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Daniel Brigham

Leicester City and the Premier League bug (latest blog)

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The Championship is brilliant, Norwich are top of the table and everyone''s happy. So why is Daniel Brigham pining for the Premier League?Wildebeest

are not clever animals. When they’re chased by lions – which happens

rather a lot – and are lucky enough to escape from their claws and jaws,

they wait for a few minutes to hide out. To assess the situation. They

then amble straight back to where they were chased from, where the lions

have learnt to sit and wait for them, and get eaten.  Why,

after a terrifying, drawn-out chase across the African plains, do they

forget the horrors of what just happened and return to get torn apart? Because wildebeest are idiots.  Which

also makes me an idiot. Why, after the horrors of last season, when

Norwich were torn apart by Luis Suarez and mauled by Yaya Toure, do I

want us to blindly return to the Premier League?  After all, the

Championship has, so far, been great fun. We’ve already hit 20 goals.

It took us until March 2nd to reach that many last season (or a further

149 days). Only two sides in the entire top four divisions have scored

more than us. There have been comebacks, attacking football, and lots of

wins. There is also the welcome return of evening games, when the

atmosphere is that much sharper because, as everybody knows, everything

worth happening happens after nightfall.Everyone is happy (apart

from a few terrifying fans, froth spilling from their mouths and steam

from their ears, who saw the Shrewsbury and Charlton defeats as signs of

an impending apocalypse). Football’s good, life’s good and Saturday

evenings are no longer a Hughton-inspired refuge of bitterness,

melancholy and regret.  So why on earth would I – and I’m fairly

sure I’m not the only one – want Norwich to return to the scene of last

year’s horrors? Well, it’s Leicester City’s fault. Not

satisfied with taking Darren Eadie and his magical left foot away from

Carrow Road (and, no, 15 years hasn’t been enough time to get over it),

now they’ve gone and got me pining for a division that I spent nearly a

full year cowering away from like a man lost in the underwear department

of Debenhams.  When Leicester beat Manchester United 5-3 a

couple of weekends ago, it rudely interrupted my utopian view of the

Championship. The Premier League has featured some absurdly good matches

– Stan Collymore’s winner in Liverpool’s famous 4-3 win over Newcastle,

Tottenham’s fightback to draw 4-4 at Arsenal, United coming back from

3-0 down to slay Spurs 5-3, Manchester City’s two late goals over QPR to

clinch the Premier League title – but all of those games were missing

one main ingredient, and the one that means the most to fans of clubs

the size of Norwich: giantkilling. Like Norwich, Leicester are

probably destined to spend the next 10 to 15 years drifting between the

Championship and the Premier League. Our grounds are of a similar

capacity. The fan base is comparable. Our trophy cabinets are both on

the petit, Paul McVeigh size. So there was a feeling of kinship while

watching them come back from 3-1 down to beat one of the world’s most

famous sides. As Jamie Vardy terrorised the United defence like a

slimline Grant Holt, as each goal went in and the noise levels

increased, it soon became clear that this wasn’t just a bit of romance

cutting through the heavy cynicism of the Premier League, this was

full-on football Kama Sutra. Through all of the improbable

mayhem, it was impossible not to think ‘that could have been Norwich’.

It was also impossible not to think that, despite the horrors of being

torn apart last season, there is nothing greater in English football for

a club of our stature than competing with the likes of Manchester

United and, occasionally, embarrassing them. Banging in goals against

Blackburn and Brentford and coming back from 2-0 down to beat Cardiff is

undoubtedly brilliant – and has put a smile on everyone’s faces – but

it still doesn’t compete with the occasional giantkilling in the Premier

League. If we do bounce straight back – and if we continue to

be sloppy at the back then it will remain an if – then a year in the

Championship will have brought long-term benefits.  Like visiting a

therapist to talk through the horrors of last year, this season will

hopefully go down in history as the one that established a sense of

continuity about the club, based around managers who like to play

attacking football. It should also help Nathan Redmond grow into

a player of real substance, and his performances in the last few weeks

have made me, for the first time, happy to see someone defect to the

right. It may also be the season that we finally beat Fulham, especially

if Chris Hughton is brought in to fix the problems at Craven Cottage

(which would be like trying to unblock a toilet by purging one’s bowels

into it). A season in the Championship might be exactly what

everyone – the fans, the players, the club – needed. As fun as it has so

far been, let’s hope it is temporary though. As Leicester City have

shown, football’s most memorable moments are made in the Premier League,

even if the lions are still lying in wait. Daniel Brigham is a freelance journalist. He tweets at @dan_brigham

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Great read. Completely agree on our comparison to Leicester. Look at Hughton''s first season at NCFC for example. It was a pretty boring season, where we were only 1 defeat to West Brom away from being relegated. But all i remember is that looping Pilkington header over De Gea

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Good blog.

I went to university in Leicester and spent a few evenings at Filbert Street. Fans on the neanderthal side but a decent bunch for the most part.

It''ll be a long time until we see a buccaneering 5-3 victory over a "big club" though. Even St. Paul couldn''t manage that.

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Well we got a 3-2 win at Citeh a couple of seasons ago which was probably just as impressive. But I agree that Man Utd result was a fantastic day for the Leicester fans. It will live long in their memories and the dream of doing that is one of the attractions of promotion. But I do wonder if Pearson would now happily swap the Man U and Burnley results around.



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Great blog again Daniel. It''s wonderful to be able to inject some levity now the fear has gone. If (when) we go back up, I hope we can ''give it a go'' (copyright P. Lambert esq.) & accept the fact we may fail. A happy yo-yo club is better than one doing drudgery, humiliation & hanging-on-for-grim-death every year.

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