The dark side of football

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ROMY P. MARIÑAS

ROMY P. MARIÑAS

Everybody loves a winner.

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This can only be more true in the case of Leicester City FC, the shock winner of this year’s English Premier League.

At the start of the season, the odds against Leicester (pronounce it like you would Lester) was 5,000 to 1, apparently not surprising for a team that had not even been near the top of the Premier League in its 132-year history.

And 12 months ago, it faced relegation owing to abysmal results.

Topping that already woeful performance was a scandal that went viral shortly after it reportedly happened in May 2015.

Visiting Thailand, a sex orgy, which involved three Foxes (as members of Leicester FC are known) and a young Thai woman, took place in a local hotel.

A video of the encounter found its way to a London newspaper, which promptly exposed it, embarrassing the Thai owners of the football club no end.

Leicester City FC is owned by Thai billionaires Vichai and Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha.

According to reports, the bedroom romp surfaced the racist side of the three footballers—winger James Pearson, 22, striker Tom Hopper, 21, and goalkeeper Adam Smith, 22, with the local girl at the receiving end of it but of course.

The incident led to the sacking of Leicester manager Nigel Pearson, James’ father.

The older Pearson was replaced by an Italian, Claudio Ranieri, who had little to boast about in coaching jobs in his native country.

Everybody loves a winner.

Ranieri, 65, now has an open offer to coach the Italian national team that will compete in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The native of Rome’s rise to the top of the all-too English game of football was a heart-stopper.

On May 2, Leicester botched the chance to win the Premier League title outright, when it could only draw with Manchester United, 1-1.

But when Tottenham Spurs also tied with Chelsea, 2-2, the next day, the football world, if not the world itself, became the Foxes’ oyster.

Before this game, Leicester had led the Spurs by seven points with two matches to go, meaning the Foxes were already out of reach.

To seal the deal, Leicester did not disappoint in its final match, beating Everton, 3-1, with two of the goals scored off penalty kicks.

Everybody loves a winner.

Leicester’s landmark victory was celebrated in the whole of the UK and, not so surprisingly, in Thailand by locals who have come to embrace the Foxes as their own.

Was the Thai victim of sexual abuse and racism one of the revelers?

After all, Thailand is a football-mad country.

The odds that she was would be 1,000,000 to 1.

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