Beleaguered Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has been given the public backing of the club on Tuesday following reports his job was at risk.
Having escaped relegation in 2015, Ranieri guided the 5000/1 outsiders to a fantastical first ever Premier League title last season. This season however, it appears there has been a resumption of normal service.
Hovering only a single point above the relegation places in the table, the heroics of last season seem a very long time ago. Struggling to find the form and consistency that took them so far last term, this time around, with the big guns firing again, Ranieri’s side resemble the rabble of misfits, a term they embraced with glee only eight months ago.
Now, in a statement on their website, Leicester city bosses have publicly backed the manager, stating their ‘unwavering support’ for the Italian.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 7, 2017
Receiving the support of the board is often seen as both a blessing and a curse as while it assures you of your place, it is also an acknowledgment from your employer that things are not good. If you are doing your job well you don’t need public support after all.
In football there have been many examples of managers receiving their board’s backing, only to be shown the door not long after.
The Manchester United board expressed their support for David Moyes back in January 2014 and again that March, only for him to be sacked only weeks later in April.
Similarly, under fire Everton boss Roberto Martinez claimed to have the backing of the board back in April last, only to be replaced by Ronald Koeman in May.
Brendan Rodgers, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have all enjoyed the backing of their respective boards while at United and Chelsea, only to be shown the door in the weeks and months that following.
While this is a worrying trend in the Premier League, it is certainly not a precedent that guarantees the imminent exit of Ranieri from Leicester.
Ultimately, the Foxes are in free fall and are a genuine contender for relegation this season. If they don’t turn it around soon then, regardless of his exalted status in the East Midlands city, the first head to roll will likely be that of Ranieri.
Let’s hope the fairytale doesn’t become a nightmare come May.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena