Written by Lee Clarke
May 2016 will forever go down as the period where East Midlands-based Leicester City restored each and every football fans faith in modern day football, with the Foxes defying the odds and securing the Premier League title ahead of big-spending Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.
Fast forward nine months and the Foxes have parted company with manager Claudio Ranieri, the man responsible for producing the brand of football that was so refreshing during the 2015/16 campaign.
The Italian boss had Leicester playing some of the best football in Europe. They were genuinely exciting to watch. A viewing of Ranieri’s men playing last season was a breath of fresh air, with the likes of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante pulling the strings for the team.
The manager himself was a joy to watch during his interviews, regularly conversing in what can only be described as ‘banter’ with the press guys. Ranieri came across as a truly humble chap, appreciative of the opportunity given to him by Leicester and respectful towards his opponents, as his team set about brushing teams aside at free will.
Admittedly things haven’t gone quite so swimmingly for Leicester this season, with the club currently just a point above the Premier League’s relegation zone. Let’s face it though; the Foxes were never in a million years going to replicate last season’s miracle achievement and that is, quite simply, a fact.
The first-team squad at the King Power Stadium should hang their heads in shame. Ever since many of them signed new, and more importantly, vastly improved deals their form has taken a turn for the worse.
The board thought it would be a good idea to hand the first-team squad brand new motors and in some cases six-figure salaries after their inspirational form of last season and naturally such deals have had a detriment on the fighting spirit inside the dressing room.
Watching Leicester against Sevilla in the Champions League on Wednesday night I just wanted someone to go and stick a hefty tackle straight onto Steven N’Zonzi in the middle of the park – just for someone to show an inkling of commitment to the cause out on the pitch.
Football as a game has gone and incidents such as the Ranieri debacle leave it in a sorry state as far as I am concerned.
Last season’s title win should have guaranteed the likeable ex-Chelsea manager a stay of execution until at least the end of the campaign, regardless of the club’s league position, even if they had slipped into the bottom three.
Ultimately the club have placed Ranieri’s head on the block because they have given their star men ridiculous contracts and they know that they won’t be able to pay them if they go down to the Championship and lose the massive payout which the television money gives them in the top flight.
It all smells a bit rotten and if the reports are accurate that suggested several players went to see the board regarding the manager’s future, then it further enhances my frustration at this whole escapade.
Leicester’s form has been poor but aside from N’Golo Kante who moved to Chelsea in the summer, this is the same team which created history last season and based on that alone Ranieri should have been given more time to revive the Foxes’ fortunes, given that he got so much out of the group during the last campaign.
Is this the right decision ultimately? Let us know in the comments below!