Nine months after Leicester City’s historic clinching of the Premier League title, manager Claudio Ranieri has been fired by the club’s bosses.
I can’t believe I had to type that sentence. Ranieri, the man who led the Foxes to the title against 5,000 to 1 odds, has been fired, with 13 matches left in the season and Leicester 1 point from the relegation zone. The man didn’t even get to finish out the season.
The sacking rocked the Premier League world. Jose Mourinho, manager of Manchester United, defended Ranieri, saying expectations were too high. If Ranieri had only kept Leicester in the league last season, he’d still have his job, Mourinho said. He called Ranieri “somebody that wrote some of the most beautiful history in the Premier League, somebody that probably would deserve Leicester stadium to be named Claudio Ranieri,” adding that the firing was “a decision that has everyone in football united.”
Indeed, it has. Jason Coleman, a Middlesborough supporter, wrote on Facebook: “So Leicester FC win the title last season and sack Ranieri, meanwhile Arsenal have allowed Wenger to not win one for 13 seasons and keep his job…”
Speaking of, I also think Darren Ferguson should have been sacked for letting the Doncaster Rovers be relegated yet again when just three seasons ago, they were in the Championship. (Yeah, they’re top of the table now, but they shouldn’t have been in that position to begin with, if Ferguson had just done his job. Anyway.)
Ranieri issued a statement in reaction the day after he was fired, saying, “Yesterday my dream died.”
He went on to give thanks to his wife and family, the players, and the club, and added to the supporters: “You took me into your hearts from day one and loved me. I love you too. No one can ever take away what we together have achieved, and I hope you think about it and smile every day the way I always will.”
Sad news and sad words from the manager who was, just months ago, a hero.