I really should have posted this earlier in the week, if only to break up the endless talk about Rooney and Lukaku. Still, I feel I have to put this out there.

Reading the media reports over the past few weeks, anyone would think the Leicester players had jumped Ranieri in the dressing room and beaten him to death, or framed him for a similar crime.

“Betrayal” “they should be ashamed of themselves” “how can they live with themselves/look at themselves in the mirror” “stabbed him in the back” etcTheir transgression seems to have been not kicking a ball around as well as they did the previous season. Oh the horror.

One thing that it has highlighted, though, in my opinion, is the rank hypocrisy and true colours of the media, in particular, ex-players of Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool, who’ve burrowed in to the press to tell everyone else what to think. While they seemed to grudgingly applaud Leicester’s efforts last season, their resentment towards their players now borders on the deranged.

Take, for example, the portrayal of Craig Shakespeare as, in his own words, some kind of pantomime villain. Martin Keown is quoted as saying he’s “out of order” for wanting the managers’ job on a permanent basis. While I no longer waste my time watching MotD, I’ve heard he actually called him a “snake”. Presumably, having been on the backroom staff for years, well before the arrival of Ranieri, Mr Shakespeare was expected to storm out of the club in disgust at the Italian’s sacking and reject any overtures from the owners to take the reigns.

As it’s my first TW article, I think some Liverpool bashing so go down well, so let's go back to January 2011. I seem to remember the sacking of Roy Hodgson and the appointment of Kenny Dalglish being announced in the same statement, both decisions seeming to have been made in one fell swoop. Kenny would have been a part of the club’s set-up during the ill-fated Hodgson era. I don’t remember him coming in for any criticism at all for swooping in and taking Roy Hodgson’s job. Well, can you imagine one of the many ex-rs MotD pundits calling their mate Kenny a “snake”?! They wouldn’t dare.

And who was a part of this Liverpool team who were under-performing during that half season with Hodgson. Ah yes, Jamie Carragher. This would be the same Jamie Carragher who used his newspaper column to blast the Leicester players for, erm, under-performing this season and getting poor Claudio the boot. He was also apoplectic about an alleged summit meeting by the players with the owners, a completely unsubstantiated story that everyone seems to have taken as an indisputable fact.

For a more recent example, Chelsea’s players are widely considered to have downed tools under Mourinho last season. This would be the manager who led them to the title the year before. Just like Ranieri. And yet no-one in the media seemed to mind. The consensus seemed to be “well no-one likes Mourinho so it’s okay”. In fact, the only criticism of Chelsea’s players seemed to come from their own fans, and after a couple of wins, all seemed to be forgiven. With Leicester, the opposite seems to be happening. The more they win post Ranieri, the more “disgraceful” their players are for not winning sooner.

This often happens when a club changes manager. That’s why clubs change managers – in the hope of an improvement in results. How much better have Hull and Swansea been in recent weeks? I don’t hear any pundits or journalists talking about how those immoral players weren’t giving their all for Mike Phelan or Bob Bradley.And can you imagine if one of the media darling managers, like, say, Harry Redknapp had taken over a struggling club and won two out of two. The press would be cooing and fawning over how he’d rejuvenated the players and injected new life in to the club.

But because it’s an unknown member of the backroom staff and an unglamorous group of players, it’s seen as some kind of rebellious coup to get loveable old Claudio ousted.

Long story short, the problem isn’t that a group of players have put in some below par performances for one manager and found winning ways again after a change. If it was, every club in the league would have been slated down the years. No. The problem seems to be that Leicester’s players have done it.

I get the impression that ex-Sky 4 players whose own clubs haven’t been able to win the league in recent years, and better still ex-pros who failed to win the league themselves, resent the fact that Leicester’s players now hold Premier League Winners medals. While they reluctantly admired their efforts last season, they can’t resist the chance to rip in to them now.

You can just see their rationalisation: “Well they might have league winners medals, but they must be bad people. I mean, just look how they decided to stop performing for their manager. You’d never catch me or anyone at my club doing that….”


Reader Comments (16)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 11/03/2017 at 20:31:19
A well-written piece, David... pity it was delayed as all those feelings of righteous indignation have probably subsided in the interim.

I never cease to be amazed by the moral judgements expounded by others looking on in offended outrage at what are judged to be clear rights or wrongs of these situations, when there's a whole expanse of middle ground and a slew of unknown facts that neither we, nor many of these self-promoted adjudicators, are privy to.

Leicester City deemed wrong to sack their manager when they are perfectly within their rights if in their view he is not performing... or more pertinently, not getting the team to perform. It matters not a jot that he won them the Premier League last season if now they are sinking like the Titanic.

And the players played a part? Boo-ho... it's their game. If the manager can no longer inspire them, if they cannot play for him, then he has to go.

Ooeer... Guess I'm being judgemental too. But isn't there a difference in supporting the actions that involved and responsible parties make, versus knee-jerk moralistic condemnations from outside? I think there is but maybe there's an element of hypocrisy in there somewhere!


Stan Schofield
2 Posted 11/03/2017 at 22:12:32
David, I agree about the bullshit and hypocrisy from the 'pundits'. I try to ignore these people, and in fact when I watch MotD I usually turn the sound down so I don't have listen to drivel.

So I'm not really interested in what the 'pundits' say, and putting them to one side, my own feeling was that the Leicester players did seem guilty of not putting enough effort in when Ranieri was there. I felt the same about the Chelsea players during the last days of Mourinho, and our players during the final few months of Martinez.

What gets me is this. The players are professionals paid to do a job. They have a duty to paying supporters to put effort in, regardless of any politics between themselves and their manager. Like any job, there's a responsibility to get on with the job to your best endeavours regardless of friction between yourself and others. To do otherwise is unprofessional.

Chris Williams
3 Posted 11/03/2017 at 22:19:46
Like some Everton players last season, who downed tools under Martinez.

Does anyone not believe that didn't happen?

Anyone outraged about that? Did they have a point?

Were they unprofessional or did they recognise a wanker and seek to have him replaced?

Michael Kenrick
4 Posted 11/03/2017 at 22:30:27
Chris makes a great point, and while it may not meet Stan's high standards of professionalism, I think you need to acknowledge the unique chemistry that happens between manager and players when they do gel, and the impacts of what happens when they do not.

We're talking intangibles here, Stan: organization, tactics, motivation, planning, direction, and yes, inspiration. If the faith and trust underlying the relationship deteriorates to the point where things are simply no longer working anymore, it clearly has a direct impact on the way the team plays, and on the way the players perform as individuals within the team.

I imagine, to be successful in the Premier League, more of these star factors have to be aligning... and when they're not, that's when you're in trouble. Chelsea, Everton, and Leicester... different circumstances, of course, but clearly a long-established pattern.

Stan Schofield
5 Posted 11/03/2017 at 23:15:15
Michael, yes, I appreciate all that, and as you say there are intangibles. It's just that, the players do get paid a lot, and many folks comment on it, compared to what 'normal supporters' live on. I don't think I'm demanding HIGH standards of professionalism, just EXPECTED standards.

As a professional, you've got two options: either perform to your best, to justify taking the cash, or refuse to perform, but do not accept the cash. I don't think this is idealistic, it's what most professionals do. To take the cash and willingly not try, is (imo) a form of theft.

Stan Schofield
6 Posted 11/03/2017 at 23:38:28
Michael & Chris, just to add, it's true that if there's a wanker (or toxic manager, or whatever term you choose) in charge, it's understandable if the workers (players) take action. But, it strikes me as odd the kind of action the players took.

For example, in our case Leighton Baines commented about the lack of chemistry, but Martinez shouted him down (classic sign of a toxic manager?). At the time, I thought, if it's that bad aren't other players going to come out and support Baines? Why not say something, not necessarily in public, but internally to the Board, that there's a big problem affecting all the players?

If they'd done that, they could then still have tried their best on the pitch. The results would still have been shit, because the tactics were shit, but at least then the players would not have been criticised by the supporters. Remember, they were criticised, judging by the comments on TW. Both Martinez and the players were criticised.

James Flynn
7 Posted 11/03/2017 at 00:07:07
Some things on Ranieri:

1. No big club was after him, so he took the Leicester job.

2. He managed a genuine "Cinderella" type league title.

3. He basked in, at his age, astonishing and deserved world-wide footy adulation. Nothing left to prove.

4. Nothing left to prove for his players, overwhelmingly just up from the Championship, either.

5. His owners made no attempt to keep Kante.

6-8. See 5 above.

9. See 6-8 above.

3. His club let Kante go without a fight.

Ranieri lost Kante. Plain and simple.

That's why they suck.

Chris Williams
8 Posted 12/03/2017 at 10:29:04
Stan,

The purist in me makes me see the basic truth in your views and I agree that it wouldn't happen in an ideal world. But it did happen last season I'm sure, and things must have got pretty desperate when decent and experienced professionals like Barry, Jagielka, Baines, Coleman and others seemed to go along with the general fall in quality and effort that led to some of the worst collective performances I think I've witnessed at Goodison.

I think that was the way they showed their general lack of support for that discredited regime.

Gavin McGarvey
9 Posted 12/03/2017 at 10:36:50
I felt that Leicester were a bit hasty in getting rid of Ranieri, but if their results pick up then who can argue with the owners?

The title win was always going to be difficult to follow. I'm sure they'll be glad to get this season out of the way now, and put things together next season.

Obviously, selling one of your key players to a rival is not the sign of a club building for the next season; could the owners have kept Kante, and kept him happy?

Also, while this season has at the minute taken the shine off last for them, in the long run it won't. Have the intervening years taken the shine off Rideout's goal against Man Utd? Not for me.

Stan Schofield
10 Posted 12/03/2017 at 11:03:07
Chris, I agree totally with you. All I'm saying is that, in the real world, there's always more than one way to skin a cat, and it looks to me that the way our players chose could have been avoided.

If the object was to get rid of the manager, there are more ways than one to do so. It's not beyond the wit of man. They chose a way which let the supporters down badly, particularly in the derby.

In a way, they kind of went on strike. But when you go on strike, you should forfeit your pay. That's the real world. As a supporter, I will not pay money to watch paid footballers laying down their tools. It's unacceptable.

Gerry Quinn
11 Posted 12/03/2017 at 11:14:52
Not really about the topic above, but more about the media and BBC biased from ex-RS players.

The BBC appear to make Lawro's predictions not too bad – but if you study the figures more closely (with blue bias), Everton come out with the worst predictions for victories (6 less than actual) and by far the most draws (feckin 16!).

Of course, on the other hand guess who has not been predicted to lose a game this season yet? Yep, you guessed it – the RedShite – who, by the way, also have the 2nd most predicted wins and points in the EPL.

Utter RedShite biased bollox, same as the rest of them on our telly's. We ought to get a petition going to call them out for it.

Stan Schofield
12 Posted 12/03/2017 at 11:55:25
Gerry, yes, Lawrenson predicted 1-1 for yesterday. If someone did a statistical analysis without any blue-tinted specs, I imagine it wouldn't be hard to demonstrate a bias against Everton. Best just to ignore the so-called 'pundits'.
Teddy Bertin
13 Posted 12/03/2017 at 12:07:33
James (#7), well it's obviously a bit more complicated than that because they won games without Kante last year and they battered the RS without Kante the other week. Plus they suddenly look like the old Leicester of last season once Claudio left.

Look at their performances in the Champions League without Kante this season too.

The fact is that, after such an amazing season the players have struggled to motivate themselves (Champions League aside) to reach the same levels as last season and Claudio, being a mild-mannered, 'friend of the players' type manager, failed to motivate them too.

Clearly hurting from what has been written in the press ,they suddenly found the energy, determination and fight that they've lacked in the league all season since Ranieri has left.

I do agree with some on here though that Shakespeare being written off as a villain and a snake is disgusting. The guy is doing his job and people just desperately want someone to blame. The owners were such generous, colourful characters last season that it doesn't sit well blaming them (even though they actually sacked Raneiri) so Shakespeare is the next in the firing line for journalists who want blood.

Chris Williams
14 Posted 12/03/2017 at 12:52:57
Stan,

I agree completely.

Stan Schofield
15 Posted 12/03/2017 at 15:58:06
Returning to the title of the thread, I cannot criticise Leicester City as a club for sacking Ranieri – that was their business decision, and it seems to be producing better results. But I believe that what the players did was wrong, so I would not defend their actions.
Dave Abrahams
16 Posted 12/03/2017 at 16:41:09
Nice theme David, I think the players didn't do enough for their manager to help keep him in his job, don't know if it was intentional but in the game versus Liverpool they came out with one aim and that was to win the game, I think they would have beat most teams that night ( glad it was Liverpool ) so why hadn't they performed like that earlier in the season, was it Ranieri, couldn't he inspire them anymore, it's just guesswork.

On the subject of hypocrisy sometimes supporters are as bad, how many times did Everton fans boo Gary Speed after he left us, yet he was the innocent party in the affair that saw him leave the club, that's one example, there are many at clubs all over the country.

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