Pulse Blogger Dilly Ding, Dilly Dong, Ranieri’s gone

The fairy-tale that saw him lead Leicester football club to a premier league title with at 5000-1 odds, has come to an end.

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Ranieri Leicester

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And they lived happily never after. Claudio Ranieri became the fifth premier league managerial casualty of the 2016/2017 season.

The fairy-tale that saw him lead Leicester football club to a premier league title with at 5000-1 odds, has come to an end.

Sitting at the wrong end of the table with the very real threat of relegation looming, Ranieri has been sacrificed in the hope that there will be better times ahead for the club.

“Disgusting, “inexplicable” and “disloyal’ are just three of the words that illustrate the general sentiment at the decision by the Thai owners to part ways with the manager that delivered the ultimate fairy-tale ending to the club only nine months ago.

Popular with fans, press and fellow managers, the club’s decision to sack Ranieri has caused outrage in the football world.  This is the brutal face of modern football – results are everything. The Leicester Vice-chairman, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said that the club’s ‘long term interest has been put above personal sentiment.”

This statement lies at the heart of a relatively new trend in football. Managers are sacked and replaced with such frequency that it has almost ceased to shock. Financial considerations are paramount; the price of failure is so much costlier and the rise in global TV revenues creating an atmosphere of added pressure to succeed.

It’s no wonder that managerial contracts are hardly worth the paper that they’re written on. A further discussion would be needed on whether removing a manager as soon as results dip, translates to short and longer term success for their clubs.

The question now is: how is Leicester’s season so spectacularly coming undone? Ranieri is Fifa coach of the year, yet his former employers believe that he can no longer be trusted. If speculation is to be believed, he had lost control of the dressing room and the players were simply not playing for him anymore.

These are the very same players that enjoyed pizzas and the like with their manager last season. There can’t be only one reason for Leicester’s dip in form. Ranieri himself referred to human nature. To paraphrase an expression from the financial world, getting to the top is one thing but staying there is difficult. Perhaps after the adrenalin of winning the league against all odds, the players find it hard to maintain the same level of motivation.

Some sceptics have said that the flashy car gifts given to them for winning, and indeed success has turned their heads and they have lost the humility that helped them to defy all predictions and claim the premier league trophy. Coupled with the fact that other teams are better prepared to face them and know more what to expect than during last season, the fearlessness that they displayed has been eroded.

The prize for premier league success is the Champions League. The demanding schedule might also be playing a part in Leicester’s dip in form. Extra fixtures and increased travelling will impact on the players’ recovery time.

Bear with me, we are still examining the numerous reasons why Leicester are 17 in the premier league table, just a point above relegation zone. Major alert: no replacement for Ngolo Kanté. This ties in nicely with the fact that their defence is suspect and has been all season. Kanté the workhorse didn’t allow Robert Huth and Wes Morgan’s defensive frailties to be apparent.

If you’re leaking goals, it might be judicious to score some too. Leicester is yet to score a premier league goal in 2017 and Jamie Vardy is not converting much of anything. Mahrez isn’t either. Which of course leads to the fact that their home form has been very average with away form, abysmal. All these have contributed to the perfect storm that has led to the loss of a very experienced manager.

He’s in some good company: Di Matteo, Mancini, Ancelotti and Nigel Adkins to name but a few, have all been sacked following considerable club success. To determine whether removing a manager mid-season, incurring a payoff outflow for the club, disrupting players and attracting displeasure from fans turns out for the best in the long run, we would need a detailed study over at least five seasons, over hundreds of games.

It would be interesting to see the results. Not a few are convinced that managers nowadays simply do not get enough time to either turn things around or consolidate a club’s position before they are show out of the door.

Football has changed; all things evolve and mostly for the good. This alarming trend of sacking managers at the drop of a hat does not bode well for the Beautiful Game. If nothing else, there will soon be a scarcity of managers.

Some have done their parts I and II at one or more clubs and the managerial merry-go-round continues across all the leagues. Something needs to be done to bring some common sense to the business of relieving managers of their jobs. Success does not seem to contribute to job security. Should Chelsea win the premier league, Antonio Conte has every reason to fear for his job.

Written by Lande Abudu

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