Last week, the football world provided us with yet another example of short-termism. Claudio Ranieri was sacked as manager of Leicester City, less than a year after winning the Premier League.
Of course, no manager is safe these days but Ranieri achieved the impossible dream with a team bookies rated as 5000-1 to win the league at the start of the 2015/2016 season. He pulled off a miracle, there is no other way to describe it.
The challenge for Claudio Ranieri was that by far exceeding expectations, the benchmark for measuring his performance changed. The board clearly judged the poor run of form in the league this season within the context of being Champions last season. The fact that Ranieri had taken over a team that narrowly escaped relegation the year prior to winning the league must have been considered irrelevant.
Ranieri sent a heartfelt goodbye message of love to his supporters. “You took me into your hearts from day one and loved me. I love you too”. Claudio must be reminded of the much quoted Tennyson line ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all’. The Andrea Bocelli moment with Leicester City lifting the Premier League actually happened. Claudio, your dream may have died, but you lived the dream and made football special again. For all football fans!
As for the Leicester City board and making decisions for the good of the club, every decision can always be rationalised. One can argue that replacing Ranieri may provide the new manager bounce that is needed to arrest Leicester City’s decline in the league. It then begs the question is a track record just meaningless? How short term has the world become in terms of viewing performance? Does Claudio’s success the previous season and the fact they are still fighting in the Champions league count for nothing?
Above all, the one thing that stands out for me is the lack of class shown by the Leicester City board in terms of how they made their decision. The “unwavering support” the board promised two weeks earlier was not support. It was just words. Claudio Ranieri deserved more from the club he put on the map.
Tonight, I think most football fans will be cheering on Liverpool when they take on the sly foxes!