So I hope all the so called football “experts” are eating humble pie this week, and big helpings of it too.
I have followed Leicester City since the early 1970s and whilst we have always been seen as one of the unfashionable clubs, I have never known the English press be so dismissive of Leicester City’s chances.
After the relationship they had with Nigel Pearson, I would have thought they would have welcomed Claudio Ranieri’s appointment with open arms. Despite being the complete opposite to Pearson – affable and engaging – it seems that he is public enemy number one when it comes to the British Press, whether it be online, in print, radio and television.
TalkSPORT radio have even started a daily segment to rival their ‘Daily Arsenal’ calling it ‘Ranieri’s rants’. They proudly announced that they had decided to do this almost as soon as he had been appointed.
What was fun listening though, was whilst they were announcing that on Monday evening’s Drivetime show, in the same breath they were having to admit, albeit it against an awful Sunderland side, that we played very well.
Well let me tell you talkSPORT, Ranieri can rant as much as he wants as long as he keeps getting his team to play the way they did on the opening day. For an hour, as they say, it was like watching Brazil. OK I wax lyrical here, but lets see what the press were saying, not shouting out about Ranieri…
The ‘tinkerman’ returns they shouted – if they had been doing their job properly they might have noticed we had already had one of those from about October to March last season, and like the man himself said, how many managers these days now change their team on a regular basis? Quite a few.
He didn’t win anything with Chelsea they shouted – well no one did pre-Abramovich for quite a few years!! Coming second to Arsenal’s invincibles though was not a bad feat. He also secured qualification for the Champions League and got Chelsea to a FA Cup final!
He never lasts more than a few years at one job they shouted – but look at those jobs. If he was that bad why were the so called top clubs of Europe always offering him jobs? And he did manage to pick up 10 titles/cups during this time including the UEFA Super Cup. Plus, most managers are appointed into jobs because they have been sacked at a previous club, a la David Moyes!
He only lasted four games as Greece’s national manager including losing to the Faroe Islands they shouted – well his replacement only lasted two games before walking out of the job. Didn’t one Sven Goran Eriksson lose to the great Northern Ireland as England manager in 2005, before taking us to the quarter-finals of the World Cup before going out on penalties to Portugal? Not a total disgrace I think.
Well, the ‘tinkerman’ has well and truly arrived and has had an unbeaten pre-season. He has vowed to prove his nickname wrong and not tinker that much with what Nigel Pearson had left in place. In fact, in the opening game, he only included one new signing, Shinji Okazaki.
He was unable to hold onto Cambiasso, but for me this wasn’t a huge surprise. He was always a Pearson man. He came to play one season and that’s what he did. And what a season it was. If he stayed how could he, in his eyes, better that? A season of mid-table safety could not in any one’s imagination be better than helping the team to the great escape. And anyway, let’s be honest, as good as he was, one player does not make a team!
He has not made many new signings since taking over, but did we need a whole new team like Watford have signed? NO!! But how many players were we actually after? A few hundred if media rumours are to be believed.
In Benalouane and Kante he has made two very good signings. It is nice to see he is not going for those players where experienced overlaps into past it. He is still after a central midfielder to replace Cambiasso, but there is time left. Ranieri’s best bit of activity in the transfer window could prove to be tieing Riyad Mahrez down to a new contract.
So as always for Leicester fans, we go into a new season as underdogs, but as the fans chant goes “that’s the way we like it, we like it….”
There is always a great satisfaction in proving the so-called “experts” wrong.