Fantastic Flying Foxes dare to dream the impossible dream

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

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It’s not every day I start a Blog with a picture of a table. But this is no ordinary table. Firstly it’s a League table rather than a piece of furniture. And secondly it portrays an extraordinary story. Almost an impossible one, in fact.

Look at the name alongside the number one position. ‘Leicester’ is UK football team Leicester City Football Club, owned by an offshoot of Thai travel retailer King Power International Group (Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is the club’s Chairman and Senior Executive Vice President Susan Whelan, pictured below, its CEO). The table in question is that of the English Premiership League.

As regular readers of this Blog will know, Leicester are known affectionately as ‘the Foxes’. In the 2014/15 seasons these foxes ran like they were being chased by a pack of rabid, starving hounds over their last nine games, winning seven and drawing one, miraculously escaping the relegation that had seemed certain all season.

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This season has been a startlingly different story. At this point last year the Foxes were still running a dismal last out of 20 teams in the league. How they stayed up still defies belief – we dubbed it the greatest escape since Steve McQueen was on a motor bike. But not half as much as this season’s performance does. With just seven games left, the flying Foxes are in first place, top of the pile ahead of the big money leviathans, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.

In December we named Susan Whelan as one of The Moodie Report’s People of the Year for her monumental dual achievement in holding down one of travel retail’s most senior retail roles as well as being one of the very few female bosses in the male-dominated world of football. And one of the best, regardless of gender. As we noted at the time: “That’s what we call multi-tasking on a grand level. Heck, get her to play upfront with Leicester’s goal machine Jamie Vardy and she’d probably outscore him. She’s top of the league in every sense.”

But even the Foxes’ most diehard fans (among which The Moodie Report certainly counts) can barely have dared to dream that the team would still sit at the top of the mountain come the finishing stretch to the season.

Could this team of supposed journeymen, discounted buys and late developers really head off the mighty, multi-million Pound talent pools of its nearest rivals? It is being talked about as one of, perhaps the, greatest team sporting achievements of all time. Arguably the greatest upset since David got the better of Goliath. Leicester has become the team that everyone (other than fans of the other serious contenders) wants to win the League.

“They are on the edge of sporting immortality,” wrote former Foxes and England star turned TV pundit Gary Lineker. “I don’t think I have ever wanted something to happen more in sport in my entire life.”

We’re with Gary. So are a lot of people. There’s a book planned, a possible movie. And that’s whatever happens in the final few matches. If these fantastic flying Foxes win, not only will the city of Leicester go mad but so will the whole football world. Mad with joy, mad with the euphoric realisation that sometimes dreams – crazy, zany, wistful, fantastic, zillion-to-one, impossible dreams – really can come true. In a world turned so crazy for so many negative reasons, wouldn’t that be something?

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  • The Travel Retail industry roots for Leicester, history happening befofre our eyes, Susan already is the football world’s “first lady”; Kingpower excels in Bangkok Airport and the Premier League and, to top it all of, the team have an Austrian left back in their line-up.. whose name translates “fox”!

  • Martin,

    When I was over (courtesy of yourselves and ARI) for the Home Nations (rugby), I was fortunate to see Leicester v Liverpool at King Power. Apart from the Stadium Tour and Hospitality of The Club, all of which was first rate, you could not help being enthralled as a football fan by the genuine passion surrounding The Club, their leadership and their committed fans. Vardy scored that wonder goal that evening, and I leant over to the three cheering women in front of me, and said “I came all the way from Las Vegas to see my beloved Liverpool, but that was UNBELIEVABLE”. The whole story is just that! I am glad to have seen a part of their historic season no matter where they finish! DARE TO DREAM and GO FOXES! YNWA.

  • As a lifelong Gooner I started this season thinking it was going to be our year (as I do every season). However, I am now fighting with my love of my team with my love of fairytale endings; as certainly The Foxes are now leading the hounds a merry dance

    Foxes or Gooners? The aged old question of head or heart….. or in this case heart or heart.

    Still can’t answer but in both cases I will celebrate.

  • Martin, the only thing you forgot is that the “dream” would come through also for the merit of an ITALIAN manager who was considered “boiled” already 5 years ago!!