Tottenham fans fed up with Leicester fairytale as Prem title race hots up
Nearly everyone wants Leicester to win the Premier League.
Claudio Ranieri's fearless side are the neutrals' choice to pull off one of the biggest shocks in British sporting history, and fans from Cheltenham Town to Chelsea are rallying behind them. Even most Arsenal fans, who until a month ago were willing Leicester to slip-up, have joined the masses now that their own title challenge appears to have fallen flat.
Everyone except Tottenham, that is.
"In all the seasons in the history of English football, Leicester City had to walk into this one," says Martin Cloake, co-chair of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust.
Spurs were written off before the start of the season, condemned to another sixth-placed finish, but with seven matches remaining they're second: 10 points ahead of Manchester City.
But it's difficult to detract from the Foxes' fairytale. Ranieri's redemption after he was sacked as Greece manager for losing to the lowly Faroe Islands is something to behold.
"I can't bring myself to hate Leicester," says Jack Hussey, host of Spurs podcast, Rule The Roost. "But I hate the fact they're doing it this season, when we should be doing it -- when we are doing it! I hate the fact that our own fairytale is being overlooked."
In any other season, Spurs would be the romantic story. Mauricio Pochettino boasts a young, exciting squad with the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli leading the charge. The head coach has maximised his resources to create a likeable team that is far greater than the sum of its parts and led by two remarkable English talents in Kane and Alli.
Were it not for Leicester, who were still bottom of the league at this stage last season, Spurs would be David. Instead, they're Goliath. Cloake feels that Spurs' detractors and Leicester's supporters are trying to have it both ways.
"Either we're the big Tottenham bastards, threatening to wreck the Leicester dream," he says. "Or we're big-time Charlies with an over-inflated sense of our own importance, who haven't won the league for over 50 years."
While everyone else is reveling in the overthrowing of the established order, for Tottenham it could prove particularly galling to finish second to Leicester.
As runner-up to Manchester City, for example, Spurs could point to the winners' extraordinary resources but Leicester have no advantages -- financial or otherwise -- over Tottenham.
"It'd be worse to finish second to Leicester," says Spurs blogger Chris Miller. "With City, you can take the moral high ground. Look at their wage bill, look at their transfer fees. With Leicester, you can't do that. You just have to say they've done really well on a fairly limited budget. It's come from nowhere."
Hussey disagrees: "It's easy to say we're only disappointed because it's Leicester but that's a fallacy -- it's disappointing to finish second, regardless of who wins the league."
If this season does end with a bittersweet second-place finish, it would be the first time since the 1994-95 season Spurs have finished above rivals Arsenal and the first time in 35 years that a team has finished above the so-called "big five" [and Blackburn Rovers] but failed to win the title. But it's not their only chance to win a title.
"I think we've got more chance of challenging next season than Leicester have but that could easily turn out to be famous last words. I don't think Leicester are a one-season wonder but I think we've got firmer foundations. I'm confident about the long-term future," says Cloake.
Miller adds: "It would feel like an opportunity lost but it's not like we've been building to this year and it's our big chance. Actually this season has come out of the blue for us and we weren't expecting it. In a way, we're a Leicester too but we've come from a higher starting point.
"It still feels dreamlike that Leicester could win the league. It's bizarre. It's sort of lovely as well. To be honest, it's just nice to have a change."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.