‘Dilly ding, dilly dong. The Tinkerman has gone’.
It sounds like a terrible chorus, written for an X-Factor winner who’ll flop in six months. But this is worse than that. It is the end of loyalty in football. If it wasn’t dead already, it certainly is now.
In a week which saw the beloved Sutton United reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw lose his job, the news of Ranieri’s sacking comes as little surprise.
Just nine months ago, Ranieri lifted the Premier League trophy, whilst being serenaded by Andrea Bocelli, in front of an audience of millions. Now, he finds himself unemployed.
It seems unthinkable. Leicester may be just two points above the relegation places, but this is no ordinary dismissal. Quite frankly, it is a disgrace. For the board to come out less than three weeks ago, waxing lyrically about their undying support for the Italian, to then turn around and sack the most successful manager in the history of their club is borderline madness.
We have seen it with Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City and at Chelsea with Jose Mourinho, but I would argue there was significantly less sentiment towards those decisions. There is no longer any loyalty or longevity in football management.
There will be Leicester fans who say it was right to sack Ranieri considering they hadn’t won in five top-flight games, and on that subject, didn’t hit the back of the net since New Year’s Eve.
Perhaps they were right. Perhaps the only way for The Foxes to turn this around is to inject new ideas into a group of players who quite frankly look clueless.
Leicester may be back to their old ways, locked in a relegation battle, but it should be the BBC and FIFA World Coach of the Year who is leading the fight.
Reports surfaced suggesting that the players had effectively launched a coup against Ranieri, something that Craig Shakespeare categorically denied in his press conference. But if this is true the players ought to be ashamed of themselves. N’Golo Kante must be counting his lucky stars that he left for Chelsea when he did.
It adds insult to injury when the likes of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Wes Morgan were handed bumper new deals at the end of last season, but they simply have not performed in the slightest.
The Tinkerman’s dismissal has upset the masses. Not only thousands of Leicester supporters, but also much of the wider footballing community. The club and its board of directors can come out and say what it likes, but the general consensus seems to be that Ranieri earned the right to at least see out the season with the Premier League champions.
If anything, the sacking has tarnished what was undoubtedly the greatest sporting success in history.
The triumph placed Leicester City on the global footballing map, and in Pot 1 of the Champions League draw along with the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.
Undoubtedly, something was wrong at Leicester, but when the likes of Gary Lineker and Jamie Carragher are both saying Ranieri deserved the chance to lead Leicester to safety, it does make you wonder.
Can Ranieri be entirely to blame for the position Leicester find themselves in, or should the players and Leicester’s Head of Recruitment be taking more of the flack?
It is no secret, Leicester’s recruitment policy for players this season has been abysmal. For this, Ranieri cannot be entirely liable.
To some, Ranieri was no longer the Championship winning manager of as little as nine months ago, but instead, a manager fighting for his team’s survival in the top-flight. But he is not.
He is a man who led Leicester to their first-ever Premier League crown, and into the Champions League for the first time in their history. Needless to say, he also guided them to finish top of their group, and they are still well in with a shout against Sevilla at the Last-16 stage.
For all the good the past nine months has brought Leicester, there have been unforgettable lows, such as the recent 4-0 humiliation at home to Manchester United, and an embarrassing FA Cup exit away to League One outfit Millwall.
Leicester had been adopted as the second team for a large slice of the footballing community, but there will be large hoards hoping that they now slide down the footballing ladder after their treatment of Ranieri. And if that does happen, the best bit is that the club will only have themselves and the players to blame.
Regardless of the decision by the club’s owners and ‘big-wigs’, Ranieri can walk away with his head held high, as a man of honour and dignity, whilst Leicester’s reputation on and off the pitch lies in tarnishes.