Claudio Ranieri has been sacked by Leicester City, less than a year after their fairy tale story of winning the English Premier League. The sacking has divided opinion already but whatever you think of the sacking and whether the club were right or wrong, you cannot hep but sympathise with the charming Italian.
In my opinion, Ranieri should never have been sacked by Leicester. In only 20 months in charge, Ranieri had earned legend status at the Foxes by masterminding the greatest underdog story in football history. He was almost drinking from the same tap as Arsene Wenger, the tap that allows the manager himself to decide when his time at the club is up and for a new manager to come in and put their stamp on things.
Easy for me to say, I am not a Leicester fan. There will be Leicester fans out there that will think that this is absolutely the correct decision from the football side of things. The Foxes were in serious danger of going down. An unthinkable prospect and quite frankly embarrassing.
Leicester have picked up 1 point in the Premier League this calendar year and what makes even worse reading is that they have scored 0 goals. Ultimately, the manager needs to be accountable for this but Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, hang your heads in shame. Being knocked out of the FA Cup by 10 man Milwall did not help Ranieri's cause. Despite its seemingly lesser importance these days, a competition which could have been a bright spark in a poor season for Leicester.
However, renowned Leicester fan Gary Lineker thinks the sacking is 'unforgivable'. I agree. Not only should he still be there, but why he does not have a statue outside the ground (yet) is baffling.
Take Sean Dyche and Burnley for example. Albeit a brave fight in their first season in the top flight, they were quite clearly not cut out for it. Fast forward a couple of seasons, they have returned as champions of the Championship and with some new additions a very solid Premier League outfit who should survive comfortably.
By no means am I suggesting that relegation is acceptable for Leicester, nor the 'Burnley effect' would definately happen to them, however who's to say Ranieri could not pull it off. The likelihood departures of players such as Vardy, Mahrez, Slimani and Musa would allow strong reinvestment in the squad. Getting in players who know the championship and building a strong home grown squad. Players such as Demarai Gray and Ben Chilwell would benefit strongly from a season in the Championship.
The loss of N'golo Kante has really hit the champions hard. It looks like he is about to win his second Premier League winners medal in as many years with Chelsea and it is easy to see why. He is such an influential player to have in your team. A team can receive such a boost physically and mentally when they see the energy he brings to the game even with 10 minutes to go. He is a non-stop juggernaut who has been imperative to both Leciester and Chelsea's success.
I believe Kante's rotten attitude in the summer infected a lot of members in the squad.
Wes Morgan and Robert Huth, who were crucial last season have looked like Sunday League defenders this year. They have thrown in the towel.
It almost seems like Riyad Mahrez has hardly played this season. He looks like he never wants to receive the ball and you rarely see them jinking runs at the left back that we became so accustomed to seeing last season.
Despite grabbing a vital goal in Seville on Wednesday night, Jamie Vardy's party has come to an abrupt end. It looks as if he is just waiting on the goals to come to him instead of working for them like he did last year. Playing on the shoulder and getting in behind defenders has been non-existent this season.
What makes Ranieri's sacking even more baffling is the impressive result against Sevilla. Leicester were expected to be overrun by a strong Sevilla side who are flying this season. The Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium has been a fortress for the Spaniards over recent years and the Foxes' away record is shoddy. 2-1 is a fantastic result to bring back to the King Power with the away goal being the vital component.
Despite having a relatively weak group, Leicester's champions League form has been impressive. They qualified from their group with ease with players like Slimani coming to fruition. This was matched by a very good result against Sevilla. It looked as if Ranieri's priority this season was the Champions League and I firmly believe if he was still in charge, Leicester would progress to the quarter finals.
To summarise, from a footballing aspect Ranieri's sacking should not come as too much of a surprise. But the man won this club a title which they had no right to win and created memories for life. Despite being in danger, Leicester had a really chance of progressing far in the Champions League. In the same week as a man who lost his job for eating a pie live on TV, it's hard to keep faith in modern day football.
Last season, I fell in love with Leicester for their refreshing counter attacking football and their 'never say die' attitude. That affection I had for them is now gone.