Player power strikes again


February 25, 2017


For many, Claudio Ranieri deserved a job for life at Leicester.

What he achieved last season, turning a bunch of mostly journeymen and cast-offs into Premier League champions was the stuff of dreams and comic books. Ranieri had made the impossible possible, bringing a touch of romanticism back to a sport that has become a cold, hard, money-driven industry in so many ways.

It meant that there was an outpouring of dismay and incredulity when Ranieri's firing was announced on Thursday evening.


The general opinion was that he deserved so much better.

"Unforgivable," tweeted Gary Lineker, the former Leicester and England striker.

"Ungrateful English," read the headline on the front page of yesterday's edition of Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy, Ranieri's native country.

Look deeper, though, and there was a sense of inevitability about the ruthless decision made by Leicester's Thai owners. Ranieri is simply the latest manager to be toppled by player power.

In short, his players had stopped playing for him. Only last weekend, Ranieri accused his team of lacking "heart and desire" in a 1-0 loss to third-tier club Millwall in the FA Cup. The virtues that carried them to the most unlikely title triumph in the history of English football notably team spirit, organisation and hard work had vanished.

Yesterday, sections of the British media reported that senior players told Leicester's owners in a meeting after the Sevilla game that things were not working with Ranieri.

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