Friday 23 February 2018

A disgraceful way to treat a miracle-worker

Claudio Ranieri. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Claudio Ranieri. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images Newsdesk Newsdesk

Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha said sacking Claudio Ranieri was a "painful decision". In reality, it was a ridiculous one - as short-sighted as it was hypocritical, as unfair as it was self-destructive.

The only thing Srivaddhanaprabha and his Thai buddies should have said to Ranieri on Thursday was 'thank you' - 'thank you for providing us with the most exciting season of our lives, and for reminding everyone else in football, that miracles, even in today's moneyed world, can still happen'.

Instead, what they have done has reminded us all of how poisonous the game has become. These are the same people who, because of their supposed high morals and principles, got rid of Nigel Pearson, Ranieri's predecessor, because of the misbehaviour of some young players - including his son - on an end-of-season trip to Thailand, even though Pearson did a magnificent job.

Read more: Long way to go

Then Ranieri came in and did a miraculous one, in spite of the fact his appointment didn't appeal to the majority of supporters.

We all loved last season, being eyewitnesses to a modern-day sporting fairytale, where the 5000/1 underdogs won the title with goals and style. And they did because of Ranieri, who got huge praise for the way he cajoled and motivated a group of journeyman pros, none of who had achieved anything of significance before.

And this is how they pay him back.

Read more: Rival bosses vent fury at sacking as Ranieri admits 'My dream died'

Irrespective of Leicester's position just above the relegation zone, this was an over-reaction. They may still go down but unlike other clubs who have been relegated in recent seasons - Aston Villa, especially - they'll be financially equipped to cope.

Historically, they're well used to hopping between the two divisions, having been relegated three times from the Premier League since its formation in 1992; and the money they will have pocketed from this year's Champions League run should offset the losses of Premier League riches for one season at least.

So, at the very least, Ranieri deserved to see out the season and at the very least, Leicester's owners should be taking a good look in the mirror.

They aren't the only ones. Leicester's players also need to examine themselves; too many haven't scrapped or shown the same desire this year as they did last season. Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, in particular, who got the bulk of the praise and glory last season, should always be thankful to their former manager for getting the best out of them.

The idea that some players whinged behind Ranieri's back to the club's CEO is disgraceful.

Then again, so was the decision to get rid of him.

Irish Independent

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