt on a night out with the lovely ladies from the Brazilian beach volleyball squad.

In truth I've never been a big fan of this international day of love lark and always find a bit of spontaneous romance when it's least expected holds far more resonance than the contrived societal rules that have us all toeing the line (that's my story and I'm sticking to it, although the long-suffering missus might beg to differ).

A warm-hearted gesture in the cold depths of November or a smattering of affection in the height of summer can have the impact of a CJ Stander line break, rather than being a damp squib like a Monday night football game that has been afforded star billing, but ends up being the ultimate bore draw.

Anyway, a sardine-packed restaurant on the so-called most romantic evening of the year can be about as palatable as a Late, Late Show Valentine's special, when young buckos with a glint in their eyes illustrate to some lucky lass what a wonderful catch they are.

As Leicester City have found out the hard way, the course of true love doesn't always run smoothly and romance can sometimes be more of a tiring trek up the Himalayas than a whimsical walk in the park. It's all well and good being all smoochy and loved-up on a Hallmark holiday in the middle of February, but can you do it on a wet and windy Tuesday night in Stoke?

Players that gave everything for each other in a wonderful bromance last season, now look like a gang that had a whale of a time in the Mediterranean with the summer sun beating on their backs but don't have a word to say to each other now they're back in the real world.

Footballers that fought tooth and nail for each other to achieve a miracle are now like a bickering couple fighting over whether to have Spaghetti Bolognese or a good hearty Irish stew for the supper, before they sit in silence in front of the television.

The truth is after their unlikely Premier League success they suddenly went from shy schoolboys to believing they were great lotharios and are now trembling like the 40-year-old virgin at the thought of the promise of some long-awaited action.

To paraphrase or slightly distort possibly the most famous offering from late crooner, the smoother than a sheet of Andrex, Barry White, a true master of the love song to get you in the mood, they're gone from first to almost last and will have to give it everything if they have a burning desire to remain in the big league and swat away the unwanted stigma of going from champs to chumps in the space of a season.

So what can Leicester do to mend the broken hearts of a broken season and bring some Bridget Jones-style redemption before the credits roll?

Swansea City and Hull City have gone down the route of switching managers and have benefited greatly from fresh faces at the helm, but to hand Claudio Ranieri the divorce papers so soon after pulling off the impossible and winning the league would be cruel beyond belief, particularly with the not so small matter of knockout Champions League football still to be played at the King Power.

So what can they do? Maybe a nice weekend away at a spa retreat or a short break in the country to try to rekindle their passion and show them just why they fell so in love in the first place and remind them of all of the wonderful memories they magically weaved together.

Now excuse me, I've a romantic meal to prepare so it's time to dim the lights and dust off the old Best of Barry White CD.

Altogether now - 'I can't get enough of your love babe'.

Wexford People

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