Leicester City can't teach Sunderland anything

Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy

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Saturday’s unexpected result at the Etihad, coupled with the more predictable one at the Sports Direct, have put Leicester City atop the Premier League.

The debate has begun and the motion is; could they be champions?

It isn’t much of a debate as the answer is a firm: "Of course not." They will do well to finish top eight.

But I wouldn't mind being wrong and do not begrudge them this transitory glory.

Fans are now a few days away from the futile but diverting topic of which opposition they would prefer in the FA Cup third round. There is similar chatter each summer before the fixture list is produced over the season’s opening game.

I always wish for Sunderland's first match to be away to Manchester United, Arsenal or some such. Get it out of the way.

So I was disappointed at the time to find that the season would start at the King Power Stadium.

I'm now glad about it; at least Sunderland don't have to return there this season.

How are Leicester doing it? They were all but down the U-bend in March, but have since lost just two of their last 22 games.

This has been achieved with two different managers with decent, but not wonderful careers, as well as a squad of players who have, individually, been solid but not especially eye-catching over the years; people like Kasper Schmeichel, Robert Huth, Danny Simpson, Wes Morgan, Marc Albrighton and Danny Drinkwater.


Can Sunderland learn anything from Leicester? Well, if we are to believe those who specialise in wisdom after the event, quite a lot.

The rise of Jamie Vardy, famously bought from then-non-league Fleetwood Town at the age of 25, proves that it's possible to find quality players from downstairs. However, "possible" is a very different adjective to "likely."

If Sam Allardyce were to attempt to solve Sunderland’s problems by signing a 25-year old (a teenager is a different matter) from Gateshead or Forest Green Rovers, I don't imagine that he would be voluminously praised for such a move because it is 99 percent probable that such a player would not be good enough.


Leicester were astute to sign Vardy. They weren't trying to recruit a dud. But then again, nobody ever does. The long list of no-hopers enlisted for varying fees in recent years by Sunderland, were all at least signed with the best intentions.

For Leicester to unearth Vardy, a player of such quality, from such obscurity and at that age, takes a big lump of good old jamminess.

Neither Leicester, nor Fleetwood, nor Vardy himself could possibly have known he would be this good. They correctly deduced that he could perform in the Championship, but I refuse to believe that they foresaw him becoming an international.

The notion that other clubs could "learn" from the Vardy story sounds rather like asking a scratchcard winner for the secret of his success.

This is before considering the unlikelihood of Schmeichel, Huth, Simpson etc doing this well. Leicester’s achievement is an improbable one, bordering on implausible; but there is nothing to learn from fairytales.

It might be argued that Leicester show of the importance of desire, belief, application, concentration and resolve. But a child of five knows the importance of desire, belief, application, concentration and resolve – and not signing bad players.

We hope that Leicester’s ascent can inspire Sunderland. What it can't do is teach them a damn thing.