Leicester City have just won the EPL. Meanwhile, diabetes, dementia and heart disease continue to rise.

The Foxes have made history!

You may have heard about the sensational, record breaking, unbelievable achievement and boilover of the Foxes’ incredible win in 2016.

The Foxes are of course Leicester City, the 2015/16 winners of the English Premier Division Football League (the famed EPL), the most watched football league in a mad crazy global football world.

At the beginning of the season of 38 matches per EPL team, Leicester City were zero chance to win anything, expressed by the bookies by way of unbackable 5000/1 odds (some did actually take these odds). They were up against the multi-billion dollar club balance sheets of the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City, plus fifteen other big name clubs.

Zero chance Leicester – not a hope.

After all, The Foxes had just missed relegation by a whisker during the prior season and their mission (according to everyone else) was to do their best to avoid relegation again in 2015/16.

But they achieved a sporting miracle, described by many as the greatest sporting achievement ever, anywhere – they won the EPL and did so convincingly and in style. It was not a fluke – it is an arduous season of 38 matches, half of which are played in front of fully hostile, away from home crowds.

The City of Leicester is a modest City of about 330,000 people and not noted for much beyond being the home of Sir David and Lord Richard Attenborough. Until… along came the Foxes!

Upon winning the 2015/16 EPL, the city of Leicester went quite crazy. It celebrated like you have never seen before. Even non-Fox follower locals went bonkers. The scenes had to be seen to be believed.

The euphoria eventually settled and everything was back to normal very soon thereafter.

So what exactly is normal?

  • Dementia is outstripping the ageing population numbers. Horrendous global costs are forecast to exceed one trillion dollars[1] This is what we call normal. By the way, and just as an aside, death by dementia or other similar related diseases has been surveyed as the most feared/ uncomfortable way of passing.

  • Diabetes is rampant and Leicester will have its share of the national amputees of more than 7,000 per annum in the UK alone.[2] Breathtaking, escalating, budget busting, economy crippling diabetes costs that are spiralling towards half a trillion dollars globally.[3] More sugar on the football ads please? And we don’t even question it because it has become so normal.

  • Our Education System is failing us, with massive disparities around the world. ADHD amongst children now exceeds 10% (in the USA)[4] and tens of millions of children will be leaving schools before they are ready for life ahead. Here the problem begins. Don’t worry about working out why – best just to medicate them; this has become ‘normal’.

  • Mental Health and particularly Depression will not change as a result of this wondrous sporting victory. In fact, it may increase if you backed the Spurs. They only came second, much to the heartbreak of their fans.

  • Heart disease is still the number one killer and judging by the season’s tension for the supporters, the excitement of this victory may have maimed a few more arteries. It has been ‘normal’ for heart disease to be the ‘top of the pops’ killer for nearly a century now.

  • The Supermarkets still peddle their poisonous wares of processed, carb-saturated foods laden with the triple play of grains, dairy and sugar, none of which are needed in a diet to promote healthy living. It is ‘normal’ because Supermarkets are not silly – they only stock what is normally consumed.

  • Alcohol and substance abuse, including medications, are still significant problems. The consequent social problems play loud in society. How did the city of Leicester cope with its “Celebrations?” It looked like a lot of grog was drunk during the ensuing days of victory. But it is ‘normal’ to get smashed when one wins.

  • There is little real joy in the suburbs. Relationships are stretched and divorces are the norm, whilst most relationships merely exist in a fog of mediocrity – at best. How did the relationships with the supporters of the other 18 EPL Teams fare during this post victory euphoric period?

  • Humanity is stuck in a way of existing that can best be described as “the living dead”; can that really be normal?

Barclays Bank, the sponsor of the EPL, did not renew its US $500 million three-year deal with the EPL that expired in 2016. Perhaps Barclays will redirect this generous sponsorship pool towards education, or at least to education about dementia… or at the very least to education about diabetes? Or maybe some sponsorship of healthy nutrition? That would not be normal but it would be great.

The US $ 7.5 billion three year TV Global Rights deal (anchored by Sky/ BT in the UK) will make the EPL the second largest global TV rights deal (after the NFL in the USA). This new deal is a stunning 70% increase over the prior EPL TV Rights deal.

To gain a shareholders’ return on that investment, what do we feel will anchor advertising income on those channels?

Do we consider either gambling, alcohol, sponsored products, sugar laden processed foods? That would be normal of course.

Or would we consider evolutionary education about wellbeing, nutrition, behaviour, relationships and communities? That of course would be abnormal.

The good burghers of Leicester will own the bragging rights to the coveted EPL Trophy for one year and they will feast out on this talking point in football and sporting records for a long time. But nothing has really changed in Leicester or elsewhere.

So what is Sporting achievement if it evolves nothing? Sport is hollow. Sporting victory is short-lived. It may even be counter evolutionary. After all, those other 18 EPL teams with all their supporters and all of the billion dollar investors are still crying into their beers. Sport separates humanity. Someone wins, someone loses – there is an energetic penalty with significant social costs.

Meanwhile the losing fans contemplate that “perhaps, just perhaps, Leicester’s record can be topped”. Football fans live in hope for their moment in the sun. Are they aware that winning is but a moment and the rays of sporting victory have no enduring warmth? The bet, the form guide, the animated discussion…none of these are about “the now”.

But no one is piecing together the many moving parts that contribute to a society that is far from harmonious, short of joy, generally not well and not really understanding that there are some very big philosophical questions to be asked and answered. Trillion dollar questions.

Right oh, let’s avoid the elephants in the room – until the next football season, Anyone for cricket?


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  • By Neil Gamble, Chairman & Director of Companies, Retired CEO

  • Photography: Rebecca UK, Photographer

    I am a tender and sensitive woman who is inspired by the playfulness of children and the beauty of nature. I love photographing people and capturing magical and joyful moments on my camera.