A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about Leicester City and their incredible fall from grace this season. Champions last year to relegation fodder this campaign, the wheels had well and truly fallen off. Why had this happened? Was N’Golo Kante’s departure to Chelsea such a massive loss that it caused a side to implode?
Whatever the reasons are, Ranieri paid the ultimate price for the failure this season by getting the sack by the Leicester board of directors on Thursday evening. Taken from the club’s official statement, the club decided to part company with the Italian because “domestic results in the current campaign have placed the Club’s Premier League status under threat and the Board reluctantly feels that a change of leadership, while admittedly painful, is necessary in the Club’s greatest interest”.
News of the sacking broke quickly and spread fast, drawing significant criticism from many experts, ex-players and fans on social media, including Leicester legend and ex-player Gary Lineker, who admitted he “shed a tear” for the manager yesterday evening. How could this happen? some people asked, whilst others called it a “disgrace” and hoped the club would now go on to be relegated from the Premier League as a punishment for sacking the man who led them to an unlikely league title last year.
However, whilst the majority were outraged with the sacking, I was in support of it. Anyone who has watched Leicester in the last 6 weeks or so will tell you that the club under his management were heading to the Championship without a shadow of a doubt. Key players from last season’s campaign such as Mahrez, Morgan and Drinkwater have been nowhere near as influential in this season’s relegation battle as they were in their title push and Jamie Vardy regret turning down that Arsenal move every single day. There was no sign that the poor form was about to take a turn for the better and the owners had to make a decision; do they keep the faith with a man who has made himself a legend at the club, or do they sack him? Talk of Ranieri losing the dressing room after the defeat to Sevilla in the Champions League also didn’t help his cause – hardly a surprise when you see some players performances since Christmas. Regardless of how big a club Leicester are, their decline this season is staggering and is unforgivable.
As tough as it may have been, he’s gone. The threat of losing their Premier League status (and the money that comes with it) just one year after winning the championship was a risk the owners just couldn’t take.
Who comes in next? Talk of Mancini, de Boer and Hiddink have been mentioned, whilst other names such as Hull boss Marco Silva, Alan Pardew and a sensational return for “are you an ostrich” Nigel Pearson have also been mentioned.
An incredible 18 months for Leicester City are about to become even more interesting.
Dilly Ding Dilly Dong.