Send your impassioned thoughts to email@example.com.
Give it Giggseh
Good news for Giggs, a job he would consider taking has just opened up.
PS The last two Premier League winning managers have been sacked the following season.
Leicester fans backing the sack
It’s hard to know how to feel as a Leicester fan this morning. Months ago I wrote of our love for Claudio, and however bad it got it would always be his call. Over the past weeks my view had swayed. His sacking tonight has led to an outpouring of negativity towards the club. I’m not sure these people understand our club or what we’ve seen at close quarters over the past 3 months.
Let me say we have not competed (just competed) in a football game in a long time. Google our last 15 results, look at goals scored, look at goals conceded, look at shots, tackles, possession. Look at how many games were over by half time. This is a sustained downward spiral. Our fans can handle losing, we can handle lack of quality and we can handle relegation, we’ve seen it all before. What we can’t handle is lack of fight and hunger, we’ve always had that however low we’ve been. Having been at a number of games I can tell you that had gone. Spirit had gone, fight had gone and the team collective had gone. To coin that awful phrase, he had lost his dressing room. Our fans don’t need trophies or Europe, just a competitive football team. We cannot accept being relegated without a fight, 1 away goal sadly does not change that.
People say relegation shouldn’t matter, for us it means the near complete dismantling of our first XI, if that’s not the heart of the club what is? As heart wrenchingly tough as it is, the only way I could see this addressed is a new manager, with a clean slate, fresh ideas and new energy. There is little precedent for a manager staying to turn this around, there is plenty of precedent for new managers providing instant impact.
Most importantly of all let me say this. Claudio will never be forgotten. Last year will never be forgotten. Vardy, Mahrez, Kante, Andrea Bocelli, 7 May 16, never ever forgotten. Be assured nothing will ever change or taint that for us. Claudio will forever be with us at the King Power. Grazie Claudio. Bellissimo.
Wow. So we’ve gone from being everyone’s favourite second club to being a jumped up club with aspirations above our station. Ranieri going was the right call by the owners but they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. We are a point above the relegation zone and in free fall. The players don’t want to play for him and whilst a lot of them got big new contracts I don’t buy into the “gone soft” argument, the stats just don’t bear that out. Claudio’s tactics and selections have been confusing, I was in Seville Wednesday night and there was a collective groan when we saw Musa in for Grey.
So whilst the rest of you hate us for how we’ve treated our most successful manager of all time, the architect of sports greatest ever story etc, I’ll buy into the unsentimentally of our owners who don’t really give a sh*t and just want us to stay in the premier league, something that wouldn’t happen (and might not anyway) if Claudio stayed.
So thanks for the memories Claudio, you are a legend and I don’t doubt there will soon be a statue of you outside the KP, but we want to stay up.
Richard “if brighton go up and we go down, I’m leaving town” LCFC, Brighton
A few thoughts on Claudio and the circus at Leicester…
· I’ve written to this website many times before professing my love for Don Claudio. He is my hero and always will be. If it was my last day on earth and I had the choice, I would choose to have dinner with that man (I hope my wife doesn’t see this).
· People writing in to this mailbox saying we are ‘relegation fodder and always will be’/’who do we think we are’ can f*ck right off! We are entitled to aspire to more than that. Should Bournemouth have accepted their level is league 2? Should Lincoln accept that that their level is the FA Trophy? Should Arsenal give up on winning the league? I could go on, but the point is that ambition is what keeps fans going.
· Although I wouldn’t have made the same decision, I totally respect and trust our owners. They have worked wonders at this football club and they must have seen something that has caused them to act in this way. They stuck by Pearson for a long time when the easier decision was to sack him, then they let him go to much derision and hysteria. Look what happened next.
· After watching the Swansea game the other week, I became convinced that we were doomed. I suspect that this may still be the case, but literally anything could happen now.
· I’d love to see someone like Marco Silva come in as manager, but clearly that isn’t happening, so my next choice would be Mancini. I think he would bring in much needed discipline and pragmatism.
Fast forward a few decades, when the history books are written , legendary stories are spoken of in football folklore, in the same breath as Istanbul, the ’99 Treble , Leicester’s logic defying, odds smashing English Premier League Title Victory of 2016 will surely be right up there.
But.. It will be tainted by the footnote on their downright immoral sacking of the Manager who helped them get up there in the first place within 9 months.
In one single move, the powers that be at Leicester have tarnished all that was good, and moved the Fairy Tale into a Horror Story genre.
The opposite of love is not hate, but apathy they say.
Vinay (Leicester Who ?) Shetty
It was the right call
Can’t believe everyone is losing their collective sh*t over Ranieri’s sacking. Sure – feel sad for him, but to say it’s a travesty that he’s sacked is absurd. Leicester are 1 point above the relegation zone, playing rotten football, their best players (in fact pretty much all of their players) are playing awfully and looking like they plain couldn’t be arsed with this shit, and there is absolutely no indication from the manager that he knows how to turn it around.
What are the owners meant to do? Wait until they are mathematically relegated before pulling the trigger? Winning the league didn’t raise the expectations…if Leicester had finished 16th last season and were where they are now, there would be talk of Ranieri’s sacking. He’s clearly lost the players, they’re not trying for him, so the manager has to go, simples.
Is Ranieri’s sacking really a surprise?
They’re clinging to safety. They’ve won five league games all season. They’re, on recent form, the worst team in the division. They haven’t scored a league goal since New Years Eve and were eliminated from the FA Cup by a Championship side. They haven’t looked like anything other than relegation candidates for months.
If last season’s lunacy hadn’t occurred, no one would bat an eyelid that a club in as perilous a place as Leicester had decided to part ways with their manager.
Letting sentiment rule over common sense might’ve ended up costing them hundreds of millions of pounds.
Looking at the situation dispassionately, what other choice was there? Wait it out, get relegated and sack him with his failure complete? Wait it out, barely survive and sack him? The latter sounds cheerier, no doubt, but the former looks the more likely. The numbers, the horrific away form and the football they’re playing doesn’t lie.
He engineered the most preposterous triumph in modern sporting history, but even that doesn’t excuse the debacle he’s presided over this season.
I’m certain you’ll get a HUGE amount of reaction to Claudio’s sacking, but I thought I’d add my two pence worth – mainly because it seems to be against the prevailing opinion…
Ranieri masterminded the unthinkable last season, and it was fantastic. He took a side that had no right to win to the top of the premier league, and made everyone else look like fools in the process. So far, so good. However, his record this season has not been up to scratch, and this is where the problems start. Yes, he has undoubtedly lost one of the best central midfielders playing the game at the moment, and OF COURSE that is going to have a negative impact. But, he spent c. £70m on players – Slimani, Mendy, Musa, Ndidi – as well as a couple of loans. No-one was expecting him to win the league again, but given that he proved the previous squad to cut it against the big boys, it’s not unreasonable to expect that they would be comfortably mid-table this season. They’re currently hovering above the relegation zone by a point, haven’t won in the league in the last calendar year, and are out of both domestic cups – and barely clinging on in the Champions League. It does not make pretty reading.
As far as goodwill goes, I will be very sad to see the man who engineered the impossible be levered out of the league; in a perfect world, his previous achievements in the sport would count for more. The problem is, though, that at the top football is no longer a sport, it is a business – a vehicle for manufacturers, betting companies and business men to make money. Relegation, (domestic ) cup obscurity and comparative irrelevance do not sit well with those people who bankroll either him or the team. Whilst there may be an argument that he cannot be held responsible for the poor performance of his squad, that is rather the point; they are HIS squad, mainly of his choosing and in his image. The squad that he won the title with last year, that he now appears unable to motivate, organise or rouse from their current sleepwalk to relegation. Given that cut-throat backdrop, the board had little choice and made the right call.
The question is, who comes in next, and can they escape the jaws of relegation? That is a different issue, but does not detract from the fact the Ranieri’s removal, however bitter a taste it leaves in the mouths of fans, was the right decision from the perspective of the club. Claudio will leave with his reputation massively enhanced, the undying love of fans both from Leicester and the premier league in general, and a legend in his own lifetime. The problem is, you can’t stick a sponsor logo on a legend.
Farewell, Claudio. Dilly ding, dilly dong…
Ed (the cynic).
Thanks for everything, Claudio
Firstly it’s desperately sad to see him go. After what he did for us last season my view is that he deserved the job for as long as he wanted it. He brought us success none of us could have even dreamed off, I’ll never forget some of the memories he has given me. I’ve written many times on that over the course of last season and I feel it would be pretty hard to convey just how great it has been for Leicester on the whole. None of it possible without the great man at the helm. What an absolute hero.
What I will say is that if you have watched us much this season, particularly lately, it’s hard not to accept that a certain amount of blame does sit with Ranieri. His tactics have been inept, his selection has been poor. We persisted with last season’s formation for months without recognising that it doesn’t work without Kante, trying to shoehorn players like King and Amartey into his role, when it plainly wasn’t working. Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Vardy, Mahrez, Drinkwater have all had extended periods of offering absolutely nothing but still get selected week on week. We are in freefall and haven’t shown any signs of turning it around – we can’t defend, we can’t score, no points or goals in 2017. It’s become increasingly difficult to make a good case for Ranieri staying that doesn’t start and end with what he did last season.
That’s part of the reason I think you will find more neutrals calling this a disgrace than Leicester fans. If you have watched us closely you will have seen how bad we’ve been. It’s easier to be sentimental about letting him carry on regardless if it isn’t your team facing relegation. I also think our owners have been fantastic for us and I don’t think they will have taken this without the club’s best interests at heart – they clearly enjoyed a very good relationship with Ranieri and the fans. When I see some of the other owners in the football league I am incredibly grateful for everything our owners have done for us. I don’t agree with their decision, and I don’t like it, but I can understand why they felt like they had make it. I think the timing leaves a bad taste, particularly after a fairly positive outcome last night, for him to not be able to see out the second leg genuinely makes me feel gutted.
When it comes down to it, the players just aren’t playing for him. For me that is where the real shame lies. Ranieri propelled them all to a level that none of them had any right to reach. All of that was built on tenacity, togetherness and hard work. I find it really difficult to understand what has gone wrong so badly that could lead us to where we are right now. Nobody comes out of this looking good. For all that was good about last season, the decision to sack Ranieri stinks of everything that is rotten in football. Short termism, success at all costs, player power and big egos. I’ve been feeling for a while that what I’ve seen from the squad this season has massively taken the shine off last season – the romance is dead.
Personally I’d have rather we stuck with him and let him leave on his own terms, come what may. But i recognise the sentimentality in that, and sadly football just doesn’t seem to have any room for that these days.
Ben (Please god not Pardew or Roy), LCFC
It’s amazing how no one has pointed out that Nigel Pearson lasted the whole season with the team bottom for 90% of the season but Ranieri only until February despite never being in the relegation zone at any point
Wesley C, London
There’s always one
Here’s I was enjoying reading last night’s mails, enjoying the fact the everyone shared the same feelings I had about Claudio’s sacking. For once, agreeing with all the sentiments of my fellow mail writers. It was mailbox Utopia. Then came Michael.
Damn you (and you F365 for publishing).
James, Cape Town (Do the Leicester City players have to return the BMW I8s if they get relegated?)
Big Weekend‘s little brother
Crystal Palace – Middlesbrough. Very serious business. Palace can’t dawdle much longer, so this is a must three points. Boro have won only once away from home all season, all the way back in August, and at Sunderland to boot. But although they probably won’t sit back at first, they’ll be happy to go home with a point, which means the Eagles will have to attack and keep attacking until they get the lead. We should get excellent matchups between Palace’s wingers and Boro’s full-backs, with Wilfried Zaha vs. Fabio the likely headliner. In central defence, Bernardo brings a bit more aerial power than Ben Gibson, and will be tested by Christian Benteke. The Riversiders played well against Everton last time out, but as ever created little. If they come out aggressively, we might see two of the fastest men in league going at each other in Patrick van Aanholt and Adama Traoré.
Stat: Boro have saved a larger percentage of opponents’ big chances than anyone in the league, 69.0%. Incidentally, Manchester United are last in this category, at only 29.4%.
Chelsea – Swansea. OK, I know this looks like a mismatch. But Chelsea are only sixth in the league in expected goals (sorry), and the odds say they’re unlikely to continue scoring at the rate they have. Diego Costa hasn’t been at his best lately, and if Matic starts ahead of Fabregas, don’t be at all surprised to see Paul Clement’s newly improved defence hold them off for quite a while. Federico Fernández and Alfie Mawson may not be the top pairing in the league, but they’re starting to look like a genuine partnership. At the other end, when Fernando Llorente gets chances, he usually takes them: his conversion rate is around the same as Costa’s. Swansea are likely to concede the wings here, so Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso will have to combine with the wide attackers to create chances, especially if Fabregas is on the bench. Of course, Chelsea could score early and breeze, but a tight first hour is a possibility too.
Stat: How bad was Swansea’s defence before Paul Clement? Even now they’ve allowed 15 more big chances than anyone else in the league.
West Bromwich Albion – Bournemouth. The Pulis Express keeps roaring. Albion have won six of their last seven home matches, losing only to Manchester United. Bournemouth will attack, because they always do, but they’re weak on long countering passes to the wings. So Matt Phillips and Nacer Chadli will run, while James Morrison, Darren Fletcher and Jake Livermore try to release them on the break. The latter two will also patrol the Wilshere zone in what should be a most watchable matchup. Nobody in Bournemouth’s defence has played terribly well lately (not even Steven Cook), and Artur Boruc seems to have dropped back to the poor form of last season. On a positive note, Josh King continues his progress, and looks to have the striker spot for the moment. Are West Brom ready be to clear favorites in a game like this, and against Crystal Palace next week?
Stat: West Brom are last in possession both home and away, just as they were last season.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
Rooney to Arsenal? We’ll take him at Chelsea
Sometime this week ‘Arry suggested that Arsenal should sign Wayne Rooney. I am not sure what arsenal fans would say to that but I am a chelsea supporter and would love it if Conte did sign Rooney.
I know at the moment it seems like Manchester United as a club have moved on and are actively planning for life without him. This is a good thing as it is hard to keep a player of Rooney’s accomplishment motivated. How long have we had to listen to united fans complain about how his legs have gone and how he is holding the team back.
For every Silvio Dante there is a Guy Shrimpton who believes that rooney’s decline is representative of other problems with the team and that Rooney has been made a scapegoat to the clubs problems. I always thought Shrimpton’s view is not without merit although Rooney’s benching has coincided with a terrific run of results all of which have led to united fans making their peace with rooney moving on at the end of his contract.
Watching Falcao the other night proves that a move to a club that can accommodate your strengths can make a huge difference even in a player who is past his prime. Torres is not doing too badly with athletico now, even after his embarrassing exit from the premiership.
Lampard played for city after leaving chelsea as the blues top scorer. Owen and RvP both played for man united after leaving Liverpool and arsenal respectively. I think if rooney were to join chelsea he could fit in really well playing directly behind Costa and we could loan out Michy for a season or two.
Obviously we could spend over 70million on a new striker to partner or replace Costa. Say Lukaku or Morata but we might have to prepare ourselves to be dissapointed as none of those deals are likely to be easy.
Rooney will be available and I feel like he could come to chelsea for a new challenge and could spend a couple of seasons preparing for retirement and avoid selling one of England’s most accomplished athletes to china.
He would obviously have to take a pay cut, but with certain other assurances he might prefer to stay in England. He has so much experience and He knows virtually every attacking play and would be much better with players like Hazard, Willian, kante, Matic playing around and about him and conte Training him in a new environment where he is made happy could really reignite the dynamic powerhouse that he once was even if only for a season. he could really help chelsea next season which I believe will be much tougher than this season has been so far.
So there it is. What do we think of this?
It’s hard to tell who I dislike more, Dele Alli or Joey Barton.
Can you imagine the reaction if Pogba had committed that challenge last night?
I’m sure you’ll have plenty of emails about Ranieri today but I just wanted to clarify something – fantastic Tottenham have been knocked out of Europe TWICE before laughing stock Arsenal have officially been knocked out once.
Let’s see how the media spin this one for their darling team. It probably won’t be mentioned as they can bury it under Ranieri’s sacking but don’t worry, I noticed.
Not a great 2/3 weeks for Arsenal really. Culminating in “the most humiliating night for an English team in Europe” (copyright – the press) last week when they were schooled by Brian Munich. Not a great couple of weeks for Spurs, culminating in “………” (copyright – everyone). Now don’t get me wrong, there was absolutely nothing good about Arsenals performance in Germany, terrible in fact. But getting knocked out of a lesser European cup by a team 8th in the Belgian league, whilst fielding your strongest available team surely merits at least a minor bit of criticism? Barely even registered on the back pages. Maybe the sheer difference in numbers of support can explain that?
I’ve seen it hinted at that had Alli not been sent if they would have gone through. I suggest that Spurs should have sealed the tie long before his latest act of ugliness.
So yes, Dele Alli. At what point are we going to accept that it’s more than “he has got to iron out the petulanace” and become “he’s just a nasty piece of work who has no ability to handle losing”. If we assume Spurs would have gone through had he not been sent off, is that the second time in two seasons his nastiness has cost Spurs the chance of a trophy? A snidey coward. When are we going to stop punishing stupid stuff heavily and properly punish the players that clearly try to seriously injure their peers. Make no mistake he could have ended that players career. Sickening.
Also when Arsenal play on BT Sport, we get either Michael Owen, Steve Mcmanmanananananananman or if vs United or a German team, Owen Hargreaves. Every other big side gets an ex player. Clive Allen last night was totally absurd. At one point he called Kyle Walker and Danny Rose, the two best full backs in Europe, he presumably got paid for that. I’d like to know why Arsenal are not afforded Partizan commentary when in Europe.
This is what happens when Arsenal don’t play for 3 weeks!!!
Another cracker you may have missed
With all the talk of missing genuinely great European nights on terrestial TV, I thought report on one that happened last night. Borussia Mönchengladbach came from came back from 3 goals down on aggregate to overturn Fiorentina in the Europa.
Borussia had a shocking first half of the season save for a couple of decent games against Celtic, leaving them just above the Bundesliga relegation play off spot. A new boss comes before the winter break and now has a very talented squad playing with great heart and scoring beautiful goals.
In the first leg in Mönchengladbach, the old habits started to resurface, namely a chronic inability to score and naive defending. Borussia lost 1-0 via a sensational free kick in a game they could have easily won.
Same story in the first half in Florence, shipping 2 goals, missing good chances and an injury to the vital Thorgen Hazards. A penalty converted by captain Lars Stindl kept the last glimmer of hope alive.
Fiorentina had a couple more chances in the 2nd half before 15 beautiful, heroic minutes. A scrappy tap in followed by a beaut from Stindl for his hat trick, and then a good old centre back’s header from Chelsea loanee and fan favourite Andreas Christensen to make it 4-3 on aggregate. Unbelievable for a team who in December looked devoid of any mental resolve.
I’ve lived here for 6 months and have followed Borussia (Mönchengladbach are the original Borussia)for a couple of years and I’ve really loved having a new football story to engage with having followed Liverpool all my life. Nights like last night help you forget about the cynical corporate fuckery of football (most especially in England) and resonate with that feeling that hooked us in as kids to love football. Borussia are a cracking club and the fans are unbelievable (I recommend a home game to any football tourists) even when the team were struggling earlier this year. A special club got a well deserved special night and I absolutely love it.
Paul, LFC & BMG, Mönchengladbach.
Japanese football’s back! I’m sure you’re all excited.
Nagoya Grampus, former club of Gary Linker and Arsene Wenger, will play in J2 for the first time ever. My team, Zweigen Kanazawa, will probably be aiming to avoid the relegation playoff (by finishing above it, not below). They have a new manager, Masaaki Yanagishita, with top-level experience and a League Cup win to his name, but the squad has changed significantly. Much of last year’s team were loanees who have been replaced by other loanees, but the core of the most impressive players from last year have stayed. Hopefully the manager will have worked out his best team and tactics before a quarter of the season has gone and Zweigen can avoid the dreaded two points from eight games.
The most interesting piece of transfer business across the leagues is Lukas Podolski moving from Galatasaray to Vissel Kobe in J1 once the Turkish league has finished in June. Japan international Hiroshi Kiyotake – one of their more impressive players in 2016 – has returned from Sevilla to promoted Cerezo Osaka. It’ll be interesting to see if this affects his chances of playing for the national team, as the cantankerous coach, Vahid Halilhodzic, has repeatedly said that the Japanese players need to move to European leagues.
In J1, the world’s second-best club, Kashima Antlers, will need to vastly improve their league form on last year if they want to retain their title. They won the Super Cup (Charity Shield equivalent) last weekend against Urawa Reds, who were table-toppers last season but lost the Championship Shield thanks to two late away goals. Their manager, Milhailo Petrovic, has claimed that they were the “moral winners”, which I would like to propose as a new way to describe teams who somehow manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory (Crystal Palace were moral winners against Swansea, for example). Any other suggestions for moral winners?
James T, Kanazawa, Japan
Excellent article regarding one of the finest strikers to don a Liverpool jersey in the past decade. One wonders however if F365 could write an article about Jamie Vardy without once referencing his racially motivated transgression, it seems to have been conveniently erased from the annals of Anelkas EPL record?
Yours In Curiosity,