At first glance, Lee "Chappy" Chapman's story is a sad one. In case you don't know, Lee "Chappy" Chapman – Chappers to you and I, Fabio Chapello to his closest friends – is Jamie Vardy's official, Twitter-verified, celebrity lookalike. The idea of a celebrity lookalike is hugely depressing in itself; the fact that we will shower a man in praise, fame and renown on account of an arbitrary genetic quirk suggests that humanity is essentially irredeemable in its wilful idiocy. Nonetheless, Lee "Chappy" Chapman is a celebrity lookalike, and he does his utmost to be the best damn lookalike he can be.
Before Jamie Vardy rose to prominence with Leicester, Lee "Chappy" Chapman was just a bloke who looked a bit like that Stocksbridge Park Steels player. He was a postman, in fact, and he was happy. A lifelong Leicester fan, he followed Vardy's career at the club from its very beginnings. He supported Vardy from the stands and – when his idol started to earn himself plaudits – the resemblance between the two men could no longer be ignored.
It probably started with someone down the pub saying: "Oi, Chappy, Chappers, Joan Chapdevila, you should start doing a Jamie Vardy lookalike bit mate! Stag dos, hen parties, Bar Mitzvahs, that sort of thing." Lee "Chappy" Chapman ran with the idea, and soon enough he was the one true Jamie Vardy lookalike; the man who was widely accepted to be an actual, proper doppelgänger for the Leicester star. Still, his life as a lookalike didn't truly begin until one fateful day in early May, just after Claudio Ranieri's men had been confirmed as Premier League champions.
Lee "Chappy" Chapman sprinted his post round that morning, so desperate was he to catch a glimpse of his heroes boarding the team bus outside the King Power Stadium. Before he got to the ground, he changed into full Leicester kit, even wrapping Vardy's trademark wrist guard around his arm. There he was, ready to wave off his heroes. Then, something amazing happened. He was spotted in the crowd, hauled up onto the bus by Ranieri himself, and promptly called an absolute full-kit wanker by the man he was meant to be impersonating.
Soul-destroying as this moment may have felt to an outside observer, Lee "Chappy" Chapman took it in his stride. His public standing grew exponentially from that moment onwards, with a national tour and even an appearance on Celebrity Big Brother – the holy grail of all arbitrary fame – mooted by the press. Lee "Chappy" Chapman was almost at the summit of lookalike celebrity and, bleak as it may have been for humanity, it was a dream for him.
Now, Jamie Vardy has destroyed all that. Now, Jamie Vardy has brought his lookalike low.
According to widespread reports, Vardy and his wife have blocked Chapman on Twitter and Instagram. In this very modern tragedy, exclusion on social media is the deadliest of blows. The Sun report that Vardy's agent has gone as far as to text Lee "Chappy" Chapman, warning him of legal action if he damages Vardy's image or compromises his endorsement deals. It's unclear how anyone could damage the image of a bloke who once racially abused a Japanese man in a casino, but there we are.
Lee "Chappy" Chapman, a postie who has been blessed with the natural ability to look a bit like Jamie Vardy, has now been cruelly scorned by the very man he resembles. Lee "Chappy" Chapman, who has supported Leicester since boyhood, has now been abandoned by the footballer he idolises most. Every time Lee looks in the mirror, he will see Vardy's sneering face staring back at him. Every time he catches a glimpse of his own reflection, he will be reminded that his hero has banned him from looking at his Instagram holiday snaps. This is the cross that Lee "Chappy" Chapman must bear.
While it might seem that Lee "Chappy" Chapman's story ends here, there is, in fact, a hint of redemption in this sorry tale. Jamie Vardy may have forsaken his doppelgänger, but the public have taken him to their hearts. In response to Vardy's mean and unedifying behaviour, the #MardyVardy hashtag has started trending. People simply will not stand for Jamie Vardy's tyrannous use of social media, and are now taking the opportunity to lay into him en masse.
Lee "Chappy" Chapman may have reached a personal nadir in his life as a lookalike, but he has found absolution in the arms of a sympathetic multitude. Jamie Vardy has attempted to cast him down, but Lee "Chappy" Chapman has been lifted up on the wings of the people's will. Perhaps he can now find some closure to his incredibly brief period of celebrity. So, at last, he can leave his life as a Jamie Vardy lookalike behind, concentrate on being a better man and, more importantly, a better postie.