By The Rex Factor
How could this possibly happen?
Do you think you have job security?
In this day and age, if Claudio Ranieri can’t even keep his job for the length of a pregnancy after winning the English Premier League as coach of a 5,000-to-1 shot, then how do any of the rest of us have a chance?
Leicester City became the most improbable champions in the history of soccer, if not of sport altogether, when capturing the 20-team English Premier League title in 2015-16. The Foxes played each team home and away and emerged as victors by 10 full points with a side that was sitting at the bottom of the table in March of 2015.
Italian coach Ranieri was brought in with one directive: keep the team in the league.
He did much, much better than that.
The Foxes were near the top of the league all season and took control at this time a year ago and were never seriously headed by Arsenal, Tottenham or any of the other usual powers in England. The Foxes did benefit from not having to worry about playing in Europe like some others did and were also not involved with the FA Cup, leaving them to focus solely on league fixtures.
Still, Ranieri and his castoffs were rousingly successful all season, winning the league title and earning a spot in this season’s Champions League.
Citing long term interests of the club, vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said “It was never our expectation that the extraordinary feats of last season should be replicated this season. Indeed, survival in the Premier League was our first and only target at the start of the campaign. But we are now faced with a fight to reach that objective and feel a change is necessary to maximize the opportunity presented by the final 13 games.
“This has been the most difficult decision we have had to make in nearly seven years since King Power took ownership of Leicester City. But we are duty-bound to put the Club’s long-term interests above all sense of personal sentiment, no matter how strong that might be.
“Claudio has brought outstanding qualities to his office. His skillful management, powers of motivation and measured approach have been reflective of the rich experience we always knew he would bring to Leicester City. His warmth, charm and charisma have helped transform perceptions of the Club and develop its profile on a global scale. We will forever be grateful to him for what he has helped us to achieve.”
The decision, to me, would be laughable if not embarrassing.
Leicester won a championship that will quite likely never happen again with the soccer landscape in England and Europe being what it is now – big money is supposed to trump everything. LCFC proved, with Ranieri calling the shots, that it didn’t have to be that way. Not only for one night, but for 38 glorious games and an entire season. Now, less than one year later, he’s been sacked despite the team not even being in the relegation zone.
Sure, the Foxes have struggled and are yet to register a goal in a league game this calendar year. But their effort in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at Sevilla in a round of 16 Champions League game should have been good enough to put the kibosh on trying to fire Ranieri for now. The away goal in Spain gives the English champions a chance to progress to the quarterfinals in the competition that Ranieri helped them qualify for by his work last season. To not allow him that chance to get them through is beyond unfair.
There should be a statue of this man at the King Power Stadium, and perhaps one day there will be.
But as of now, less than the term of one pregnancy after Andrea Bocelli serenaded his fans the day they celebrated winning the league title, he is unemployed.
If he’s not safe, then who is?