Mails: What is Ranieri’s secret with Leicester?

Date published: Thursday 4th February 2016 11:45

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What is Leicester’s secret?
Exactly one year ago Leicester were bottom of the EPL. Played 23 won 4 drawn 5 Lost 14. Goals for 21. Goals against 37. 17 points.

Today they are top of the EPL. Played 24. Won 14 drawn 8 lost 2.  Goals for 44. Goals against 26. 50 points.

Has anyone done any detailed analysis as to how this turnaround occurred? What exactly has Ranieri done to influence this? Where did they get 30 more goals from? Why are they playing better defence?

I only say that as a Newcastle United fan who believes that change can happen. But I want to know what needs to change and what needs be in place to allow these changes to take place.
JHAruba (NUFC).


Poch for United
I have no interest in entering the debate on Pep’s ability, but the fact is he was the most coveted manager in the world and there is no manger in world football who can match him on name alone.

Therefore why try? If United sign a ready made big name manager, like Mourinho or Ancelotti, can any fan honestly say they were their number one choice ahead of Pep? So what are United to do? Stick with LVG? Give one of the biggest jobs in world football to an inexperienced ex player?

I have read many mails over the last few months about the United way, what it actually means, if it is simply a myth and I want to give my tuppence on the matter. I began supporting United in the early 90s so had the pleasure of enjoying our glory years. What made this team for me cant simply be put down to a formation or a style of play, football changes and you have to adapt. In my head the United way was something bigger it was a description of the club itself, not just what happened on the pitch. There was stability, there was a young, British core group of players supplemented by a few foreign superstars, nobody was bigger than the club itself, to my young mind it all seemed like one big family. Every player was expected to give 110% every game hence so many late goals.

Now many will say, perhaps correctly given what has happened over the last few years, that what I have described is not the United Way but the Ferguson way. This leads me to the point of this mail. Pep, Mourinho, Ancelotti etc have brilliant records, have won trophies all over the world. But can any of them be seen as a long term option? If they cannot match the success of Peps City in the short term then surely the sensible plan is to look to the long term. Don’t be deterred by the disaster of the Moyes era and again look to build upon the ethics established buy the likes of Sir Matt Busby and SAF.

So who is the man for the job? If only there was someone doing wonders with a young, British group of players who work hard and play as a team. I think at this point everybody realizes where I’m going with this. It simply has to be Pochettino. He may not carry as big a name as Guardiola but I cant be the only one that thinks everything about him just seems perfect for United?

Please, please make it happen Ed.
Andy, NI (Can we have Alli and Kane too please)


Red-faced Nev
I read an article on a website not far from here about G. Neville 7-0 trashing by Barca: “Gary Neville was a fantastic player in his time but a great coach he is not.”

Now two things offend me in that statement: one of them is a recurring theme of a certain lobby re-writing history and the other one can be labelled as a knee-jerk reaction. Poor fellow’s career has been written off after 8 games and that’s stupid! But that’s not what offend me the most….

When and where has Gary F***ing Neville ever been a fantastic player? Now I have to admit, I only watch most of his games after 2001 and maybe he was a world beater before that, but the Gary Neville I remember was nothing more than a decent player. He was England right-back by default, wouldn’t have got a single cap if he was French. I remember clearly screaming at the TV once or twice calling him a f***ing clown for the amount of balls he would lose. Was he not the weakest link in Man U at the time (at least until Wes Brown started playing more regularly)?

Am I crazy or is there a Man U lobby trying to make the rest of us believe that certain things were true; victors writing history? Gary Neville a great player!? Scholes greatest British player of his generation!? Playing the Man U way!!? Where has all that came from!!!

As a pundit, hearing him complain about Mesut Ozil lack of effort just drove me crazy: only in England people care more about how much heart you put on the field regardless of the amount of time you lose the ball.

Now he is coaching in Spain, a man who is the antithesis of Spanish football. Coaching a club that was playing better football the last two years than only 2-3 teams in the premier league. A team that finished fourth in La Liga last year. How f***ing insulting is it for the fans of Valencia ?!

My apologies for the language and the anger. Sorry for speaking my mind Gary, I feel bad for being so rough on you in such a painful time for you, but sometime you have to stand up and call a spade a bloody spade.
Stephane (no affiliation what so ever)


…Luis Suarez humiliating Gary Neville is the best part of our season so far.
RV, LFC, India


Rooney fooling no one
I have been called out in the comments by Rooney-lovers Guy S and Harry Boulton.

I’m not eating my words on Rooney. I’ve always said he’s a pretty good goal scorer but that the rest of his game is pretty poor. Running back to the half-way line to ping passes isn’t his job, he can’t beat a man, he has no pace and does none of the things that once made him potentially great. The only thing he still has is he can go on a spell where he can kick it in the net. He’s on one of those spells now – but so is Jermaine Defoe (12 goals in 18 games wiki says) – is Defoe suddenly a great player? Sign him up, LVG.

Rooney’s doing alright and getting on the scoresheet but he isn’t playing brilliantly and he’s not an excellent player any more. I don’t understand the acclaim or the fuss. I don’t know what people see when they watch Rooney other than a functional player who occasionally scores goals. Is that what a Man United striker should be?

I don’t understand why we pay 300k a week for a slow player who only resembles a professional footballer for a quarter of the season.
Silvio (Defoe for Man United) Dante


…Sorry to be Mr Pedant but Rooney was dropped against Stoke on Boxing Day, coincidence that his form has picked up since then?  I think not.


…Quite a simple explanation for Wayne’s recent run of form – he is Wayne Rooney.

This is a trademark Rooney purple patch leading up to an international tournament, and I guarantee he will continue to look sharp, hungry and brilliant right up until June, at which point he will instantly look like he’s gained 10 lbs and have obtained the first touch and mobility of a fridge.

We build Wayne up and just as quickly knock him down. Unfortunately, this is a relationship of the mutual variety.
Sean, CFC, London


Defending FSG
Blimey, Glen LFC is a bit angry isn’t he?

Or maybe jealous of the sugar daddies creating unsustainable football clubs?

FSG have their faults, we all do. But the decision to take a loan to rebuild the Main Stand against the club is the right way, providing the debt can be covered.

As for not spunking money on players, or buying the wrong players, how about we wait a bit eh? The two players you mention are young and working under a manager who appears to be able to improve players (or ship on if he doesn’t feel that they’re up to it).

As for charging £70 for a ticket in the new stand, my understanding is that those seats aren’t for locals. They’re for commercial agreements and also to offer seats for people who buy packages or travel from afar who are willing to pay more. These higher prices pay for the stand’s loan.

Call me crazy, but this all sounds sensible. It sounds like working on the foundations of the club for long term success (or at least sustainable existence).

One day the big money will disappear, clubs who are funded by weird arrangements will crumble. I’d quite like Liverpool to not be one of them.

Although I could be massively wrong on all of the above.
Rob, London


…Glenn, LFC (boycott the matches, they’ll soon run home when their profit dries up) yes, you are absolutely correct. Lets sell to Steve Morgan, remember when he nearly bought us? He did great at Wolves.

Or let’s sell back to Hicks and Gillet, they were great for the club.
Liverpool Football Club is a business. It is run to make money for its owners. Deal with it. Or form the Merseyside alternative to FC United of Manchester. Welcome to modern football.
Adam, LFC, Belfast.


…My word people have short short memories in football, people claiming FSG need to go. Does anyone remember Hicks & Gillette?  Who just about violated the club and told lie after lie.

FSG are mid way through actually building a new giant stand, you can see the thing! Eclipsing the old stand. That doesn’t get done on a wish alone. It costs money (£155m), and more importantly afterwards, it makes money. But some consider its not good enough as it only pushes our capacity to 54k. But how dare they save us money and allow us to stay at our historic home!

Yes they have upped some ticket prices but they have also launched schemes to get a lot of young and local fans in the ground. Which is sorely needed, the football might not always be great but “special Anfield atmosphere” is a complete illusion. Getting local and young supporters in is a great thing to do , as it developing the local area. Not to mention the next phase expands another stand to give Anfield a total capacity of 59,000.

But no, some want them to splurge two or three times that on a stadium which wont be finished for five or so years, if ever, whilst somehow spending millions upon millions on players during this time. (Anyone see how long Arsenal took to afford players again).

Instead no they do the unthinkable, BALANCE THE BOOKS by selling a player for big money and spending that plus a little more on new players (all be it poorly!). Thus bringing us to the only real problem with FSG: the Transfer Committee.

But they have brought in Klopp!! the manager everyone wanted and we somehow got. They will back him just like they backed every manager but miraculously the sensible Klopp and owners seem to be on the same wavelength. There is such a decrease in value for money in the January window, it makes total sense spend in the summer where money goes much further. Why splurge 39m on someone now when that could get Klopp two or three players he wants in the summer. All whilst he is more likely to be able to sell the dross at LFC he doesn’t want and get to reinvest that money to in more new players!

Klopp will make big changes in the summer alright, and he will need as much value from his money as possible. But not due to lack of funding, but due to the number of changes the squad requires.

We may amble through the league this season, but he will know exactly which players he wants to keep and somehow we have got to one cup final already in what is effectively Klopp warming up. But the owners have given us a new stadium, the manager we want, just show some patience.
Andrew LFC


Palace jitters
Rob, Leicester wrote an interesting thing about how managers too readily blame refereeing mistakes instead of their own shortcomings.  He could have added Alan Pardew’s comments that “you have to murder someone to get sent off” against Crystal Palace.  If my auntie had balls, etc, and so on, but two games in a row opposing defenders have been shown yellow cards for fouls similar to those that have brought red cards elsewhere (see also, Harry Arter lucky to stay on the pitch in the previous Bournemouth-Palace game).  I can only presume that as it was Palace, the referee didn’t believe a goalscoring opportunity had been denied.

When teams are struggling to score goals, greater focus gets put on set pieces, as they can be rehearsed.  Playing against a side that’s a player down does make a difference, because you can either create a mismatch/overload in the box, or have an extra player outside the penalty area to recycle the ball and create another scoring opportunity.

I’m basically clutching at straws in the most frustrated way possible for the ineptitude of my team.  We’ve got 31 points, so we’re probably only 9 points from safety, but the longer we go without picking up a win the more anxiety will creep in.

The literary Ed Quoththeraven


Running joke
Parma Sira called for a team of funny runners, here are my suggestions, and their particular fashion of flight:

CF – Giroud: boy being chased by a bee.

CF – C. Ronaldo: female gymnast.

LW – Wilshere: boy on an invisible bike.

RW – Lennon: (as previously mentioned in the mailbox) like yoda.

CM – Ozil: a Na’vi.

CM – Yaya: doesn’t. Struts; occasionally “bombs”, but only in a forward direction.

LB – Lahm: a magical dwarf.

RB – Ivanovic: runs normal, but walks like drag queen.

CB – Mertesacker: doesn’t.  Merely extends his gait to a gentlemanly trot.

CB – Sakho: like he’s trying to stop himself while running downhill.

GK – All goalkeepers run funny.


Parma Sira, London – Aaron Lennon has always been an odd one whilst running. He looks like his midway through a finger snap and a ‘Grrrrrfreeeend’ – so sassy.


…Me and my pals always thought Gabriel Obertan ran like Phoebe Buffay out of Friends.
Gough, LFC, Dublin

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