Why Claudio Ranieri’s dismissal as Leicester City manager was not an anomaly
There is an uproar over Claudio Ranieri’s sacking as Leicester City manager, but it should not come as a huge surprise in the world of modern football.Updated: Feb 25, 2017 18:51 IST
“Yesterday my dream died.”
It was indeed the death of a glorious dream when Claudio Ranieri was sacked by Leicester City, just nine months after guiding the rank outsiders to a sensational Premier League title.
Leicester’s journey to league glory last season was possibly the most fascinating sporting fairytale of recent times and their Italian manager was at the centre of all the media buzz. But this season has not gone according to plan for Ranieri and the threat of relegation finally resulted in his highly controversial sacking by the club management on Thursday.
Ranieri told the media, “After the euphoria of last season and being crowned champions, all I dreamt of was staying with Leicester. Sadly this was not to be.”
Ideally, a feat like winning the Premier League should provide a level of job security for any manager. But this is modern football, and in this age of insane transfer money and ruthless competition, relegation is not something any club can afford. Leicester have not won a single Premier League game in 2017, and with just 21 points from 25 matches, they can become the first defending champions to be relegated in the Premier League era.
CASH TALKS IN TOP FLIGHT
The modern game has changed a lot with the arrival of cash-rich owners who are fixated on results and a look at the statistics show Ranieri’s sacking was not out of the norm.
According to statistics from the League Managers’ Association, a record 56 managers were sacked in 2015-16. Eleven Premier League managers were axed and there were 18 dismissals in the Championship — two short of the record high of 20 in 2014-15.
The average tenure of the 56 dismissed managers last season was a little over 15 months. It was the second lowest since 1992. The 11 Premier League bosses sacked had an average of two years and seven days in the job. In League One, where 14 managers lost their jobs, the average tenure was 354 days.
MARKET FORCES DICTATE
Considering these facts, the sacking of a 65-year-old Ranieri, who spent more than £80m in the transfer market and now faces relegation, is hardly a shocking affair in today’s market.
But the memories of last season are hard to erase that quickly for football fans all around the world, and as a result, popular sentiment among most fans was that Ranieri will be the best person to turn it around for Leicester.
However, the ‘Tinkerman’ has struggled to get his team composition right this season and his new buys have not worked out as well as he would have hoped. The revival of the 4-4-2 formation was one of the main reasons behind Leicester’s success last year, but Ranieri decided to make frequent changes to the strategy. The result was utter confusion on the field and a discontent among players who were unhappy with the team’s plight.
Like every dream, Ranieri’s run at Leicester too has come to an end. Although it was not the kind of ending the ‘Tinkerman’ deserved, it was not an anomaly in modern-day football.